Why is My Insurance Company Requesting Reimbursement From Me?
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, you may undergo months to years of medical treatment and be unable to work for an extended period of time. If you’re employed full-time, your employer may provide benefits to you through a group health insurance policy or a group disability insurance policy, or both. Although those benefits won’t cover all of your medical bills or lost wages, they provide some measure of temporary relief while you’re suffering.
In days past, employers would provide those benefits to their employees free of charge, meaning that the employers would not seek to be reimbursed once their employees settled their car accident claims. Although that might seem gratuitous to some people, in reality, those benefits were small consolation for all of the long hours employees work for low wages.
Unfortunately, in today’s world, many employers seek to be fully reimbursed for the benefits that they paid to their employees while their employees were severely injured and unable to work. Although the insurance companies are technically the ones that request reimbursement from the injury victim, it is really the victim’s employer that is seeking reimbursement.
Many employers self-fund their health insurance and disability insurance plans by pooling their assets in a trust or using their general assets to fund the insurance plan. All that the insurance company does is administer the funds and process the claim. So, the plan operates like insurance, but it is really the company’s own funds paying for all of the medical bills or lost wages.
In fact, any person or entity that has provided benefits to you as a result of your injuries may be entitled to a share of your settlement. That is known as having an interest in your settlement. An interest is a legal or equitable right to a share of the proceeds.
The most common legal interest is referred to as a lien. A lien is a legal right or interest that a creditor has in another’s property. Hospitals, doctors’ offices, and insurance companies can all be considered creditors for the purposes of asserting a lien against your potential recovery.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident and received health insurance benefits or disability insurance benefits, you should contact an Atlanta car accident lawyer. The legal team at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC will help you resolve your liens and reimbursement claims in a way that allows you to recover the greatest amount of settlement proceeds.
How Will an Attorney Help Me Resolve the Insurance Company’s Reimbursement Claims?
There are three ways that a car accident attorney can help you resolve the insurance company’s reimbursement claim.
First, your attorney will evaluate whether the insurance company’s reimbursement claim is valid. Many times, insurance companies knowingly pursue invalid reimbursement claims out of hope that you will get scared and just pay them what their client (your employer) wants.
Often, once members of our legal team carefully review the terms of your health insurance plan or disability insurance plan, we find that there are exceptions in the plan that prohibit the insurance companies from seeking reimbursement from you. It is quite satisfying to communicate that exception to the insurance company and receive a prompt letter from the company stating that they have agreed not to pursue their meritless reimbursement claim.
The second option is to pursue additional insurance proceeds. The more insurance you can recover from the at-fault driver or your own auto insurance company, the less onerous it is to reimburse the health insurance company or disability insurance company for the benefits you received.
If there is no additional insurance, we will negotiate with each one of the lien holders in an attempt to cut the liens and reimbursement claims down as much as possible so that you will still receive some money from your settlement.
What Happens If I Don’t Pay the Reimbursement Claim?
Unfortunately, if you do not resolve your liens and/or claims for reimbursement the following may occur:
- You may be sued by your benefit providers;
- You may be sued by the auto insurance companies (if they are sued by other parties for your failure to pay your liens or if they seek to require you to sign your release);
- You may have to pay attorney’s fees; and,
- You may have your credit impaired.
As a result, you should always handle reimbursement claims with extreme care. If you receive a reimbursement request while you auto accident claim is pending, you should notify your attorney immediately so that your attorney can take appropriate action to respond to the notice.
Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC Can Help
The attorneys at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC have successfully represented auto accident victims for over three decades. We understand that reimbursement claims make it quite difficult to resolve personal injury claims. As a result, we take a proactive approach and attempt to resolve the reimbursement claims at the earliest opportunity. That way, you don’t have to wait months after your case is settled to receive your settlement funds. You will also have peace of mind knowing that the insurance companies won’t pursue you for reimbursement long after your auto accident case has resolved.