Two Hands That May Dip Into Your Personal Injury Settlement Award
Winning your personal injury case is a great feeling, but, unfortunately, you may not be able to celebrate for long. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your injuries, you may have some people knocking on your door and demanding part of your settlement check. Here are two times this may occur and what you can do.
Healthcare Insurance Companies
You pay for health insurance every month, so you expect the company to cover the medical care you need to heal from your injuries. What you probably don't expect is for the company to request a refund of the money it spent on your treatment, but that's exactly what may happen when you win your case.
The insurer justifies its actions as a way of preventing double dipping. If you sue for medical bills the insurance company paid and the defendant gives it to you, you're essentially being paid twice for the same thing: once from the insurance company and once from the liable party.
To keep things fair, the insurer will ask you to pass along the reimbursement for medical bills you obtained from the defendant. However, that doesn't mean you should automatically cut a check.
Instead, you should go through your bills and your settlement to make sure you were actually given money for something the health insurance company paid for. If the defendant was ordered to pay you for future medical care, for instance, your insurer wouldn't be entitled to those funds because you haven't received the treatment yet.
Work with your attorney to review your records and only pay once you're sure the amount the insurance provider is asking for is accurate.
Workers' Compensation Insurance
For injuries that occur on the job, workers' comp insurance will pay for medical care, lost wages, and other damages associated with the incident. Like other types of insurance, workers' comp doesn't expect you to give this money back. However, it may put a lien on your personal injury award if you sue a third party and receive compensation.
Workers' comp has the right to ask all liable parties to reimburse it for the money it gave you for your injuries. If the responsible party sends you the funds instead, the insurance provider will ask you to pass that payment to them.
This can be difficult to counter, but some states prohibit workers' comp from putting liens on settlements employees may win from other people involved in workplace accidents. Have your attorney research the laws in your state and respond accordingly.
For help with your personal injury case, contact a local personal injury attorney.