When you’re hurt in a wreck in Colorado, perhaps catastrophically, and it’s not your fault, you are thrust into an unfair environment. In addition to being the victim of a crime (careless driving is a crime in Colorado; vehicular assault and vehicular homicide are, naturally, felonies), you are put at odds with, in most cases, multiple insurance companies and adjusters. However, an often-overlooked opponent in an auto wreck case is the hospital and the bills associated with that accident.
It is not uncommon that a single emergency room visit will cost more than $10,000, even if you were only there for a couple hours. Add an overnight or two and your bill can quickly balloon to something that costs as much as a nice home. Although hospitals will generally setup a payment plan, medical expenses remain the cause of 66% of the bankruptcies in America (Medical Bankruptcy).
In most circumstances, if you have health insurance (this includes Medicaid and Medicare), a hospital will simply send their bill to health insurance. Your health insurance will pay the hospital at a rate that is often much less than the actual bill generated by the hospital. You pay your deductible/co-pay, and you’re usually squared away. However, if you’re hurt in an auto wreck, hospitals often choose to treat you differently. In every single auto wreck involving an insured at-fault driver, the hospitals know that there is auto insurance that you may receive a settlement from. So, instead of getting paid the reduced amount they usually accept from health insurance, the hospital will often attempt to assert a lien (Hospital Lien) against your settlement and get paid dollar for dollar against their bill. Hospitals often maintain billing departments that are ignorant, willfully or otherwise, to their obligation to investigate the availability of health insurance and properly bill. If the hospital’s billing department hears that you were in a wreck, they often send a bill to the at-fault driver’s insurance company and sit on their hands. When they inevitably don’t get paid (at-fault carriers settle with you, not your medical providers), they will often assert a lien against your settlement and argue that health insurance won’t reimburse them because any claim is untimely. They will want you to pay them dollar for dollar or engage in a lengthy negotiation with them over the course of several months, in some circumstances.
Don’t let hospitals do this. Allow us to hold them accountable. Let us ensure you are treated the same as any other patient that wasn’t hurt in a wreck. Let us manage every part of your injury claim to maximize every benefit you are entitled to. Contact Maher & Maher Law at 719-301-7500 today.