The Importance of a Thorough Disbursement That Resolves All Financial Issues

So, your personal injury case has finally settled or had a verdict, but you are not going to receive your money that same day. What is going on? The time after a settlement or verdict is called the disbursement stage and the type of case you had and the type(s) of insurance coverage you had directly influences exactly what happens during that process. The responsible party – through their insurance company or lawyer – will send your lawyer a release and settlement check.

Sometimes they will send both at once; sometimes they will send the release and only send the check once the release is signed by you – sometimes before a notary – and returned to them. If the responsible party is a governmental entity, they can be very slow in providing the release and settlement funds. Also, if the plaintiff is a minor or the case is a wrongful death case, court approval of the settlement may be necessary after a settlement is reached.

In addition to obtaining the release and settlement funds, there may be balances still outstanding with medical providers after insurance payments and adjustments, so you or your attorneys will have to confirm any outstanding balances and pay anyone with a lien on your case (which is a legal right to be paid out of your settlement).

Finally, if you had health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare or workers’ compensation, that can significantly delay things because each may have a mandatory process by which you have to give them notice of your settlement and an opportunity to assert a lien for any treatment they paid.

Why Do I Have to Pay My Health Insurance Company Back?

A recovery from a negligent party is intended to reimburse you for medical bills, lost wages, and any other out of pocket expenses, in addition to compensating you for your pain and suffering. Most health insurance policies – as well as the laws regarding Medicare, Medicaid, and workers’ compensation – provide that if you receive compensation in your case for medical care that they paid, they get paid back and you cannot double recover by having both health insurance and the negligent party pay you for your treatment.

That being said, not all health insurance companies are legally permitted to assert a lien. Therefore, as your attorneys, we confirm whether anyone asserting a lien legally can and, even if so, we confirm that the lien is accurate. Dealing with liens properly is important because, if not paid, your health insurance company could seek recovery from you and/or terminate your coverage.

What is a Lien?

A lien is a legal right to be paid out of your recovery. Both a medical provider and an insurance company may have a lien on your case. Your health insurance company will contact you to assert their lien for reimbursement. With Medicaid and Medicare, they have what is called a “Super Lien.” They do not need to contact you or your attorney; instead, we are obligated to contact them if you are Medicare or Medicaid eligible.

Even if you were not enrolled in either program at the time of your accident, but become eligible while your case is pending, they require the opportunity to search through their system to see if they paid for any care for which you obtained a recovery. It can be time-consuming, but is legally mandatory.

How Can I Maximize My Recovery?

In addition to obtaining the highest possible settlement or verdict, we also try to get reductions from medical providers and lienholders whenever we can. This can take more time, but is well worth it because every reduction obtained directly increases your recovery.

In the end, our goal is that we obtain the highest possible recovery for you and also that we maximize your recovery by paying as little as possible to only those parties who must be paid from your recovery. When we provide you with the check for your recovery that is your money to keep knowing that everything has been done properly. It is far better to take the time to do it right, than to cut corners and open yourself up to later claims from doctors or possibly lose your insurance coverage.

You have been through a lot – our job as your Washington, DC injury attorneys is not just to obtain a recovery for you, but to help you keep as much as possible.

Categories: Insurance, Personal Injury