When it comes time to settle a California auto accident injury case, many people do not know that the party who was responsible for paying the victim's medical bills has the right to reimbursement-even if the bill was paid by the victim's private health insurance company, Medicare or Medicaid, or even out of their own pocket.

No matter who footed the bill for the treatment, it is imperative that the California personal injury attorney handling the case be familiar with negotiating medical bills.

Let's face it - the accident was not your doing, which is why the at-fault party is offering a settlement, or the judge rules in your favor. If you had never been struck by the other car or truck, you would have never had the medical bills, or had to deal with the pain and suffering that you are most likely experiencing right now.

The last thing that you should have to worry about is figuring out how to negotiate your bills down. Experienced personal injury attorneys know how much money medical providers are willing to accept as full and final payment to settle a bill, and there is a certain amount of leverage that a lawyer holds, since they frequently deal with the same providers in the area.

If you are unsure about how to broach the topic of negotiating health insurance bills, refer to this list of helpful hints that the Southern California car accident lawyers in our office have put together for readers like you. Go over the list with your attorney, and make sure that he or she is using the following for negotiations:

  • You don't know unless you try. Asking for a reduction is the first step. If your attorney is not willing to negotiate, you may need to find someone who will. 
  • Know the amounts that providers typically accept as settlement. An attorney who is practiced at negotiating bills down will already know this, but there are also websites that can give you an idea. The Department of Health and Human Services website and www.hospitalcare.hhs.gov are great resources. 
  • Be willing to make a counteroffer. If the medical provider rejects your offer, you may have better luck with a slightly higher one. 
  • Be respectful. Remember that you are essentially asking the provider to do you a favor. Kindness and understanding, as well as a tone of voice that does not project a sense of entitlement, are key.

Want more information on how to handle a serious California car accident? Order your free copy of The Seven Biggest Mistakes That Can Ruin Your California Injury Case by calling the lawyers at Steinberg Injury Lawyers at 800.989.6385 or by filling out our online form.

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982