Why take accident cases?
- You can treat clients that can’t afford to pay the bills.
- You will find yourself within a network of new clients.
- You can get a higher return for your treatment. There are no required contractual adjustments.
What do I need before accepting accident patients?
- Lien agreement. The patient signs this agreement, agreeing to repay the bills out of the settlement or out of pocket. This agreement basically puts a hold on collections of medical payments. The attorney signs the agreement only to acknowledge the lien and agreeing to pay the bills with settlement funds.
- Intake process. We often call the clinic to schedule an appointment on the same day that we are first meeting with the client. If no one is available to take the call, this makes it difficult to get them scheduled asap. However, we understand that this cannot always happen. Plan B is to send a text or email to scheduling staff with the case information, who can then call the patient the same day to schedule the appointment.
Why refer your patients to Parker & McConkie?
- We will get the patient more money, which means more money to pay the medical bills.
- We will help the patient with all the non-medical issues that sometimes burden the provider. This will help narrow the patient/physician focus to treatment and getting better.
- We will refer patients to your facility. (We will do this regardless, but it doesn’t hurt 😊.)
- We become a partnership – patient/client-physician-attorney – working to get the patient better and handle the stress and worry that accompanies an accident.
When should you refer a patient to Law?
- The patient is in an accident that wasn’t his or her fault.
- Heor she is in pain and treating.
- If you are in doubt, just refer them anyways, and will can determine if there is a case to pursue.
What are the sources of payment for medical bills that Parker & McConkie discovers and pursues?
- PIP, usually $3,000. This is available in all auto accidents. Simply provide the insurer with the claim number and submit your bills.
- Medpay, usually $1,000, but is sometimes up to $10,000. This is available for most premises liability cases.
- Third-party liability, Bodily Injury. In Utah, drivers are required to carry at least$25,000 liability for bodily injury. This will include a per person, per accident limit. Most auto policies in Utah are 25/65, 50/100, and 100/300. Most homeowners’ policies are single limit $300,000 liability policy. Most commercial policies are $1,000,000.
- Underinsured/Uninsured(UIM/UM) motorist. These policy limits almost always match the liability limits. For example, if I carry a 25/65 in liability limits, my UIM/UM limits will also be 25/65.
- Health insurance. We usually pursue this if the patient is partially at fault for his accident. This helps relieve the amount of money that is owed at the time of settlement.
- Workers compensation. We don’t have much, if any control, in where the patient treats when work comp is paying the bills. We can sometimes influence the choice of providers.
- Some patients will pay out-of-pocket. This is the exception, however. Most patients feel that they should not have to pay a dime because the accident was not their fault.
What does the attorney expect me to do with a referred patient?
- You’re the expert. We piggy-back on your expertise. We try to avoid directing treatment because we aren’t qualified.
- Manage their care. It’s amazing how many clients come to us, and no one is directing their treatment. Family doctors don’t do squat, other than prescribe meds. Patients don’t go right to specialists. Patients just want someone to quarterback their treatment and get them healthy again.
- Further imaging. It seems that PTs wait a long time to order further imaging. E.g., Charlotte S. was treating with a PT in Spanish Fork. Her shoulder was in pain immediately following MVA. I’m no doctor, but her description of Sx sounded like a torn rotator cuff to me. Charlotte went 3 months going to PT with no improvement. The PT finally decided to refer to a specialist who could then order an MRI. The MRI showed a torn rotator cuff. Why not do this sooner?
- Document the patient’s treatment. Statements about the causality, reasonableness, and necessity of treatment are useful and warranted.
- Send records and bills after the patient is finished treating within 5 business days. This will expedite the time for us to get you paid.
- Draft disability notes where warranted. Disability notes are used for lost wages and household services benefits.
How long does it take to finalize a personal injury case?
- The PIP payments are paid right away. Once billed, the insurance company has 30days to issue payment.
- We don’t begin negotiating with the liability insurer (the at-fault party’s insurer) until the patient is medically stable.
- Once the patient is medically stable, we gather the remaining records and bills. We then prepare the “demand brochure,” which is the letter to the insurance company summarizing the claim and asking for an offer of settlement. Our office takes 1-2 business days to prepare and send the demand brochure.
- Our biggest hang up is almost always getting the medical records and bills from providers. This is usually the cause for a delay.
- The insurance company usually takes anywhere from 2-6 weeks to extend an offer of settlement.
- Ina nutshell, most of our soft tissue injury cases settle between 4-7 months. Surgical cases usually take about 7-12 months depending on the policy limits.
How long does it take to finalize a personal injury case?
- It can take a long time to get paid if a case goes to litigation. On average, only about 3% of cases (1 out of 30) go to litigation.
- There is a very small possibility, albeit a possibility, that the case goes south and we don’t recover anything. This happens almost never. We have a 3 layered process for screening out bad cases: initial intake, attorney/paralegal meeting, and post sign-up investigation. The amount you recoup on the other patients easily makes up for the very small possibility that no money is recovered. After all, we are not in the business of handling cases that we can’t get paid for.