personal injury

What Medical Expenses Are Paid After A Slip & Fall Injury?

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After an individual has incurred a personal injury, what follows are a series of oncoming medical expenses, from emergency room care to ambulance transportation, evaluations, prescriptions, and other therapeutic treatments. Depending on the severity of the injuries, the medical expenses can be astronomical and continue to ‘pile up’ while legal action and a personal injury suit is underway.

We will discuss how personal injury victims manage medical bills, and what kind of compensation methods are available to help the injured cope with thousands of dollars of emergency medical care. In many cases, the compensation depends on the state of residence, and the type of insurance coverage that the victim and business owner have in place at the time of the accident.

Slip and fall injuries can result in mild to catastrophic and life-altering disabilities. The road to recovery for a personal injury victim is not only physical and emotional, but also financial. Learn how other patients have coped with the burden, and what state and federal programs do to help injured victims move forward, rehabilitate, and seek the compensation they deserve.

What Medical Expenses Are Paid After A Slip & Fall Injury?

Health Insurance Matters: The Myth of Medical Expenses and Compensation

There are many misconceptions when it comes to personal injury and responsibility for medical expenses and treatments after the incident has occurred. Some consumers believe that in cases where a business, the government, or other organization is clearly “at fault” for the slip and fall injury (due to negligence), the medical expenses will be paid for by that business. It’s easy to get confused by the process, when most personal injury cases do result in compensation for the injured; but the problem is that compensation may not happen for months, and potentially years, depending on the severity of the injury and litigation.

In the United States, it is illegal for any hospital to refuse emergency treatment, regardless of whether the individual has health and critical illness and gap insurance or not. Thanks to changes in the healthcare system and the Affordable Care Act, many Americans now have even the most minimal of health insurance policies, which can limit their financial liability to $8,000 or less per year, per individual.

How the Affordable Care Act works is that the health care policy guarantees emergency treatment (not including prescription medications or holistic therapies). After an accident, if the injured is enrolled in health insurance, he or she may only incur up to the maximum annual expense, as outlined by their insurance plan.

What Happens When the Injured Has No Health Insurance?

For individuals who have no health insurance in place, the financial situation becomes substantially more precarious. Again, American hospitals are required to provide emergency care and will do so, even for a patient who has no health insurance. The cash cost of the necessary services to stabilize, treat wounds, and ensure that the injured is sufficiently healed. They are not obligated to engage in physiotherapy or other treatments including speech therapy, mobility training, or other modalities to help the injured recover independent movement, and frequently accessing specialists can be very difficult without insurance coverage in place.

The cost of the health care and emergency treatments will accumulate, and the patient and their family will be approached with a payment plan that generally commences within three months of delivery of the medical care. Injured victims who do not have health insurance are often distressed at the costs that accrue – a debt that they are responsible for paying.

If the injured victim is eligible to receive Medicaid or Medicare, the two social programs will cover the expense of mandatory health care needs post-injury. Patients are only eligible for this care if they were enrolled in one of the social healthcare programs prior to the accident. If the injured is unable to work, and he or she is within the low-income guidelines of Medicaid, the individual may be able to apply for Medicaid coverage.

Enrollment for Medicaid is year-round (unlike the Affordable Care Act coverage, which is limited to open enrollment periods). Medicaid covers people with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty level, which is approximately $17,000, and coverage would be retroactive to the 1st day of the month in which the person applied for coverage. In some cases, medical treatment received up to three months before enrolling in Medicaid may also be covered, depending on the circumstance.

When Will Insurers Compensate Health Expenses?

Until the court case has been successfully resolved in a slip and fall or other type of personal injury suit, there is no compensation for medical expenses provided. The individual is responsible for negotiating an affordable payment plan monthly, and can indicate to the insurer that a personal injury settlement is pending.

Be Ready to Pay Some of Your Settlement Back to Insurers

If you have been awarded a reimbursement sum for your health care treatments, did you know that you must pay back insurance companies for the monies you received? This is often a shock to individuals who successfully claim and win a personal injury suit; federal and state laws outline that the amount you receive in your settlement that directly pertains to health expenses is not payable to the injured (unless the injured has paid cash for all health care services).

If an injured won $500,000 in a personal injury settlement, and $350,000 of the amount was awarded by the court to compensate for health care and emergency hospital expenses, the insurance company (or Medicaid) is entitled to receive $350,000 after the settlement has been paid.

One of the reasons why catastrophic (severe disability injuries) settlements can be so astronomical is that the amount allocated for treatment must be repaid to insurers, followed by legal expenses which are deducted from the settlement, leaving the individual with net proceeds to continue recuperation, or to compensate for lost earnings or unemployability.

It is important for Americans to understand the value of having health insurance, to eliminate the pressures and stress of seeing medical expenses stack up after a personal injury. And it is also essential for them to understand that relief from medical bills, in terms of a settlement, may take months or, in complicated cases, years to resolve.

