You may be concerned about your medical bills during a work injury settlement, but don’t worry. Typically, settlements include enough money to pay for your medical bills and any potentially lost wages. Hiring a work injury attorney is an excellent way to ensure you receive everything your work injury case is worth.
Ask a Work Injury Attorney: Will My Medical Bills Be Covered in a Settlement?
Are Medical Bills Covered in a Settlement?
Once the work injury settlement is complete, your employer’s insurance may entirely pay off your medical bills. This payment depends on how much money you received from the settlement versus your medical treatment cost. When negotiating a settlement amount with the employer’s insurance company, your medical bills were included in the negotiated settlement amount.
The bills are part of your claim’s “special damages” section and are considered compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages. Typically, most work injury settlements will provide you with enough money to pay off the bills and additional funds to sustain you if you have to stay out of work. However, everyone’s case is different. That’s why reaching out to a work injury lawyer is essential to ensure you receive what your case is worth.
Who Pays My Immediate Medical Bills?
When you’re injured at work, you may need immediate medical attention that has to be paid out before a work injury settlement can be reached. If this is the case, you and your health insurance are responsible for the immediate payment.
You pay regular medical bills in full through your health insurance. This process is the same for injuries sustained while at work because health insurance covers any injuries you sustain, on or off the job. However, any company with three or more employees is required by federal law to have “workers’ compensation insurance.” This insurance is what ultimately protects you from medical bills due to injuries at work.
Where Does the Settlement Money Go?
Any amount you gain from your settlement case will go toward “paying back” your health insurance (if health insurance covered anything). This is because the injury was due to a third party’s negligence (your workplace) and not because of you. You can risk returning too much to your health insurance if you need continued medical care. Work injury lawyers in Houston can help you understand the details of whom you owe and how much you owe them.
If you paid the medical bills out of pocket without an insurance claim, you get to keep the money awarded. If your doctor agreed to a “doctor’s lien,” the settlement will pay unpaid bills. A doctor’s lien is a legal document stating they can take a portion from a settlement to repay a negotiated payment pause. For example, your doctor can agree to postpone payment until you receive a worker’s comp award, at which point the doctor will be paid.
Do I Keep Any Settlement Money?
How much of the settlement award you can keep depends on several factors. Your settlement award can be affected if you owe back taxes or child support or will begin receiving permanent disability payments. The federal and state governments don’t usually “tax” settlement awards. But, they can reclaim portions for back taxes that have gone unpaid. If you owe child support, part or all of your award will go toward your child support lien.
Suppose your work injury was severe enough to receive permanent disability. In that case, you can opt for a “permanent disability advance,” where part of your settlement is paid out to you through a disability check. In this situation, you still receive the same amount but at different times.
How Long Do Settlements Take?
Most workers’ compensation settlements take 12-18 months to complete. That’s why it’s so important to know what your case is worth. A lawyer can speed up the court process, meaning your bills are paid faster.
Benefits of Hiring a Work Injury Lawyer
Workers’ compensation settlements can have financial and legal consequences, especially when you need further treatment and increased medical bills. It’s hard to know when you’ve covered all your bases and accounted for possible issues unless you have the help of a professional. Remember, it’s their job to understand the legal proceedings. It’s your job to get better after your injury.
A work injury attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement that will meet your needs and help you estimate what you’ll need for additional medical treatment. If necessary, they can negotiate reductions in medical bills and child support to ensure the settlement award is distributed fairly.
Overall, hiring a work injury lawyer to assist you during your workers’ comp settlement is an excellent way to ensure the paperwork goes smoothly. By this, you receive what you deserve, your medical insurance company stays happy, and the compensation is finished quickly.
This article is published at Fictionistic.