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Your Rights: Protecting Your Healthcare Information

Your Rights: Protecting Your Healthcare InformationIf you’ve been in an accident and are filing a claim, you need to protect your healthcare information to get a fair settlement. Insurance companies will try to get their hands on your medical records to find a reason to deny your claim. It isn’t personal; it’s just how they do business and make a profit. For you, however, this means you need to be cautious and know how to protect your rights.

 

Limiting the Scope

 

The insurance company does indeed need to verify your injuries by reviewing your medical records. Without doing this, they have no proof your medical bills were reasonable and necessary. Even though you need to provide some of your medical records to settle your claim, you do not have to provide them full access. This is the first, most important, right you should understand.

 

Signing a Release

 

Second, you have to sign a medical release before the insurance company can access your medical records. This is called a HIPPA release. The Healthcare Information Portability and Accountability Act requires HIPPA releases be signed before a third-party can access an individual’s healthcare records.

 

Protecting Your Rights

 

To protect your healthcare information, never sign a release provided by an insurance company without first speaking with an attorney. In most cases, you will be required to sign a release to settle your claim. But what insurance companies don’t tell you is you can limit the scope of the records they can access.

 

HIPPA releases must contain standard verbiage, but you can—and should—specify what records you are releasing. You should also specify what providers the insurance company can contact. Similarly, you should limit the time range from which the insurance company can pull the records.

 

What Records and From When?

 

In most cases, the insurance company will need medical records to corroborate the medical bills you submitted for compensation. For example, you would need to release records from the orthopedic surgeon who treated your broken bone. Conversely, you do not need to release records from treating a skin condition from years ago unless they are relevant. The fewer records you release, the harder it will be for the insurance company to find a reason to deny your claim.

 

Extra Precautions

 

On the other hand, you may need to release select records from a preexisting injury if the accident made it worse. In that case, the insurance company needs to determine your compensation for the injury the negligent person proximately caused.

 

Dealing with medical bills after an accident can be overwhelming, but Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

Filing an Insurance Claim for a Home Health Aide

Filing an Insurance Claim for a Home Health AideFollowing an accident or injury, many people need extra help caring for themselves. Some have family members who’re available to provide that support. But many need the assistance of a home health aide.

 

When You Need Extra Help

 

Health insurance sometimes covers the cost of home health aides, but you may have high co-pays or only be reimbursed for a portion of the expense. If you have a personal injury claim, you may be able to have insurance pay for the home health aide. If you need extra help while you recover, here’s what you should know about filing a claim for a home health aide.

 

Compensation for Your Losses

 

Personal injury claims can cover a variety of damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Medical bills can include anything from emergency room visits to therapy to the cost of orthotic devices. Generally speaking, if your doctor says you need a particular treatment or therapy to recover from your injuries, you can ask for compensation for those costs.

 

A home health aide is someone who comes to your home if you are unable to leave and helps you with things like therapy exercises, administering medications, and self-care.

 

Whether or not the insurance company will compensate you for the costs of a home health aide will depend on the extent of your injuries, the treatment regimen your doctor prescribed, and whether you need an aide to help you.

 

Insurance Claims

 

In some cases, insurance companies will pay for home health aides if it means they do not have to pay for you to be in an inpatient setting. The costs of a hospital room or inpatient rehabilitation clinic are far more than the cost of a home health aide. In others, the insurance company might fight such a claim to compensation if it believes you do not need an aide to follow your specific treatment regime.

 

If your auto insurance policy doesn’t cover a home health aide, speak with an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney. An attorney can explain your right to compensation and help you work with the insurance company to get you the help you need to recover.

 

If you’ve been in an accident, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Is Loss of Consortium?

What Is Loss of Consortium?Typically, personal injury claims are based on injuries the plaintiff sustained in an accident. Another kind of personal injury claim is based on the injury to the relationship between the plaintiff and his or her spouse. This is called a loss of consortium claim.

 

Loss of Consortium

 

Loss of consortium is the loss of benefits and enjoyment the surviving spouse had with his or her spouse. Surviving family members in wrongful death claims most commonly ask for this type of compensation. The surviving spouse can file a claim for the loss of support, companionship, society, and sexual relationship of the injured spouse.