5 Common Potential Hazards That Can Cause Slip and Fall Accidents

5 Common Potential Hazards That Can Cause Slip and Fall Accidents

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Slip and fall lawsuits are one of the most common personal injury lawsuits. For one, there are many conditions that can give rise to slip and fall accidents. Another reason is that it’s relatively easy to point a finger at the premise owner or occupant.

Irrespective of being a property owner or a visitor on another’s property, getting involved in a lawsuit is troublesome. And, of course, getting injured is something that we all certainly want to avoid.

Here are five common potential hazards that can cause slips and falls. As a property owner, make sure you don’t have trouble areas on your premises; as a visitor, be careful when you head out of your house.

5 Common Potential Hazards That Can Cause Slip and Fall Accidents

Floors

According to Plant City premises liability lawyers, property owners or occupants have a duty toward guests and visitors to maintain their premises and keep them safe. As such, it is expected of premise owners to ensure that floors are mopped, waxed, and polished regularly.

However, wet floors and excessive polish can lead to slips and falls, and other serious injuries. Here are some conditions under which owners and occupants can be held liable for accidents:

  • Lack of adequate warnings indicating wet floors
  • Lack of barriers to close off areas with wet or damp floors
  • Applying wax or polish unevenly or using too much of these substances
  • Applying floor treatments to areas that have a slight incline or slope
  • Failing to use floor treatments with non-skid ingredients

In addition to these conditions, owners can be held liable for accidents caused by torn, worn out, or bulging areas in carpets; debris; material like gum on floors that can stick to shoes; and rugs or mats with worn spots and edges curled up.

Stairs

Stairs are prone to wear from prolonged use and can cause slips and falls if they aren’t maintained regularly. Worn out materials on the ‘run’ part of the stair – the part where your foot lands – are most dangerous. Knowing about the dangerous condition and failing to take appropriate steps to minimize risk can shift liability to the premise owner.

It should be noted that owners can also be deemed liable for accidents if they use materials like tile and highly polished wood on stair runs instead of less slippery materials like painted wood, carpet, or stone. In outdoor settings, stairs should have run surfaces that don’t become more slippery when wet, or should have anti-slip materials applied. Furthermore, stairs should be built and maintained to avoid excessive precipitation buildup.

Building code violations can also cause fatal accidents, shifting liability completely to the premises’ owner. Here are some areas regulated by building code:

  • Stairs should meet minimum and maximum measurements for riser height and run depth – the vertical and horizontal parts of the stairs.
  • Stairs shouldn’t exceed the maximum variance prescribed by building code.
  • Handrails are a must on certain types of stairs. They should be installed firmly, should have the correct height and width, and shouldn’t end before the stairs.

Inadequate Lighting

Several indoor and outdoor accidents occur as a result of poor and insufficient lighting, which makes proper lighting crucial on both residential, as well as commercial, properties.

  • Proper lighting on stairways and in stairwells helps people see stairs and landings clearly, and makes it easy to take note of obstacles or obstructions.
  • Ample lighting is important in hallways, entrances, and all prominent parts of a property to help visitors avoid potential tripping or slipping hazards.
  • Enter and exit signs should be well lit, especially fire and emergency exit ones. These should also be serviced regularly.
  • Outdoor lighting is as important as indoor lighting. Immediate entrances, parking lots, sidewalks, garages, etc. should be sufficiently lit to avoid falls and accidents.

Pools

Property owners are not automatically liable for injuries occurring in and around swimming pools. Nonetheless, since a pool is a part of the property, premises liability rules do apply in injury lawsuits.

Certain risks like potential danger from diving from inappropriate places or slippery surfaces around the pool are obvious and not enough to create liability for the property owner. That being said, a property owner can be held liable for accidents if they failed to put up warning signs regarding the depth of the pool or hidden obstructions in the pool. Equipment like diving boards, ladders, and drains should be maintained regularly, and necessary warning signs should be put up.

Owners of commercial properties like clubs and hotels could be held liable for accidents if they fail to provide emergency safety equipment. Public pools like those owned by municipalities should provide adequate supervision or have lifeguards on duty.

Ice and Snow

Injuries resulting from slips and falls on ice and snow can be very serious. While property owners can be held liable for injuries resulting from accumulated ice and snow, there are no set rules to determine negligence. For example, it is not possible to decide the amount of ice and snow to determine the owner’s fault. Determining owner liability also takes into consideration the amount of time the owner had to remove ice and snow.

In general situations, property owners can be held responsible for accidents if the conditions on the property cause ice or snow to build up unnaturally. Instances such as ice accumulating on the roof; melting and refreezing on the ground; or ice melting and forming puddles, then refreezing into patches due to slope or unevenness of the ground can cause owners to be liable for accidents.

Now that you’ve read about these five potential hazards that can cause slip and fall accidents, you know just what needs to be done to avoid accidents. Make all required changes to your property and always be on your guard when you head out to stay safe!