When you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, slip & fall, or other personal injury accident, one of your first priorities should be seeking medical treatment for your injuries. Prompt medical treatment is important for two reasons. First, you could have suffered a serious injury that may become worse or life-threatening without treatment. Second, you need to document your injuries for an insurance claim. Insurance companies use delays in medical care as a justification for denying coverage.
However, what happens when the medical bills begin to stack up? How are you going to pay for medical treatment when you are out of work because of the accident? The other person’s insurance company will not pay the medical bills, so what are you supposed to do?
My Doctor Suggested I Sign an Assignment and Authorization to Continue Treatment?
Some doctors are willing to accept an Assignment and Authorization or A&A when an accident claim is pending. Doctors understand that accident victims do not receive any money until their claim is settled. Therefore, they may have no way of paying for the medical care they need.
Therefore, the doctor may accept an A&A to continue treatment even though no one is paying the bills. However, you should understand that an A&A is a medical lien on any proceeds you receive for your accident claim. When you sign and Assignment & Authorization for your doctor, you are entering a contract whereby you promise that your doctor will be paid from the proceeds you receive from your injury claim before you receive any funds.
If you think maybe you can get around paying the doctor or change your mind about paying the doctor, you would be wrong. To ensure doctors are paid first, most doctors include language within the A&A that authorizes your attorney to pay the doctor’s bills before giving you any money. The authorization you give your attorney by signing the A&A is irrevocable, which means you cannot change your mind.
Furthermore, to ensure that your attorney knows about the A&A and the duty to pay the doctor’s bill before disbursing any funds from the settlement, most doctors require the attorney to acknowledge the medical lien by sending the doctor a letter or by signing an acknowledgment on the A&A itself.
Are Assignments & Acknowledgments Legal and Enforceable?
When the agreement is drafted correctly and executed correctly, the agreement is a valid legal contract. Doctors have become much more savvy about medical liens and other ways to protect their best interests. Your doctor wants to provide the medical treatment so that you can heal, but he also wants to ensure that his medical practice is paid for services rendered. The A&A accomplishes both goals — you receive medical treatment, and the doctor has some assurance of payment.
What Happens if I Don’t Receive a Settlement or the Settlement Does Not Cover the Medical Expenses?
If for some reason your claim was denied or you lost your case at trial, you would be personally liable for the payment of the medical expenses. The doctor could take legal action to collect the debt.
In cases in which the settlement amount does not pay the medical expenses in full, our attorneys attempt to negotiate with the medical provider to accept a lesser amount to satisfy the debt. Also, in cases in which the medical bills total almost as much as the settlement amount, we attempt to negotiate a lower payment so that you can receive as much money as possible for your accident claim.
A doctor is not legally required to accept less than he is owed for an A&A. However, it is usually worth the attempt to negotiate because some doctors will agree to lower the final bill. The Pinder Plotkin Legal Team has extensive experience handling cases involving Assignments and Acknowledgements. We will attempt to put as much money in your pocket as possible from your settlement proceeds by working closely with your doctors to arrive at a fair amount to satisfy a medical lien.
Contact Our Office for a Free Consultation with a Maryland Accident Attorney
Being injured in an accident is painful, stressful, and frustrating. All you want to do is heal from your injuries and get back to work. The last thing you want to do is argue with an insurance adjuster who wants to pay you as little as possible for your claim.
Instead of worrying about an accident claim, allow our team of legal professionals to take on that headache for you. Without the stress of dealing with the insurance company, you can focus on your recovery and your family.
Contact a Parkville accident attorney with Pinder Plotkin LLC at 410-661-9440. You can learn more about filing an injury claim and your right to compensation during a free, no-obligation consultation.
The information provided in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. The information contained in this blog is also subject to change and should not be relied upon. Contact the Pinder Plotkin Legal Team for a FREE consultation.