Q: I was in an automobile accident and went to the ER by ambulance. I went to a chiropractor and after a month or so of weekly treatments began to feel a lot better. The at-fault driver’s insurance company says that because my Blue Cross Blue Shield paid most of the bills, they will not pay me without paying Blue Cross and there will not be any money left to pay me. I was really hurt for a while and missed a week of work which I needed. I believe I am due some money. How much should they have to pay me and what does Blue Cross Blue Shield have to do with it?
Robert, Tuscumbia, AL
A: You should be reimbursed for the pay you missed and you should be compensated for the pain you suffered. I guarantee you that if it were the insurance adjuster who had missed his paycheck and had been injured, he would insist on the same.
We go to such great lengths to enjoy our lives and be comfortable and safe that an injury caused by someone else’s inattention while driving is unacceptable. Alabama law provides for compensation for wrongdoing. Alabama law says that you are entitled to be reimbursed for your lost wages and that people sitting on a jury, just like you, get to decide how much money it is worth to be injured through no fault of your own.
Blue Cross Blue Shield is entitled to be paid back for the money they spent for your medical bills. They have to share in the cost of the recovery meaning that they have to pay their fair share of the attorney’s fees and costs for recovering that money. Occasionally this is extremely important in cases where the medical bills exceed the amount of available insurance coverage. In those cases, we can negotiate with Blue Cross Blue Shield to lower the amount they claim so that everybody gets some monetary compensation. If Blue Cross paid $30,000 in medical bills and all the available coverage totaled $30,000, Blue Cross would have to take under $20,000 and would likely accept $10,000.
One of the most unfair laws ever passed in this State is the law that says that if someone like you, injured through no fault of their own, has insurance to pay their bills the jury is told of the injured party’s insurance. The jury can never be told that the defendant has insurance and as I have stated many times before, insurance defense attorneys go to great lengths to hide the fact that the defendant has a lawyer paid for by the insurance company and an insurance company to pay the jury verdict. So the person who did wrong hides the fact that they have insurance and the person who was injured through no fault of their own gets less money because they had the foresight to have insurance.
Buckle up, wash your hands, and as always, your referrals are appreciated!