VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Hello everyone. This is Robert Mansour. I'm a personal injury attorney in the Los Angeles area. Today I wanted to make a brief video about an issue that is sometimes very difficult to understand and get your mind around when you've been involved in an auto accident where another person has caused you injury.
What happens a lot in the cases that I handle is the client's call me and they say hey I got into an accident, I was taken by ambulance, I went to the Emergency Room. The ER doctor did XYZ for me and there was an anesthesiologist and then they sent me to another doctor and then I had some Xrays and a CT scan and an MRI and I need some help.
Then sometimes I'm able to find a doctor who will help the client with a personal injury case, or sometimes the client continues to go through their own health care channels, whatever the case may be. But here's what happens. The client starts to get bills in the mail from the hospital, from the ambulance company, from the emergency room, from the emergency room physicians, from the MRI facility, from the CT scan facility. What happens is the client gets the bill and looks at it and says oh, I'm not responsible for this the other party is responsible for this, and they throw the bill in the trash. Or they fax the bill to me and think that the bill is magically going to be taken care of.
On the one level you have a gut feeling that the other party is responsible and they're supposed to pay your bill. Well that is theoretically true but that's not how it happens in real life. In real life the party responsible for the accident is not going to pay your bills as they arrive in your mailbox. You can't just turn them over to the responsible party and say hey you take care of this. That's not how it works. That's why people have health care insurance. That helps take care of that. That's why people might have something called medical payments coverage under their own auto policy that might pay for that.
If you don’t have those two things then you're ultimately responsible for those bills. The emergency room doesn't care that the responsible party is somebody else, or somebody else caused the accident. The emergency room doctors don't care. The CT scan facility, the MRI facility, they don't care. All they know is that you got hurt, they provided the service and they want to get paid.
What I try to explain to my clients is you can't just ignore these bills when they come in the mail. You can't just say oh well they're not my problem, they're somebody else's problem. Or my lawyer is going to have them paid. Look I can't do any magic. I can't create health insurance where there is none. I also can't create medical payments coverage if there is none. Those folks are beyond my control.
Sometimes you can kind of keep them at bay a little bit and tell them to hold on a little bit, give you some time. Sometimes they will do that, but more often than not they want to get paid. I tell my clients to just go ahead and make some payments. Send $20, $50 a month, whatever you can just to keep them at bay and to prevent them from sending you to collections.
The bills that you accumulate at the hospital and the ER and the ambulance, they're all part of your damages, they will ultimately be presented to the other party for compensation, but it just doesn't happen as you go along. It's presented at the very end of the case, with everything else that you're going to present and at that time the defendant or the responsible party will be settling the case with you at that time. It doesn't happen as it goes along. The big lesson here is do not ignore bills that come in the mail. They are not necessarily going to be paid by anybody else. You are responsible for them.
A client still one time had a very difficult time understanding and I tried to explain to him I said look, let's say somebody vandalizes your house and they vandalize your house and they paint all over your house and you call a painter. The painter comes to your house and repaints your house and makes it real nice. Then the painting guy comes to you and says hey I painted your house, it's time for me to get some payment from you. You can't tell the painter hey listen it's not my problem, you go find the responsible party and you bill them. The painter is going to say no I don't think so, I want you to pay me because I did a service for you. You can go after the other party at a later date but in the meantime I want to get paid today for the work and the services that I provided to you.
It's the same thing with all the emergency folks and the ER doctors and the ambulance and all of those people. They want to get paid. They don't really care that you're going to ultimately go after another party. This is something very important that I want to drive home with folks today on this video.
If you're dealing with doctors who do personal injury cases and work with the attorney's office they might do things on a lien, which means that they don't get paid until the very end when you settle your case. That's a distinction that I want you to understand.
I hope this video has been helpful. I try to be as candid as I can with clients and explain things to them as best I can. I hope this was helpful in understanding the issue of medical bills, especially those incurred before you went to see the lawyer. Especially those incurred with facilities that have nothing to do with personal injury and don't really care who did what to whom.
Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed this video. Take care.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,