Providing treatment to auto accident victims includes a fair amount of risk. Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance act is intended to make it easier for injured motorists and their doctors to get their medical expenses covered. Even so, auto insurance providers have made it their common practice to challenge patients’ injuries and their treatments, adding time and expense to the process.
Once you submit your billing to an auto insurance company, they are required to provide payment within 30 days. However, when they contest a bill they can tie your accounts receivable up in litigation for months or even years.
Sometimes you will also have an uncooperative patient. You may not find out about their First Party lawsuit until it is too late, or their attorney may refuse to work with you. Other times, the lawyer will offer to incorporate your case into theirs, but then undercut your medical billing for the sake of their plaintiff’s case.
That is why medical providers should be represented by an attorney who has their best interests at heart. A medical provider attorney can evaluate your patient’s case and your billing to determine whether it would be better to intervene into their action or to to file an independent law suit.
Direct Medical Provider Litigation
As a medical provider, you have the ability to sue auto insurance providers directly for services you render for the benefit of an auto accident victim. That means you don’t have to wait on your uncooperative patient to start a lawsuit.
This can be to your advantage. If you and your patient each sue the auto insurer, it can sometimes put pressure on them to settle your case more quickly. As the cases progress, your medical provider attorney and the patient’s attorney can each use discovery and testimony in the other case. The auto insurance company may choose to settle with you to keep your testimony out of the patient’s lawsuit.
When a doctor or therapist sues an auto insurance company,the issues are:
- whether treatment was provided;
- whether the injury was the result of an auto accident;
- whether it was reasonably necessary to treat the injury; and
- whether the amount billed was reasonable.
When a patient sues for the same injury, it can sometimes be difficult to get the necessary documents and testimony to support claims for medical expenses. But when a medical provider sues directly, his or her testimony can’t be excluded. You are an expert in what you do, so it will be harder for the insurance company to dispute your billing at trial.
Starting your own independent lawsuit will take more time and work for your medical provider attorney than intervening in your patient’s case, but it will also give you more control over how the case progresses and could result in a better settlement. If you have been denied medical billing by an auto insurance company, talk to the medical provider attorneys at Christensen Law to decide if a direct lawsuit is right for you.