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Answers To Commonly Asked Personal Injury Questions

As a personal injury lawyer with nearly three decades of legal experience, clients often come to me with a long list of questions and concerns. On this page, I’ve provided answers to some of the more common questions I receive. After reading, you can contact The Law Office of Jeena R. Belil, PC, to get your own questions answered in a free consultation.

I received a letter from the insurance company demanding I testify under oath at an examination. What now?

After you submit a bill, your patient’s no-fault insurance company may be entitled to examine you under oath. Called “Examination Under Oath” or EUO, this process involves intensive questioning regarding your billing and treatment provided to your patient.

Insurance companies undertake exhaustive investigations when faced with the prospect of having to pay significant sums of money, particularly under the no-fault portion of your patient’s insurance policy. This includes an EUO. The legal justification for an EUO can be found in the language of most insurance policies. Any failure to comply with an EUO demand is considered a material breach of contract and almost always leads to a claim denial. Since you, as the provider, have taken an assignment of benefits in order to bill the insurance company for your treatment, you have taken all of the patient’s rights and obligations under the policy, including the obligation to appear at an Examination Under Oath.

Case law has provided some guidelines on what to do when you receive a demand for an examination under oath. The first thing you should do is contact your New York no-fault lawyer so that he or she can review the demand letter. The No-Fault Regulation mandates that specific language must be contained within the letter and if it is not there, the demand is invalid. Your lawyer will be able to determine whether the demand is in compliance with the New York no-fault regulation.

If you are unable to attend the examination on the date the insurer has scheduled, let your lawyer know so that they can contact the carrier and reschedule at a time and place that are reasonable for you.

The letter will most likely demand that you produce records prior to the EUO. Current court decisions have stated that you do not have to provide these records. However, it is a good idea to review your patient file and provide a complete copy to your lawyer to review as well. Your lawyer should contact you to discuss your concerns and what to expect at an examination under oath.

It is important to have your lawyer attend the examination under oath with you. Although they cannot object to you answering a question, they are there to listen to the questions being asked and to clarify them. Sometimes the questions are vague or not asked in a way for you to answer meaningfully. My job is to make sure you understand what is being asked of you.

Make sure you keep a record of your mileage to and from the place of the EUO and of your lost business for the date/s you are testifying. You are entitled to receive reasonable reimbursement for your time spent as long as you have the proper documentation to supply to the insurance company.

What can I do if the no-fault carrier fails to pay my bills or sends me a denial of benefits?

If you do not receive your benefits, you have the right to dispute any refusal to pay or denial of claim by submitting a demand for arbitration to the American Arbitration Association. It is recommended that you submit all insurance company denials to your attorney. A lawyer with experience in no-fault litigation can review these denials and advise you whether they should be arbitrated.

How long can I expect to wait before the insurance company pays me the money they owe me?

The law provides that the no-fault carrier has up to 30 calendar days to pay or deny a claim from the date they receive all of the information needed to make a decision. The carrier can delay the payment or denial of a claim if they have followed strict timelines and sent appropriate notification to you that they are delaying the claim pending receipt of more information.

What happens if the no-fault carrier schedules me for medical examinations?

The no-fault insurance company has the legal right to request that you attend one or more Medical Examinations (Commonly referred to as IMEs). You and your attorney, if you have retained one, will receive a letter giving notice of the date, time and place of the medical examination(s). You may postpone the first round of scheduled appointments however, you should not miss the rescheduled examinations, as your benefits may be denied back to the date of the accident. In most cases, after conducting the medical examination, the doctors will advise the no-fault insurance company that it is no longer medically necessary for you to continue any therapy or require household help. Based upon this medical evaluation, the insurance company will deny further benefits.

What will the no-fault carrier pay if the accident results in death?

The no-fault insurance company is required to pay what is called a death benefit in the amount of $2,000.00. You must provide the no-fault carrier with a copy of the death certificate and advise them of the name of the person who has been appointed to handle the deceased person’s estate.

Who will pay me if I am not able to work after the disability payments run out (after 26 weeks)?

