Bugs Bunny said it well when he asked, "What's up doc?" He must have been in a pretty bad car accident, at least a month before, and he was getting the MULTIPLE bills that you could get, if you were injured and treated, following a car accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident, 18 wheeler crash. I had a potential new client call me a few weeks ago and tell me about an offer from an adjuster, for a $1,300 "hospital" bill and $1,200 for pain and suffering. The more I spoke to the potential new client, the more I realized that he was in the same boat I was in, before I started working at a law office, in that I did not realize how many bills you could get, after receiving emergency care, following an accident. Below is a discussion of some bills that an injured victim could receive after a car accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident, 18 wheeler crash.
1. Air Ambulance
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be transported, via air ambulance, to the nearest emergency room. An air ambulance is staffed with medical personnel who are there to stabilize you and your injuries, to the best of their abilities, so that you can be transported to the nearest trauma facility. Thankfully, prior to working in a law office, I had never had any dealings with an air ambulance. Early on, in my legal career, we had a client who was transported via air ambulance and when we received his bill, my mouth literally dropped open. The bill was more than $60,000.00 dollars.
If you are close enough to a trauma center, you may be transported via ground ambulance, to the emergency room. Again, depending on your location, you may have to be transported via ground ambulance to a location where an air ambulance could pick you up; in this instance, you will have a bill from both, the air ambulance, and the ground ambulance. While in the ambulance, you will not only be charged for the supplies used to stabilize you and your injuries, but you will also be charged for the mileage used to transport you to and from the accident location to the air ambulance pick up location or to the emergency room.
3. Emergency Room Hospital Bill
This is the main bill that people expect, when they are in a car accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident, 18 wheeler crash. This bill will cover your time in the hospital, all procedures performed upon you in the hospital, all supplies used to care for you, in the hospital. In the Texoma region, emergency room bills, following accidents range from $5,000.00 to $30,000.00 and higher. If you are dealing with an adjuster and you think you have provided them your emergency room bill, but the bill is only $1,300.00, chances are slim that this is your actual hospital emergency room bill. It is probably one of the bills discussed below.
4. Emergency Room Physician
The doctor that treats you in the emergency room will have his own separate bill. Depending on the level of the trauma, the bill will vary. These bills will typically come from a "group", like Texoma Emergency Physicians or Sundance Emergency Physicians. The potential new client that called me about the $1,300.00 hospital bill was actually looking at the emergency room physician bill. Following an accident, if you do not receive the bill from the emergency room physician, you can contact the emergency room where you treated, ask for the billing department, and ask them for the name and phone number of the emergency physician service they use.
If the emergency room doctor orders x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, or any other radiological diagnostic tests performed, while you are in the emergency room, following an accident, you will also have a bill from the radiologist. The radiologist is the doctor that reads the x-ray and creates a report to include in your emergency room hospital records.
If the emergency room doctor orders blood to be drawn, while you are in the emergency room, following an accident, you will also have a bill from the pathologist. The pathologist is the doctor that analyzes your bloodwork and creates a report to include in your emergency room hospital records. In the last five years, I have seen more and more emergency room physicians ordering blood work, following an accident.
If you undergo surgery, following an accident, you will also have a bill from the anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist is the doctor who puts you to sleep, for surgery, or any other procedure that cannot be performed while the patient is awake and creates a report to include in your emergency room hospital records.
8. Other potential providers
Depending on the state of your health, prior to the accident, you may have several of your own doctors check up on you, if you are hospitalized, following the accident. If you have a heart doctor, or cardiologist, they may be called in for consult. If you are under treatment of a pain management doctor, he or she could also be called in for consult. If you are under the care of a physician for any autoimmune disorders, your specialist may be called in for consult. If you have arthritis, your rheumatologist may be called in for consult. The list could go on and on, but the basic idea is that if you are under the care of a physician, at the time of your accident, the emergency room physician may call in any or all of your treating physicians, for consults. Each doctor that is called in for consult will have their own bill.
If you have health insurance, you might not see any of these bills if you do not owe a co-pay or patient responsibility payment. This is typically why most people do not know that they have all of these medical expenses, related to their collision, because they never see the bills. Medical expenses are a part of your claim, following a car accident, so you want to make sure that you have all of your medical bills, when you present your claim or if you chose to hire a personal injury attorney, they will need to make sure they have all of your medical expenses, to present the claim to the liability adjuster.
You have to be very careful, when presenting your claim to the adjuster, because even though they most likely know that you should have more than one bill, if you went to the emergency room, they can still try to settle your claim with you, only for the bills you presented, have you sign a release, and then you have settled your claim for less than it is worth and if any of those unpresented medical bills have balances, you still owe them. Just remember, after an accident, if you get emergency room care, "What's up doc, and doc, and doc?" As always, stay safe!