Auto Accidents: Medical Treatment
Being involved in a car accident can be highly stressful, but being injured in an auto accident is even more stressful. Many victims of auto accidents have questions about how they will pay for medical costs. Others have questions regarding selection of the best medical provider possible. Our injury attorneys have represented clients who have sustained a multitude of injuries as a result of an auto accident. At Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C., we realize that every injury is unique, and should be treated as such. The following is provided by our injury lawyers to Chicago accident victims as a general overview of the medical treatment process.
- Emergency Medical Treatment. You may have been transported from the scene of the accident via ambulance, or sought medical treatment in an emergency room immediately following the accident; both are considered emergency medical treatment. If transported by ambulance, you will probably receive a separate bill from the ambulance company. Likewise, depending on the tests performed, or the doctors that provide evaluation or treatment at the hospital, you will likely receive several separate bills from each of these providers. For example, if x-rays were performed, you may receive a bill from the radiologist, as well as a separate bill from the doctor that interpreted tests results, and yet another bill from hospital itself for use of the facility.
- Locating a long-term treatment medical care provider. Upon release from the hospital, you may have been advised to seek follow-up or long term treatment. Because injuries are not always immediately apparent following an accident, you may not have sought emergency medical treatment, but later begin to experience symptoms of what appear to be an accident-related injury. In either case, locating a medical provider that can provide injury specific treatment is often difficult amongst the multitude of medical providers to choose from. Whether you reside in Chicago, or a surrounding suburb, our injury attorneys can assist you in locating a treatment provider to meet your specific medical needs.
- Payment; Medical Liens. Accident victims commonly have concerns over how medical bills will get paid. It is important to know that you may be able to seek medical treatment without having to pay for such treatment while your case is pending. During this process, the medical provider will place a medical lien for the bills associated with services rendered. Upon recovery of compensation, the lien holder is then reimbursed. In an effort to maximize your recovery, our injury attorneys will work with medical providers for the purpose of negotiating a reduction in the amount of the lien.
- Out-of-pocket expenses/ mileage to medical providers. Aside from the medical bills, you may have several out-of-pocket expenses, such as prescription drugs, medical treatment devices, and other items purchased upon your doctor’s recommendation, or otherwise directly related to injuries sustained in the accident. It is important to document any and all out-of-pocket expenses.
- What if the victim has private medical insurance? Private health insurance providers will typically not pay for medical treatment for injuries sustained in an automobile accident in the presence of auto policy coverage which is available and intended to provide coverage solely for accident related injuries. Where injuries exceed the amounts of available coverage, your private health insurance provider may pick of the difference in cost. However, if your case later results in additional recovery, your private health insurance provider may seek compensation for medical bills paid on your behalf which were the direct result of injuries sustained in the accident.
- Diagnosis; Treatment Plan. The initial visit to a medical provider will typically consist of an evaluation, examination, diagnosis, and treatment plan recommendations. The doctor may prepare a report summarizing the findings of the initial evaluation. Sometimes, further testing and diagnostics are necessary. In such cases, your medical provider may be able to perform these tests, or you may be referred to a specialist.
- The legal value of following the recommended treatment plan. The treatment plan suggested by the medical provider typically includes a general overview, which may include specific recommendations as to the frequency and type of medical treatment or therapy that can be expected over the weeks and months following your injury. The initial treatment plan may change, depending on a patient’s progress, or unresponsiveness to a particular treatment. It is important to adhere, as closely as possible, to the current treatment plan proscribed by your medical provider. For example, if a medical provider has recommended a particular therapy or treatment occur at a minimum of three times per week, such treatment has been deemed medically necessary, and thus it is for your own benefit to adhere to the recommended schedule. Missed appointments, inconsistent treatment, and failure to seek evaluation from specialists which you have been referred to, are common mistakes which can indicate that treatment of an injury is not being taken seriously.
- Final Evaluation: Upon completion of a treatment plan, or in circumstances where your medical provider has determined that you are unlikely to benefit from continued treatment, and therefore have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), a final evaluation may be conducted prior to your release as a patient. If it has been determined that permanent injuries were sustained as a result of the motor vehicle accident, you may be assigned what is called an Impairment Rating. If injuries were sustained in multiple areas, you may receive an impairment rating for each particular injury location.
- Recommendations for Future Medical Care: Your medical provider may recommend that you to seek periodic maintenance treatment. You may also be advised to seek follow-up treatment in the future on an as needed basis. If prior treatment did not result in full recovery from injuries sustained, the medical provider may recommend seeking consultation for the purposes of determining if surgical intervention is appropriate. Although the thought of surgery is scary to most, it may be beneficial, to consider such option by seeking an initial consultation. By doing so, you will, at the very least, have an idea of the type and cost of a recommended procedure. Moreover, such consultation may provide supporting evidence as to the extent of your injuries, as well as claims for future medical expenses.
At Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C., we firmly believe that our clients should receive the best medical treatment possible. Our team of dedicated Chicago accident attorneys have the experience and knowledge necessary to work with insurance companies and medical providers.
There may be time limitations associated with your legal claim, and therefore it is important to seek legal consultation as soon as possible following an accident. For a FREE personal injury consultation with one of our Chicago auto accident attorneys, contact us today at 773-516-4100. You can also submit a request online through our website.