 

Loss of Companionship

 

Such a claim can also be filed if the plaintiff survives but suffers catastrophic injuries that limit or otherwise permanently alter the relationship between plaintiff and spouse. A good example of this is if a spouse sustained complete paralysis and was no longer able to engage in the married relationship as he or she had before.

 

The Specifics of Filing a Claim

 

Loss of consortium is considered a general damage and not an economic one. The claim amount reflects the pain and suffering, shock, mental anguish, and emotional distress of the claimant.

 

To file a loss of consortium claim, the spouses must have been legally married at the time of the injury. An engaged or cohabiting relationship may not be enough to substantiate a loss of consortium claim.

 

The claim itself will be reduced by the comparative negligence (i.e., fault) of the injured spouse. For example, if the injured spouse were 25% at fault for the accident, the loss of consortium claim would be reduced by that percentage.

 

Work closely with an experienced personal injury attorney in Illinois if you have questions about loss of consortium claims. It can be difficult to successfully file a claim on your own. The claims process can be demanding of your time and energy. It may also require some emotionally difficult tasks, such as compiling documentation and evidence to substantiate the claim.

 

A compassionate attorney can walk you through the process step by step and help you submit a loss of consortium claim that reflects your suffering and fairly compensates you for your loss.

 

Getting the compensation you deserve shouldn’t be a battle, and Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer understands how you feel. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

 

 

 

Can An Attorney Get Me a Bigger Settlement?

Can An Attorney Get Me a Bigger Settlement?As a personal injury law firm, we get many calls from potential clients who want to know whether we can get them a bigger settlement. Indeed, this is one of the most common questions we are asked. The answer—not to disappoint you—is that it depends on the specific facts and circumstances of the case.

 

Getting What You Deserve

 

Many factors can influence your settlement amount. But, generally speaking, an attorney will be able to make those elements work in your favor for a maximum settlement. For smaller claims, an attorney might not have a lot of leverage to get you a bigger settlement. In claims involving moderate to severe injuries, lost time from work, or long-term disability, however, an attorney might be able to get you a bigger settlement using the following techniques.

 

Experience With Insurance

 

Personal injury attorneys have extensive experience working with insurance companies. You may have filed a few claims in your life, but only a personal injury attorney will have seen the gamut of moves an insurance company will make to deny claims. They know every trick in the book and know how to spot and stop them.

 

This benefit is priceless because too many claimants are taken advantage of by insurance adjusters who are merely doing their job by making the insurance company money. The tactics they use can be sneaky. Unfortunately, if the claimant unknowingly agrees to something or signs the wrong piece of documentation, he or she could forfeit all rights to compensation.

 

An Understanding of the Law

 

An attorney can use the law to your advantage. Illinois personal injury law is complex. A good attorney can find the areas of the law that can strengthen your claim and emphasize them. He or she can also make sure the law is not inappropriately applied to your case by a less than forthright insurance adjuster.

Picking the Right Strategy

 

An attorney will know when to settle and when to litigate. Not all claims settle out of court. Claims of high value or involving disputed liability or facts are sometimes less likely to settle. A good attorney will be able to make a wise judgment call on when to file suit. Likewise, an experienced attorney will be able to navigate the litigation process, which can be lengthy, convoluted, and demanding of your time.

 

What An Attorney Can Do

 

Consult with an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney if you have questions about the personal injury claims process. An honest attorney can tell you whether your case is worth their time and your money. Most personal injury attorneys charge on a contingency basis. This means they only collect a fee if you win your case. He or she can also provide you with information that can help you make the best decision on how to handle your claim.

 

If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

Facing Spinal Cord Injuries: Finding Your New Normal

Facing Spinal Cord Injuries: Finding Your New NormalSpinal cord injuries most commonly occur in motor vehicle accidents, sports accidents, swimming accidents, and falls. Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries can be life-changing and limit your ability to do the things you love. Following a spinal cord injury, you may have to find a new normal. This can be made easier by following these tips.

