Injury and the payment pecking order

If you have health insurance through your employer and are in relatively good health, you probably take for granted how simple it is to have your medical needs paid for. Most likely, all you have to do is show an ID card, pay a co-payment, and the rest just seems to be taken care of.

But imagine this: You are 66 years old and still working full-time. One day, your boss asks you to drive to a shop on the other side of town to pick up some supplies. You hop into your car and head down the road. Suddenly, as you are driving through an intersection, another car runs the stop sign and slams into you. Fortunately, you survive, but you are injured badly enough that the doctor who treats you expects you will never be able to work again.

Here comes the quiz: Who pays your medical bills? Would it be:

  • Your employee health plan?
  • Workers’ compensation?
  • Your automobile insurer?
  • The insurer of the other car?
  • Medicare?
  • All of the above?
  • None of the above?

And, since you can no longer work, what about your living expenses for the rest of your life? Workers comp? Social Security Disability? The settlement from your lawsuit against the other driver? Medicare again?

One thing is almost certain: Whoever should be paying your bills will probably say it should be somebody else.

Clearly, you need a lawyer — especially a lawyer experienced in the complexities of personal injury law and work-related injuries. Even in much simpler cases, the rules for who pays for what, and when, can be quite complicated. So if you are injured in an accident of any kind, be sure you have knowledgeable, experienced and vigorous legal representation to ensure you get payment when payment is due.

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