Where To Go If I Don't Have Health Insurance?

I wanted to talk to you about a question that is essential. The question is, if I was hurt at work, where should I go for medical treatment? what if I don't have health insurance? where can I go?  The two obvious answers to that are below.

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Company Doctor

First, let the company direct your health care. In other words, they need to send you to their doctor and get you treated. You already know that from reading one of the other articles that it's probably a bad idea to be treated by the company doctor for reasons that we talked about in that other article. The easy move to do is to go to the company doctor, especially if you don't have health insurance. And if you're off work because you got hurt at work, you don't have any money coming in. Why would you possibly want to go spend money on a doctor? It's a real concern.

Fee Schedule

Second, the good news is that, the Illinois workers comp laws set up something called a fee schedule. That is what doctors can charge for treating injured workers. And this is often more generous than what private health insurance pays. So the fee schedule under workers' comp is at least comparable with, for example, Blue Cross Blue Shield would pay.

It turns out that, in a different kind of injury case like a car crash or a fall down, it may be hard to find a doctor willing to treat you. Unlike in workers comp, the doctors know that their medical care is very likely to be covered at a perfect rate. If a doctor charges him $1,000, Blue Cross Blue Shield may pay 400 but the Illinois fee schedule might pay 500. And that means the doctor ends up with more money in his or her pocket.

You Have Options

It's actually quite easy to find a good doctor almost anywhere if you've been hurt in a workers comp case. I would say pick somewhere close to your house or ask friends and family for a suggestion and it is very likely that the doctor they see as soon as they know that it's a work injury case they're going to be pleased to see you. You do have options and you're not stuck with the company doctor. I hope that information helps you.

Now, what are case costs?

Well, while the case is going on the lawyer must pay to order your medical records, pay to order a police report. We might need to consult a doctor, and get a doctor to write a report for us or a liability expert like a structural engineer or an architect—like that all those things are case costs that the lawyer pays out of his or her pocket. The way it works is if you win the case, the lawyer gets paid back just the amount of money that he or she advanced to push your case forward. Because after all, if we need a doctor to prove your case, we have to pay the doctor to come in and be a witness. We can't really proof your case without ordering the medical records for example so those are costs that are like things that we have to spend money on and you only pay the lawyer back the case costs that they incur.

In my office, I'm very tight with case costs. I don't spend money on unnecessary things, I've seen some law firms that spend thousands and thousands of dollars on stuff that I think is pretty much not necessary. I keep my case costs very low because my goal is to put as much money in my clients pocket not in an investigator, or God knows, what else people spend money on. So, I'm very tight, I only spend the money I absolutely have, technically you owe the lawyer to be paid back whether you win the case or lose the case.

But, this is what I'll tell you, it is common practice that if the case goes south you don't pay the money back, like in my office I don't think I've ever asked a client for case costs even if the case goes south. Even if you know, I withdraw on the case or you know we go to court and we lose which virtually never happens, but it's always a risk. I don't think I've ever ever asked a client for a penny of money, either while the case was pending or afterwards, it all just comes out of the settlement. So, case costs are definitely set separate from the attorney's fee, but they're really nothing to worry about at my office and in most reputable lawyers offices, most reputable lawyers write off it, case cost is a business loss if the case doesn't result in a recovery for the injured person.

I hope this clarifies the difference between case costs and legal fees. I'm happy to talk to you, you can reach out to me if you have any question, give me a call 312-500-4500.

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