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Lawyers Picking your Doctors

Health and Law. Medical malpractice, personal injury lawyer

Should I ask my lawyer to refer me to a doctor?

This is a complicated question. At Lookout Law we help many of our clients find the care they need on a lien basis, which means the doctor gets paid from your case proceeds when you settle your case. However, we do a complete analysis before recommending a medical provider to treat a client on a lien basis. It is, however, always an option.

Our managing partner has worked at firms where ownership insisted on sending every client to the doctors with whom the firm had a relationship on a lien basis. Sometimes, this is the best avenue. Other times, it can unnecessarily eat into the amount of money you take home from your case.

Often times, in Georgia, if you have health insurance, you can have your bills paid through your health insurer and not have to pay them back out of your settlement. Whether you qualify for this depends on what type of health insurance you have. If the plan is an ERISA qualified plan (your employer funds the plan and only has a company administer it), the insurer will likely have an enforceable lien against your case, what they call a subrogation claim. Look Law can almost always get this claim significantly reduced.

However, if you have a traditional health insurance plan, the insurer is only permitted to collect against your case if you have been made whole. Settlements are by definition “compromised settlements,” meaning both sides compromised and got less than they wanted or were entitled to. In other words, in a settlement, a client is not made whole. Accordingly, with traditional health insurance, the chances are you can get your medical bills paid without having to pay them back. Law firms who immediately send clients to their recommended providers for care on a lien basis deprive their clients of this golden opportunity.

For those without health insurance, we always match them with highly qualified healthcare professionals who will treat them on a lien basis. Sometimes, even clients with health insurance will prefer to go this route. Our preferred providers can see you quickly. They can also give you all of the care you need without the restraints of a health insurer having to approve or even worse say “no.” Additionally, our providers are always willing to negotiate on the final bill at time of settlement.

Many defense lawyers try to demonize plaintiff attorneys for arranging medical care for their clients, claiming it’s fraud or a scam. At Lookout Law we believe nothing could be further from the truth. We pride ourselves on making sure clients get all of the care they need, whether through health insurance or through case-liened care. At trial, attorney Richardson is famous for saying, “they’re right! I’m guilty, guilty of making sure my clients get all of the care they need!”

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