Irene Talks to Natasha Bystritskaya About Car Accidents, Medical Examinations, and Settlements

 In Irene H Gabo, Law, Medicaid, Medicare, Motor Vehicle Accidents

Irene H Gabo joined Natasha Bystritskaya for another Q&A segment about car accidents, medical examinations, settlement funding loans, and protecting your child if he is hurt at school on the popular “Good Morning” show on Davidzon Radio 620AM.

Listen to the Broadcast:

Q&A Transcript

I was hit by a vehicle registered in New Jersey and their insurance refuses to pay my medical bills. What do I do?

New Jersey law is different from New York’s no-fault law in that New Jersey has its own corporation called PLIGA which covers only you only in case you have no other insurance. For example, if you are from New York and you have a vehicle in your household, that vehicle’s insurance will have to cover your medical expenses, if you were hit by a New Jersey car, in New Jersey, while a pedestrian. If you are from New Jersey for example and have no other insurance, NJ’s PLIGA will cover your medical expenses, not the insurance of the car which hit you.

I am being sued for a car accident, but I don’t want my insurance company to pay the other driver anything as my rate will go up, what can I do?

The best outcome here will depend on you having good defense counsel, your testimony and testimony of the plaintiff and any other witnesses. Your attorney may also choose to hire a bio-mechanical engineer who can opinion on the speed of the cars from the impact and damage to the cars, as well as tire marks. But in the end, insurance companies for car accidents do not need your consent to settle a case, unlike in cases of medical malpractice. They can settle if they feel that the cost of litigating or trial may be too high and not worth continuing with the case or if the other person’s injuries are too severe.

I have a medical exam coming up related to my case. My attorney tells me it’s at the request of the guy I am suing. How can he order my medical exam?

When you bring a lawsuit, you put your medical injuries on display to be examined. Your attorney pleads the injuries and describes the treatment you received, while defendant, or more correctly, his insurance company has the right to question those injuries and have you examined by their own designated doctors, who will opinion on extent of your injuries and disability, or lack thereof. These are the doctors the defendant’s team will call against you at your trial, so you must be prepared for these exams and understand to take this exam seriously, even though many take 15-20 minutes.

Will I be able to sue the City if I have Medicaid and Medicare? I fell on the boardwalk on Brighton.

Yes, you can, but at the end of the case you need to fill out what is called “affidavit of no liens” for the City of New York. That means your attorney will need to reach out to both Medicaid and Medicare before settlement papers are sent out to the City of New York, to ascertain if you owe them money and if so, how much needs to be paid back. I suggest that your attorney should have preliminary numbers before you settle the case, so they know what liens are outstanding. In the end, you just pay back Medicare out of the settlement check, actually the City of New York sends them a check for your balance directly. With Medicaid, if the amount is larger than what you can receive in order to remain on Medicaid, you need to investigate possibly doing a spend-down, where the money you received go into payment of your “necessary” expenses.

I received a settlement but a big part of it is to pay back the loan I took, anything I can do? I already signed the closing paperwork.

We spoke numerous times on this show about my dislike of these loans, because in the end, you can expect your initial amount to double or triple, the longer the case takes, which will affect your ultimate recovery amount. First of all, read the loan agreement before you sign and know the numbers you’ll owe at the end. Before signing any closing papers, find out from your attorney how much exactly you owe. There are circumstances where the amount can be reduced by the funding company. But most importantly, if you don’t really need the loan, don’t take it in the first place.

My child was hurt in school, but I am afraid to get the teacher in trouble whose class this happened in. What can I do?

If the teacher failed to supervise the classroom and that failure led to the incident where your child got injured you have a decision to make. It’s important to get the incident report from the school to find out what happened and speak to your child’s peers about what transpired. You need to make an initial 90-day claim against the City of New York, as I previously discussed on the show and then start a lawsuit within a year and 90 days. By the time the case gets to depositions and teacher must testify about what happened it is very likely the child will already be in done with that grade and will never have that teacher again. Ultimately the decision if one for the family to make and will consider the injuries and school’s liability.