Get Answers to These FAQs We Hear the Most
We know how many questions you must have right now about your personal injury or workers' comp case, so we compiled this list of the questions we hear the most. If you have a question that is not answered here, please call our Columbia law office to speak with Kenneth Berger.
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Can a Hospital in South Carolina Refuse to Submit My Bill to Tricare After an Accident?
The short answer is "No," but that does not mean the hospital's billing department - or the collection agency - will not attempt to deceive you. I represent a number of military families in South Carolina. Many of them come to me after accidents with questions about how medical bills will get paid. Often times, a "billing bully" has tried to convince them that Tricare does not apply, or that the hospital is under no obligation to file a claim with Tricare. If anyone tells you such a thing, they are likely breaking the law.
Why would they engage in such deceptive practices? Easy answer: Money. The hospitals want to get paid back 100% of their bill rather than the much lower percentage Tricare is required to pay back. Thus, if any medical provider or billing company in South Carolina tries to convince you that your military benefits do not extend to accident cases, know they are trying to deny you your rights, take money out of your pocket, and add insult to injury.
If I sound passionate about this issue it is because I am tired of seeing soldiers and their families be lied to and stolen from by supposed medical providers. My firm protects injured people's rights, and is here to serve those who have served our country. If anyone has claimed that your Tricare benefits fail to cover accident-related claims, don't tolerate their lie. For more information on how to ensure all bills are properly filed, and that you are treated fairly, call me for a free consultation at 803-790-2800.
How Long Do Children Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in South Carolina?
While the statute of limitations is only 2-3 years for adults in South Carolina, children generally have until age 19 to file a lawsuit. When it comes to a personal injury action, there are often two claims: one for the parent and one for the minor. The parent has a claim for all medical bills related to the accident, while the minor has a claim to recover compensation for everything else (e.g. physical pain; lost quality of life; suffering). In these scenarios, the parent only has 2 years to recover the medical expenses in a claim against a governmental defendant or 3 years as against a non-governmental defendant. However, the parent could conceivably wait several more years to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages for pain and suffering on behalf of their minor child. Likewise, if no such action was taken by the parent, the child would likely have until age 19 to pursue compensation themselves.
As a parent, you have the right to seek and receive justice behalf of your minor child. The dangerous drivers and businesses who cause your son or daughter harm must be held accountable for the hardship they have caused your family - or they are all the more likely to do it to someone else. Even though you may have longer to file a claim or lawsuit in the event of an injury to your child, please do not wait on an insurance carrier for justice.
Personal injury actions - especially those involving children - are often highly nuanced, emotionally taxing, and at times, expensive. Rather than shoulder that burden on your own, I encourage you to at least find out how we can help. For free answers to your questions, call me today at 803-790-2800. I handle child injury cases across South Carolina, and look forward to speaking with you.
Should I Receive Money for Pain and Suffering Under South Carolina's Workers' Compensation Laws?
Pain and suffering - along with financial anxiety - often result from on the job injuries. And while you should receive medical care, payment for time missed from work, mileage reimbursements, and compensation for any permanent disability, South Carolina's workers' comp laws do not allow money for any of your other losses. In other words, workers' comp does not pay for pain and suffering....at least not directly.
However, your physical pain is an indication that you may require additional medical treatment or that you may be suffering from a permanent injury. Workers' compensation cases are often decided by the medical records. It is therefore critical that you tell your doctors and therapists about every issue caused by the work injury. So long as the medical providers know that you are in pain, struggling with lost range of motion, and unable to perform the same duties as before the accident - yet doing your best to recover - the medical records ought to provide the evidence necessary to achieve a fair financial result. You should never exaggerate your pain levels or limitations, but you must be honest and thorough when the doctor asks, "How are you doing?" In this way, workers' comp will not provide direct payment for your pain and suffering, though your ailments will make their way into the medical charts, which in turn lead to a better settlement at the end of your case.
Insurance adjusters and nurse case managers cannot be trusted. Rather than listening to them when it comes to questions regarding how much money you should received from your claim, contact an experienced workers' comp attorney for a free case evaluation, as well as free books written for injured South Carolinians. You can reach me today at 803-790-2800.
Should I Sign a Letter of Protection to Get Medical Treatment After an Auto Accident?
Car crashes often result in injuries, which in turn require medical treatment. But what happens if you cannot afford necessary medical care? One option may be a "letter of protection."
What is a Letter of Protection?
Many doctors and physical therapists across South Carolina will treat you at no cost on the front end in return for a letter of protection from an attorney that states your balance will be paid out of the settlement proceeds when the legal case concludes.
For example, you may need 6 weeks of physical therapy at a cost of $1,800.00. If the wreck knocked you out of work or you are without health insurance, you may be unable to afford the out-of-pocket costs physical therapy poses. However, the therapist may be willing to treat you so long as you sign a letter (i.e contract) agreeing to pay him out of your settlement funds.
Use Letters of Protection with Caution
Letters of protection - also known as "lien letters" - are an important tool for uninsured accident victims in South Carolina. Nonetheless, I encourage you to approach these agreements with caution, as you do not want an unethical chiropractor, therapist, or medical doctor running up a huge bill simply because they see dollar signs.
If you have any questions related to medical treatment after an auto accident, or if you would like me to review a letter of protection for you at no charge, call my Columbia, SC today at 803-790-2800. As a car accident attorney, my job is to protect your legal and financial interests so that you can focus on getting well.
Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help with My Workers' Compensation Case?
I get frustrated when I see lawyers in South Carolina advertise for cases they do not have much experience handling. For instance, many lawyer websites make it sound like someone who devotes 95% of their practice to personal injury cases is more qualified to help with your workers' compensation case than an attorney with years of experience helping injured workers.
