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Health Insurance After a Crash – Why You Should Use Your Own

I focus on achieving favorable results with dedication & hard-work.- Griffin O'Hanlon

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Health Insurance After a Crash – Why You Should Use Your Own

Why should I use my own health insurance if I'm hurt by someone else who's at fault in a car wreck?  I’m often asked this question and it’s a good one.

My clients want to know why I, as a personal injury attorney, am suggesting that they should use their own health insurance or Medicare to cover their bills when it really should be handled by the at-fault driver and their insurance company.

The main reason is it will put you, the innocent victim, in the best financial position possible at the end of the case.  First, you want your medical bills to be paid right away and not have to wait around to the end of the case to have the doctors and the hospitals get the money they're entitled to.

Some doctors won't even treat you after a car wreck if you don't have any health insurance.  Most of the time your health insurance company does not have to be paid back in Virginia out of whatever money you get from the personal injury settlement.  There are some exceptions including government-type insurances such as Tricare, Medicaid, and Medicare.  These government health insurances do have to be paid back by law.

Health insurance company Blue Cross

Health insurance company Blue Cross

However, they should still pay for your bills in the short run so they get paid and then reimbursement to the government only occurs if and when you make a settlement or recovery.

With private health insurance through an employer, the personal injury attorney should make an inquiry for you whether it's the type of insurance that has to be paid back or not.  Typically, big employers like Norfolk Southern or Newport News Shipbuilding will have the kind of health insurance that does require payback.  The legal name for this kind of policy is Erisa.  Under Erisa there is a requirement to pay back the employer's health plan.  Again it only applies if you make a recovery for the same injuries.

In the meantime, the health insurance should pay just as if it was an injury or some other situation where there is not going to be a claim against another person.

Health Insurance - A VA Personal Injury Lawyer Should Know the Payback Rules

One of the things that a personal injury attorney does for the client is to make sure to maximize the amount of money that the client gets at the end of the case.  One of the ways in which we maximize the recovery is to know these rules about payback and which of the paybacks can be negotiated down to a lower figure.

All the client really cares about is how much money he or she will get in their pocket.  However, the attorney is in a far better position to make sure that everything gets paid properly and the client knows what the net in their pocket will be.  The last thing you want to do is settle a case and then find out later that there was some bill or reimbursement that was not properly handled.  In fact, this issue of dealing with liens and paybacks is one of the things that is most complicated about personal injury practice these days.

At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers we have been dealing for years with health insurance and motor vehicle insurance matters. Please call us for a consultation at (757) 455-0077

John Cooper




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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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