Car accidents arrive unexpectedly, and they can wreak havoc on your financial life. Insurance companies often have high deductibles, and a visit to the hospital can leave car accident victims facing “surprise” medical bills. According to the New York Times, these bills reflect the difference between what insurance companies will pay and what hospitals charge for services. When a patient is taken to an out of network hospital, insurance companies may not always cover the full balance of a bill.
According to Vox, visiting an out of network hospital can cost you. When insurance companies negotiate with out of network hospitals, they often will only pay what they believe to be a fair standard for care. However, the hospitals can charge whatever they want, often passing on the difference to patients. Vox reports that in one case, a woman in a bike accident was sent a bill in excess of $20,000. As many as one in five patients will receive a surprise medical bill. Many states have not regulated the system to prevent hospitals from charging patients for high medical expenses.
Getting an unexpected medical bill can be stressful, especially if you’re still recovering from serious injuries after a car accident, pedestrian accident, or bike accident. Some patients receive surprise medical bills that add up to tens of thousands of dollars, even after insurance has paid what it determined to be a fair amount of the balance. What can you do to protect your rights?
The New York Times suggests that it might be possible to fight your medical bills in court. Under contract law, both parties must mutually agree to the price of services before those services are rendered. If both parties don’t agree, then patients might be able to fight back against inflated prices, especially if their insurance companies have determined that a hospital’s costs are too high. Under contract law, if there is no written agreement about the cost of services, a provider would only be able to charge the average amount (which is generally what insurers are willing to pay). While it is rare for patients to challenge a hospital’s billing practices, more patients are starting to fight back when insurance won’t cover the full cost of emergency care.
Another option patients have is to seek damages from negligent parties or to make a claim through car insurance coverage to cover the difference of these medical bills. Victims of car accidents that occur due to another person’s negligence or neglect may have the right to pursue a lawsuit to cover medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The Law Offices of Robert Gregg are Dallas, Texas personal injury lawyers who may be able to help you seek damages for your losses and seek a recovery to cover any balance bills you might receive. Our firm may also be able to help you negotiate with insurance providers to help you get the coverage you may deserve.