So, can a personal injury attorney represent you in a workers' compensation claim? Absolutely - in fact there are many practices (mine included) that actually handle both types of cases on a regular basis. The term "personal injury" includes actions arising from car wrecks, nursing home abuse, premises liability, and really any type of case involving harm caused by someone else's negligence.
However, workers' compensation is a separate area of law that is limited to on the job injuries. In some instances, an attorney may actually be able to help you with two cases arising out of the same incident. For example, if you got in a auto accident while at work, we could represent you in your workers' comp claim, and also file a personal injury claim against the driver who caused your crash.
In sum, the answer to this question is "yes," but make sure you ask the attorney how much experience they have in both areas of law. Every injured person has the right to a qualified lawyer. Therefore, ask the lawyer not only about their experience, but also results they have obtained and what former clients say about them.
To find out more about our personal injury and workers' compensation firm, call my Columbia, SC office at 803-790-2800 for free copies of my books as well as a free consultation.
Do Columbia, SC Personal Injury Attorneys Charge Retainer Fees?
Most lawyers who handle accident and personal injury cases recognize that the last thing you want to do after being hurt is to pay a retainer fee. Your focus is likely on medical bills, getting back to work or school, and regaining your health. Even if you could afford a retainer fee, that money is better set-aside to pay for other expenses you face. If any attorney in Columbia, SC tries to charge you anything other than a "contingency fee" for your case, you may want to consider speaking with someone else. As I often tell clients, if a lawyer believes in your case enough to take it on, they will be willing to accept a fee at the end of the case that is "contingent" upon how much compensation they obtain for you.
In summary, personal injury lawyers generally receive a fee of 33%-40% at the end of the case rather than charging retainer fees or an hourly rate. If you have other questions, or would like to receive a free consultation, call my Columbia, SC office today at 803-790-2800.
Will the Insurance Company Pay Three Times My Medical Bills After an Accident in South Carolina
Years ago, the unwritten rule in South Carolina was that an insurance company would pay three times your medical expenses. The thinking was that 1/3 would go to the doctors, 1/3 to the lawyer, and 1/3 to the person who was injured in the accident. That is no longer the standard, however. After years of "tort reform" and multi-million dollar insurance campaigns aimed at demonizing lawyers and the people they represent, the pre-litigation value of accident claims has decreased. In fact, many insurance carriers have begun offering unrepresented people less than 1.5 times the medical bills.
So rather than focus on medical expenses alone as a measure for your case's value, I view it as just one of several variables that goes into determining how much compensation you should receive. In addition to your bills, I focus on the overall effect the accident has on your quality of life, your physical pain, and any permanent injury you have sustained. The defendant's conduct is another factor in assessing case value. For instance: Was the individual defendant texting? Did a corporate defendant put profits ahead of safety?
Instead of allowing an insurance company or non-lawyer to convince you that your case's value is tied almost exclusively to the medical bills, call my Columbia, SC office today for a free case evaluation at 803-790-2800. I will provide candid, factual, experience-based answers to your questions and help ensure you are treated fairly.
Will Medicaid Pay for My Child's Injuries in South Carolina?
Medicaid is meant to protect South Carolina's children and ensure they get the medical treatment they need. Medicaid applies whether your child was injured in a car wreck, at daycare, school, a friend’s house, or anywhere else. Even though the negligent party may be responsible for compensating your family at the end of a legal case, Medicaid still pays the bills along the way. Do not hesitate to file your hospital bills with Medicaid if your child got hurt as a result of negligence.
At the end of the case, we may have to reimburse Medicaid a portion of what they paid out, but it is much easier to pay them a couple thousand dollars than to be stuck with tens of thousands in unpaid medical bills.
If your child was seriously injured in South Carolina, and you have questions about any aspect of the case, including Medicaid, call me today at (803) 790-2800.
Who Pays for the Rental Car after a Crash in South Carolina?
After an auto accident, one of your first concerns will be getting a rental car so you can get back and forth from work or take care of other responsibilities. In most instances, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for your rental car. The problem in South Carolina is that they often provide a rental for only 5 to 10 days. As you probably know by now, it may take more time than that to fix the property damage or to purchase a new vehicle after an accident.
When delays occur you have a couple of options. First, you can ask the Defendant's insurance company to extend your rental. Second, you may contact your own insurance carrier and ask if your rental coverage applies in this situation. Either way, there may be a small rental fee for items such as insurance on the rental car, but the amount you pay is greatly offset by the money you save from going to work or taking car of other duties.
South Carolina auto accident law is designed to protect you. Ensuring you have a rental vehicle is just one of those protections. If you have questions about any aspect of your case, call me today at (803) 790-2800.
Do I Have to Pay Medicaid Back in South Carolina After a Car Crash?
First, if you have Medicaid in South Carolina, you should use it to pay for all medical bills related to your car crash. Second, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) - which runs our state's Medicaid program - will seek to be reimbursed for the money it spent on your medical treatment. With that said, I would much rather you owe Medicaid $3,000.00 than a hospital $30,000.00. In addition, DHHS will reduce the amount of money you have to repay them out of your settlement by at least 25% if you have an attorney.
So in sum, the answer is "Yes." If you currently receive Medicaid benefits, and got in an auto accident in South Carolina, you should be able to receive the medical treatment you need, but not at a cost that will swallow your entire settlement. I have represented a number of Medicaid recipients in personal injury cases, and would be glad to answer any questions you have. For a free consultation, call me today at (803) 790-2800.