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Can I get more than one settlement for an accident that was not my fault?

I had a car accident ten months ago.  I went to the ER and saw my family doctor a few times.  I felt better, so I took $2500 that the other driver’s insurance offered.  Now it looks like I am going to have surgery because of the accident. On top of that, Blue Cross is asking for money back that they paid for treatment from this accident.  Can I go back and get more money from the other driver’s insurance? Rudy K., Empire

If you signed a release when you accepted the money from the other party in the accident, you cannot recover anything further. A settlement with the other party is complete when a release is signed. This means you will not receive anything more, even if your condition gets dramatically worse. Settlements are for all of your damages both past and future. Damages covered by settlement include: past medical treatment costs, future medical treatment costs, lost wages, future lost wages, past and future pain and suffering, mental anguish and other out of pocket damages you incur. When you settle and sign a release with the other party, you are settling for all of those damages at that time.

Before you settle with an insurance company, you should be absolutely certain of your future medical condition. Insurance adjusters often offer a small amount right after an accident in order to close out the possibility of paying a lot more later. The adjuster will often pressure you to take the settlement quickly and tell you that the offer will only be available for a short period of time. Sometimes, an adjuster may even tell you that he will withdraw the offer if you consult an attorney.

It surprises the vast majority of personal injury claimants that if they recover from an accident, they are almost always required to reimburse their own health insurance carrier for amounts paid because of the accident. None of us read our health insurance policies, and it comes as a surprise to learn that buried somewhere in these documents are several paragraphs providing that if an insured party makes a recovery in a personal injury case, he or she is required to reimburse the insurance company.

Some clients are angry to find out about these provisions. My clients often feel that they paid a substantial premium for the coverage and should not be required to reimburse the health insurance company to whom they paid monthly premiums. Some people even feel these insurance company recoveries constitute a windfall for greedy insurance companies!

If a person has their medical bills paid for by Medicare or Medicaid, they also have to reimburse these entities as well. Dealing with Medicaid, Medicare, BlueCross or other insurers can be extremely complicated. Most claimants need an attorney to help them through the complicated paperwork. We can always negotiate a reduction in the amount claimed by Medicare, Medicaid, BlueCross or other health insurance providers.

Nelson, Bryan and Jones represents clients in most areas including Social Security Disability, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Wrongful Death Cases, Personal Injury Actions, Defective Products, Insurance Disputes and Bad Faith, Fire Loss cases, Trucking Accidents, Worker’s Compensation, Drug Recalls, Employment Law and Property Damage Claims.

If you have any questions about any other legal issue, give us a call (205-387-7777) at Nelson, Bryan and Jones for a free consultation.

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