Life After Injury

When facing a spinal cord injury, it helps to work closely with your healthcare team. They will be able to best provide you with the information you need to recover and adjust. Make sure you understand your prognosis and have a clear picture of what to expect. Your doctors can help explain the process of recovery and beyond.

Also, work with therapists who can help you adjust to your new life. Spinal cord injuries can vary in severity and positioning. Injuries sustained in upper cervical nerves can cause complete loss of mobility while those occurring in lower nerves may not. It’s important to understand how your injury can affect you and work with therapists to address the specific issues you could face.

Know that you can find ways to enrich your life. The field of mobility adaptations is burgeoning due to technologies such as 3D printing, mechanical engineering, and gene therapy. Now more than ever, the fields of science and engineering are applying innovation to help people with life-altering injuries live fuller lives. Subscribe to trade magazines, and stay on top of research from your local university. Therapeutic advances are made every day.

Don’t forget to allow yourself time to grieve. If your life is forever changed because of loss of mobility or sensation, it’s normal to be sad. Give yourself space to become used to your new life—it may take some time—and work through the injury emotionally. You may need psychological therapy as well as physical therapy to cope.

Know How to Seek Compensation

It’s also important to know what you are up against when filing an insurance claim. Because spinal cord injuries can affect many areas of your life and cause permanent damage, you should work with an experienced Illinois spinal cord injury lawyer in your area. A lawyer will make sure your settlement accurately reflects your losses now and in the future. An attorney can also aggressively pursue your case in court if your claim is unable to settle to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Facing the aftermath of a spinal cord injury is hard enough; an attorney can help handle your claim so you can focus on recovery and find your new normal.

If you’ve been in an accident and want to understand your rights, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

How Are Lost Wages Calculated?

How Are Lost Wages Calculated?If someone else was at fault for your accident, you have a right to financial compensation. Among the damages you can claim, lost wages can be significant. If you get in an accident, you could miss work while you seek medical treatment and recover. You could also suffer lost wages if you are unable to return to work due to a severe injury or disablement. In these cases, many people wonder how they can calculate their lost wages and whether they are eligible for compensation.

Getting the Compensation You Deserve: Lost Wages

 

Various factors can influence how your lost wages are calculated. The most important of which is whether your doctor authorized you to stay home from work. If your doctor ordered you stay home from work, make sure you have a note. Without a note from your doctor, it can be very difficult to file a claim for lost wages.

 

Calculating Lost Wages

 

Once you have a doctor’s note in hand, you can calculate your lost wages. Keep in mind; you should not settle your insurance claim until you have healed to the extent that you can. You may need to wait until you are sure you can return to work before calculating your wages. Your lost wage calculation will depend on what kind wage you earn (e.g., hourly, salary) and whether you are missing out on additional earnings such as overtime or vacation time.

 

Getting Documentation

 

If you are an hourly employee, provide documentation for the hours you missed and the rate at which they would have been paid. Your employer or human resources manager can help provide this documentation. If you are a salaried employee and accrue benefits for hours worked, your approach will be a little different. You will need to calculate your hourly wage by dividing your salary by the hours you work each year and then multiply that amount by the hours you missed.

 

Importantly, you should not overlook earned benefits such as paid time off and pension benefits. Also, include loss of sales commission, bonuses, or raises you might have missed out on. Ask your employer for documentation of these lost earnings.

 

Getting the compensation you deserve shouldn’t be as hard as it can be. But when it comes to dealing with insurance companies, a good rule of thumb is to make sure you have documentation to back up every financial loss you claim. Also, be prepared to show a doctor’s note and medical records to justify your time missed from work. If you need help building a compelling argument for your lost wages claim, work with a knowledgeable Illinois personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can help you compile the documentation you need to make a strong claim for lost wages and make sure your Illinois personal injury claim accurately reflects your total financial loss.

 

If you need help getting the compensation you deserve, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

Health Insurance Refusing to Pay? Here’s What You Should Know About Subrogation

Health Insurance Refusing to Pay? Here’s What You Should Know About Subrogation

Who Pays First?

After treating injuries from an accident, many people receive a notice from their health insurance company stating it may or may not be responsible for paying your bill. Many people think their health insurance company is refusing to pay. In reality, the health insurance company is explaining their right to subrogated interest.

