Many people hear about large settlements and rewards from personal injury claims, but they are often disappointed with the reality. True, many injury claims can result in a six-figure settlement or award, but the money a plaintiff receives is a fraction of that. Fees and medical expenses come out of the settlement or verdict. An attorney’s fee alone is nearly 40% of the award. The remainder of the settlement goes to paying medical bills and other costs first before making its way to the plaintiff’s pocket. While it may be frustrating to see such a large portion of your money go to medical bills, there are at least three reasons this is necessary.
1. Insurance Requirements
While you may have insurance, the coverage typically covers unrecoverable damages. If you are in a car accident and are not liable for the damages, then your insurer may not want to pay for your recovery. However, the insurance will pay with the exception that any money you receive from a lawsuit first repays their expenses. As a policyholder, you should be happy with this arrangement because it limits your liability for the accident and protects your premiums.
2. Attorney Liens
You may also need to pay medical expenses out of a settlement if you did not use insurance but instead used attorney liens to receive the care you needed. While most hospitals want to be paid for the services they provide, many institutions are willing to provide care with the understanding that they are paid from any settlement funds first. In most cases, this means your attorney will take out their fee and repay any existing liens before giving you the remainder of your settlement or award.
3. Lack of Coverage
Finally, if you do not have insurance coverage, then your medical bills will need to be paid. Some health care will agree to bill you later without the need for an attorney’s guarantee. However, for more severe injuries, such agreements like bill now, pay later may not be available. You need to talk with your attorney and medical institution to find the best options for all parties involved.
Medical expenses are a natural part of personal injury claims, and since lawsuits are meant to make a plaintiff financially whole, it makes sense that large portions of the award go toward paying off debt. If you want more information on settlement arrangements and payouts, talk with a personal injury lawyer, like from Martin Wren, P.C.