The no-fault insurance company will continue to pay lost earnings up to three years from the date of the accident as long as your doctor has said that you are unable to work because of your injury from this accident or until you have exhausted $50,000 in combined lost earnings and medical payments. The no-fault insurance carrier can request proof of your disability every 30 days and may stop paying your lost earnings if their doctor examines you and finds that you are no longer disabled.

Who will pay me for the first week I am unable to work?

The no-fault insurance carrier will pay you for the first week you are disabled from working.

How long will New York State Disability pay me if I am unable to work?

Disability will pay you for 26 weeks assuming you can prove your disability and it is verified by your doctor and employer (not including the 1st week you are disabled).

How do I get reimbursed for my lost earnings from work?

You must submit a written claim for work loss benefits to the insurance company no later than 90 days after the work loss commences. Failure to so do could result in a denial of coverage by the insurance carrier for failure to comply with policy conditions.

Your employer must fill out an Employer’s Wage Verification Report. In addition, your health care provider must fill out a Verification of Attending Physician stating you are unable to work because of your injury from the accident. Both of these forms must be timely mailed to the no-fault insurance carrier.

Note: If you are self-employed, you must fill out a form called a Verification of Self-Employment Income. You must submit this form to the no-fault insurance company along with copies of your previous two years income tax returns.

How do I get reimbursed for travel expenses, household help and prescriptions?

You must collect bills or receipts and submit them to the carrier within 45 days of the travel or service. Failure to do so could result in a denial of benefits by the insurance carrier for failure to comply with policy conditions. Make sure you indicate the claim number on all of your documentation. Do not allow any of the providers of transportation, household help or prescriptions to make these claims on your behalf.

You may wish to have an attorney assist you in filling out the forms required and providing the no-fault insurance company with supporting documentation.

Travel Expenses:
The insurance carrier will reimburse you for travel expenses to and from your health care provider whether it is by ambulette, cab, car service, bus or train. If you drive, the insurance company will reimburse you for your mileage to and from your medical provider. You must indicate the name of the medical provider, the date of the office visit and the number of round-trip miles. At present, the IRS has set the reimbursement rate for medical transportation at .19¢ per mile. Your mileage reimbursement rate will increase to .27¢ per mile as of July 1, 2008. Use the attached mileage form below to submit your medical travel expense information to the insurance company.

Household Help:
The no-fault carrier will pay for someone to assist with household chores you are unable to perform as a result of your injuries. Your doctor must provide you with a letter stating the household help is medically necessary. In addition, you must submit a letter signed by you and by the person who is providing the household help, indicating the dates this person has assisted you and what they did. Use the attached household help form to submit to the insurance company.

Before you submit the copies of your prescription receipts to the no-fault carrier, write the name of the doctor who prescribed the medicine, the name of the medication and your claim number on the receipt. Prescription receipts must be timely submitted to no-fault carrier to receive reimbursement. Use the attached prescription claim form to submit to the insurance company.

The no-fault carrier is only required to pay a total of $25.00 per day for travel expenses and household help combined for a period of one year from the date of the accident, provided that the proper documentation was been submitted to the no-fault carrier.

How do my health care providers get paid?

Let your medical care provider know that your injuries were caused by an automobile accident. You will be asked to provide the no-fault insurance information to them and they will provide you with an ASSIGNMENT OF BENEFITS FORM for you to sign. As a result, they will be able to submit their bills directly to the no-fault insurance company, and you will have one less thing to worry about.

How do I apply for my no-fault benefits?

A no-fault application must be filed with the no-fault carrier within 30 days of the date of the accident. After the accident, immediately request a no-fault application from your insurance company. You will be given a claim number, the name and address of a claim representative to whom you or your medical provider can send documents.

How do I know if I am eligible to receive no-fault benefits?

Anyone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident, struck by a car or injured in some way by the use or operation of a motor vehicle is an “eligible injured person” and will be covered by no-fault. Coverage does not apply to people operating or passengers on a motorcycle but does apply to pedestrians hit by a motorcycle or motor vehicle.

Reach Out Today For Answers To Your Own Questions

With offices in Hauppauge and Riverhead, New York, The Law Office of Jeena R. Belil, PC, serves clients on Long Island. To ask your own questions during a free initial consultation, contact me online or call 631-990-3235.