Workers’ Compensation and Medical Bill Payment in Mississippi
The average injury related hospital bill in Mississippi is about $100,000. Catastrophic injuries, such as spine injuries, and serious occupational diseases, like toxic exposure cancer, might be ten times as high or even much higher. Most health insurance companies do not pay these costs, for liability reasons.
Generally, workers’ compensation covers all reasonably necessary medical expenses. That usually includes everything from the first moment of emergency care to the last day of physical therapy. In Mississippi, this period could be up to 450 weeks.
A Jackson workers’ compensation lawyer does more than arrange for direct medical bill payment. Additionally, as outlined below, attorneys usually take care of immediate medical costs, so victims can focus on getting better.
Normally, medical providers demand immediate payment for their services. A company-designated doctor might not do so, but frequently, these doctors have mixed loyalties in these cases.
Under Mississippi law, work injury victims have the right to choose their own doctors. To preserve this right, attorneys usually send letters of protection to medical providers.
These letters guarantee payment when the case is settled or otherwise resolved. As a result, the victims pay nothing upfront for medical services.
As a bonus, an attorney is a good negotiator as well as a strong advocate. So, an attorney can usually reduce the amount due. If that happens, victims in Mississippi get to keep more of their settlement money. This rule, known as the collateral source rule, varies in different states.
Most workers’ compensation claims do not settle immediately, so the letter of protection is an important tool. If a lawyer settles a claim too early, the settlement amount might not cover all medical bills which come due.
Long-Term Medical Bill Payment
Frequently, the emergency care hospital bill is little more than the tip of the iceberg. Physical or occupational therapy is usually much more costly. As mentioned, workers’ compensation pays medical bills, including physical therapy bills, for up to 450 weeks. That’s one of the longest periods in the country. As a result, victims have plenty of time to recover.
However, if the victim hits a wall during physical therapy, insurance companies often try to stick the Maximum Medical Improvement tag on these victims. Essentially, MMI means that the illness or injury will not get any better and further physical therapy is pointless.
Brain injury physical therapy is a good example. Since these therapists must train uninjured areas of the brain to assume lost functions, progress often comes in fits and starts. A sudden breakthrough might occur after a plateau which lasts several weeks.
The medical bill payment does not just apply to hospitalization and physical therapy. All reasonable medical expenses are included. That includes things like transportation expenses. If a victim is seriously injured in a rural location and must be airlifted to a hospital, that transportation bill could be tens of thousands of dollars.
Rely on an Experienced Attorney
Injured workers do not need to worry about medical bills. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Jackson, contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC. We routinely handle matters in Louisiana and Mississippi.