Pitfalls to Watch

You may have multiple sources of insurance to utilize to pay your medical expenses. For instance, Medical Payments Coverage is additional medical insurance that you can purchase on your auto policy. If you have Medical Payments Coverage, you should use it since you paid for it. Your rates will not increase simply because you file a claim. Please review the Declaration Sheet of your automobile policy or call your agent to see if you have Medical Payments Coverage. If you do, have your doctor(s) submit the bills to your insurance company.

If you have health insurance, it is in your best interest to use it if you have received treatment at a hospital or anticipate incurring diagnostic expenses such as CT Scans or MRI's. Please provide all your health care providers with your health insurance information and make sure that they submit your bills for payment. This will benefit you at the time of settlement of your case. However, be careful if you receive any paperwork from your health insurance company, or their collection agents such as Primax or Ingenix, regarding reimbursement rights or agreements with your health insurance. Do not sign these agreements. They look innocent enough but are often a means for your health insurance company to claim reimbursement against your accident settlement.

The general law in Arizona is that your health insurance carrier is not entitled to reimbursement for any payments they make from your settlement. However, Federal Law provides that some insurance companies do have this right and therefore some health insurance companies will attempt to claim reimbursement from your settlement. Each case is fact specific, and takes a great deal of evaluation to determine whether the health insurance company is entitled to reimbursement.

Arizona Law also provides that under certain circumstances your health care providers have the right to collect from your accident recovery the difference between their full bill and what your health insurance pays them. Do not to sign any agreements without fully understanding whether this applies to you.

Also, many auto insurance companies will attempt to quickly settle your claim knowing that you may be obligated to reimburse your health insurance company or pay the balance of the your doctor's bill. If you settle with the accident insurance company and you later are contacted by your health insurance company looking for reimbursement of what they paid out on your behalf in medical insurance benefits, it will be too late to go back to the accident insurance company for additional monies to pay that expense. You may end up owing more than you collected from the settlement. Be careful because many accident insurance Releases include language in it where you agree to hold harmless and indemnify the accident insurance company if you do not satisfy the liens at settlement. If the insurance company is sued with respect to an unpaid lien, you will be liable for not only the lien itself but any expenses incurred by the insurance company defending itself as well.

Not all accident claims need the assistance of an attorney. If you are having trouble coordinating all the insurance benefits available to you, please contact us for a free consultation at 602.424.5547 or complete our online contact form.