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T-bone Car Accident in Santa Maria: Hospital Tries to Collect More Than They are Owed

$15,000 (Policy Limits)

The Jurewitz Law Group helped a man in his 30's who was t-boned by a driver that ran a red light, in Santa Maria, California. The force of the impact was so significant that our client’s vehicle was totaled.

Immediately after the accident, our client began experiencing pain in his neck, back, and left shoulder. He also developed a severe headache. He went to Arroyo Grande Community Hospital to get evaluated. He was examined and diagnosed with a mild concussion, as well as a cervical strain and left shoulder strain. The concussion subsided, but his neck, back, and shoulder pain did not. Upon returning to San Diego, he completed a course of chiropractic care to treat his injuries.

Once our client finished his treatment, the Jurewitz Law Group submitted a demand letter on his behalf. Due to the hospital visit, his medical bills were around $8,000--$12,000 of which was a bill from his emergency room visit. Unfortunately, the other driver involved in the accident only had the minimum amount of insurance required under California law of $15,000 for each party injured in the accident, up to a total of $30,000. Therefore, we were limited to $15,000, which we recovered for him.

Once the case settled, we negotiated our client’s medical bills, in an ongoing effort to maximize his recovery. The hospital, who had already been paid at a reduced rate per its contract with our client’s insurance company, tried to assert a lien on our client’s recovery, asserting that they were still owed the balance of the bill--an additional $5,500. In California, a hospital cannot seek to recover the balance of the bill from a personal injury settlement, unless it was stated in their contract with the patient’s insurance company. Therefore, we requested a copy of the contract. Based on our experience, we knew that most contracts do not provide for balance billing. As expected, Arroyo Grande Hospital said they could not locate the contact between the hospital and insurance company and therefore withdrew their lien. This saved our client $5,500, which ended up in his pocket, rather than the hospital’s.

Recovery: $15,000 (policy limits)

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