Consider the following facts on Minimum Property damage claims
A recent case had $437.00 in property damage. This would be considered a minimum property damage case in many states
- Child age 4 whose only medical bill was $1840.00 chiropractic bill. The settlement was for close to $1000.00 over the bill. The child was seen 10 times. The doctor received $942.00, almost a 50% reduction but admittedly, he spent just 2.5 hours treating the child and that was an average of $376.00 per hour.
- Same accident, child age 7. $2100.00 in bills for 12 visits and the doctor for his 3 hours of time received $1000.00, an average of $333.00/hour.
- Same accident, adult parent. $4500.00 in bills, doctor receives $1830.00 (settlement was $1000.00 over the bills) which averaged $336.00 per hour for his time.
What was good about this case and other like this case is the simplicity of them. One doctor with no third party cost that burden a simple case. That means no ambulance, no hospital and no other 3rd party bills. The case settles faster than a more involved case. But wait a second, when this case walked into the doctor’s office, he was not sure that he would ever collect a dime. We were not sure we would ever collect a dime but we, like our friend, took a chance and we all profited.
You may get a client and a patient for life
Guess what; we made a new friend, the client, who was told early on, that given the small damage, there was a chance that we could have a problem settling the case. We have to do this despite the fact that we know when we will have a problem and we know predictably well when we can produce these results. Remember that in the end, the client received money and was more thankful than clients who have larger cases. Early on, the client knew of the risk and the client was awarded and now loves the accident doctor and maybe even loves the lawyer.
Now take the above case and let’s change the circumstances. The adult isn’t responding to your treatment and has the typical numbness and tingling that should be addressed. So you send the patient to a medical doctor who addresses the situation by ordering an MRI and possibly injecting the patient.
There are small cases which can turn into much larger cases and you are the first doctor on the scene and it’s your call. Your examination and treatment tells you to reach out for the patient and you do the right thing and reach out. The patient gets confirmation of the problem and the problem is addressed.
The end result is very likely, you end up making more on the adult’s bill because you care enough to help your patient overcome what you could not fix. It is not unusual that a small case like the one above settles for a lot more money if the circumstances call for you to reach out for the patient’s best interest and again, you make the patient your friend.
By the way, with the changed circumstances, we, as lawyers, refrain from settling the children’s claims until we settle the parent’s claim. Given the recognized injury of the adult should give credibility to the children being hurt and it might add a little higher value to their claim.
We have examined our cases where the patient’s have seen multiple caregivers and the trend reflects that these cases settle for more money. The problem with the hospital cases is they are hard to deal with while the third party doctors you and we deal with are much more addressable when it comes to settling their bills. Try settling with an ambulance company or a hospital with a lien. They have lawyers already. They have the legislature on their side.
TIP OF THE DAY
The accident takes place on August 21, 2013 and the patient finally comes to your office on September 19th. The patient tells you he just has been taking Advil or something and he aches and has a headache that just will not go away. He has lost sleep and he is frustrated. (This case could also be that the patient went to the hospital, got prescriptions and the prescriptions ran out and he is still hurt) The patient may have called your office for an appointment 3 days ago.
So what is normally done: you give him the paperwork to fill out and no one knows the short story that fills in the lapse.
The following occurs: you help him get a lawyer and he is treated and released. You send your paperwork to the lawyer and he sends it to the insurance company with his demand. You get a small settlement offer and the insurance company focuses on the lapse. The insurance company plays hardball and it is a really small settlement.
Now we propose you do something a little bit differently. Your first notes read as follows:
Patient was seen at the hospital and was diagnosed with xxx and was given prescriptions for Flexeril and a pain reliever and he was released and told to return if necessary. He took all the medicine and took ibuprofen and his symptoms have not abated. He called this office 3 days ago and is here today for the unresolved symptoms. This covers the period of the lapse and shows that the patient was not in this for the money, he wanted to get well and when he did not respond to what the Doctor had given him, he sought you out. Now we know that he was treating at home during the period before he came to you. It puts a dent in to the person on the other side who screams lapse. Please take this tip to heart. It makes for good medical records.
Let me hear from you especially if you like the letters we send out. If you have a topic that you would like us to address, let me know. If you have news that you want to reach our friends with, let us know that too and we will help you out.
Something you just might be interested in. We were recently hired by a medical provider whose bills were not paid by a lawyer. Please do not ask us his name because we are under an agreement to keep his name from surfacing. Well after playing lawyer, his insurance company paid and he also had to pay and our clients were extremely happy with what they received. It covered the bills of about 20 different patients. Just maybe, you are dealing with a lawyer who has not paid your bill.