What Is Subrogation?

When faced with mounting medical bills and an uncooperative health insurance company, many people don’t know what to do. The fact is your health insurance company has a duty to pay your medical bills according to your policy. But your insurance company might have a claim to subrogated interest. This means that they might have a right to reimbursement after they pay your claims. You still have a right to compensation for your losses. Your compensation, however, could be reduced by the subrogation claim your health insurance company has.

How Subrogation Works

If your health insurance company paid for $5,000 of medical bills for treatments for your injuries sustained in an accident, and you received $10,000 compensation from the liable party’s insurance company, your health insurance company could be entitled to reimbursement for the $5,000 paid.

Further Complications

This is a simplified example used to illustrate how the transfer of the right to compensation works. Additional factors that can affect subrogation include the difference between what the provider billed and what the insurance company ultimately paid. Also, the specific language in your insurance policy can affect how subrogation laws are applied in your case. Expect further complications if you have Medicare or are receiving workers’ comp benefits, both of which handle subrogation rights a little differently.

Insurance claims can be complex, especially when there are multiple policies involved. To ensure your medical bills are paid and you receive fair compensation for your losses, work with an Arlington Heights personal injury attorney when handling your claim. A skilled attorney can review your insurance policies and those of the liable party. Then, he or she can determine whether your insurer has a right to compensation and explain how that can affect your settlement.

 

Dealing with medical bills after an accident can be overwhelming, but Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

 

If I’m Injured in an Accident, Who Pays for My Immediate Medical Bills?

If I’m Injured in an Accident, Who Pays for My Immediate Medical Bills?A main concern after an auto accident in Illinois is who will pay the medical bills. Who pays for what before liability is determined? Does your health insurer have a right to deny your claims? When you’re facing a $5,000 bill from the emergency room, these questions are first to come to mind.

How Insurance Claims Work

Contrary to popular belief, the other driver’s insurance doesn’t have to pay your bills when they are due, even if he or she were at fault for the accident. Insurance settlements are typically paid in one lump sum, determined after you have completed treatment. In most cases, you will have to pay your bills before they pay your claim. While this works—in part—to ensure the insurance company compensates you for all your damages, it means you could be on the hook for those bills in the meantime. Understandably, many people feel this is unfair.

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Knowing When to Settle and When to File Suit

Knowing When to Settle and When to File SuitFiling an insurance claim is like playing a game. And, when out on the field, it helps to know the playbook. Knowing when to settle your claim and when you should file suit is one of the most important strategies you can master. But choose your strategy wisely to ensure you receive fair compensation as soon as possible with as little expense as possible.

When to Settle

The majority of insurance claims are settled out of court. Typically, the parties involved—the plaintiff and the insurance company—can come to a settlement agreement. Reaching an agreement saves both the time and cost of litigation. Cases most likely to settle successfully are those where liability is clear, and the damages are undisputed. Likewise, low-value claims and those involving minor injuries are rarely worth the hassle of a trial.

When to File a Law Suit

You can face many barriers to settling an insurance claim. Sometimes it is necessary to file suit if you’ve tried to settle, but the insurance company will not offer fair compensation. Consider filing suit if the insurance company is denying liability, disputing your losses, or is firm on a lowball settlement offer. You can still attempt to settle after you commence litigation and before trial. Keep in mind you may or may not have the same bargaining power at that point.

A Note of Caution

The only good time to settle or file suit is after you’ve treated your injuries to the fullest extent. Once you receive compensation, you are responsible for all future medical bills, so make sure you have a good idea of your future expenses before you even think about resolving your case.

Playing the Game

Filing suit can be costly and involves the court. It can also significantly prolong your case. You should never file suit unless you cannot settle for fair compensation. Don’t let the insurance adjuster pressure you into signing a settlement agreement. If you don’t know whether you should file suit or try to settle in your case, speak with an attorney. Working with an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney can ensure you receive fair compensation, no matter the route you have to take.

 

If you’ve recently been injured and need help with your insurance claim, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

 

About the Firm


Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

About Ron

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