Supreme Court to Decide on Medical Liens

Imagine this scenario.  You have been seriously injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another person.  You were so injured that you were no longer able to work, your body has been changed drastically, and you will be considered physically disabled for the rest of your life.

You hire an attorney who works with you to develop a personal injury suit against the person responsible for your injuries.  You spend two years working with your attorney and his or her team in order to file your complaint, obtain evidence, and finally go through the trial phase of your suit.  In the meantime, you are receiving care for your injuries with the assistance of your health insurance plan, which is helping you to cover some of your medical bills while you are attempting to receive compensation for your injuries through the court system.

At the end of trial, you come out victorious. You receive a fair settlement, and after attorney’s fees, you are left with something that will help to get your through until you can get your life back to normal.  But then something unbelievable happens, something Oregon accident lawyers are starting to see more often.  Your health insurance company turns around and sues you for the exact same amount of money that you received in your settlement.  They claim that they deserve to be reimbursed for the expenses involved in providing you care.

You might think this is impossible, but the fact is that this is something that is going on right now.  What was described here in a nutshell is exactly what is happening to a Mr. McCutchen, who is currently being sued by US Airways in order to recover the $66,866 they paid out on his behalf in medical bills.  Right now, US Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen is being looked at by the U.S. Supreme Court, and it is expected to have a major impact on the personal injury area of law.  What they will eventually decide is whether or not people can keep the damages that they are awarded through a personal injury suit, or whether they will have to return that money to their insurance companies.

These are known as medical liens, and if you haven’t heard of them, then you may not have read your own health insurance policy very clearly.  The truth is that nearly all health insurance policies have some sort of clause, especially when it comes to vehicle accident crashes, which states that the insurance company is authorized to receive a refund in cases where the insured recovers compensation for injuries.    For example, if your insurance company pays $20,000 towards your medical expenses and you receive $50,000 for compensation, the insurance company will want a refund of $20,000 leaving you with only $30,000.

In order to combat the effects of these clauses, the best thing that you can do is to utilize personal injury protection insurance (PIP).  This type of insurance is an extension of car insurance that will help to cover medical bills, and in some cases, even other damages and lost wages.