1981 W. Downer Place | Suite 401 | Aurora, Illinois 60506 (Kane County)

Speers, Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C. Recognized by Kane County Bar Foundation

Written by auroralaw on . Posted in Uncategorized

On February 20, 2016, the Kane County Bar Foundation honored Speers, Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C. with the 2016 Patron of the Year Award.  The award recognized the Aurora personal injury and commercial litigation firm for its support of the Kane County Bar Foundation and its service to the community.  The Kane County Bar Foundation was established in 1996 to assist members of the public in obtaining unrestricted access to legal programs and services necessary for the protection of individual rights and to preserve justice and safety for all residents of Kane County, Illinois.

Speers, Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C. has long been an active supporter of the Kane County Bar Foundation.  Over the years, the firm has contributed to the Foundation’s Endowment Fund, the Scholarship Fund, the Foundation’s, and other fundraising events.  Attorneys Julie Cibulskis and Kirsten Casas of Speers, Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C. have also served on the Kane County Bar Foundation Board.

The attorneys at Speers, Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C. have also provided pro bono legal services to the underrepresented and served in leadership roles in community organizations, including the Kane County Bar Association, Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, Friends of Child Advocacy, Hesed House and Prairie State Legal Services.  While volunteering their time and resources to give back to the community, Speers Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C. maintains a very successful legal practice that focuses on personal injury, wrongful death and business litigation matters.

The award was presented to Robert Speers and other members of the firm at the Kane County Bar Foundation Gala in Elgin.  Since 1972, the attorneys at Speers, Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C. have proudly represented the legal needs of Northern Illinois residents and businesses. 

Reimbursements for Paid Medical Bills Involving Your Personal Injury Case

Written by auroralaw on . Posted in Uncategorized

Authors: Julie L. Cibulskis and Timothy J. Reuland

Last month’s blog discussed several ways to handle the payment of your medical bills if you are injured in an accident.  If your medical bills are paid through health insurance, automobile insurance or a government program, the insurance company or government program may have a right to reimbursement.

Almost every health insurance policy, and certainly Medicare and other governmental-aid regulations, require that an injured person who receives a recovery must repay the health insurer or the government program the amount paid to satisfy the bills of medical providers.  That is, generally speaking, out of any settlement or court judgment an injured person obtains, health insurers or governmental programs are reimbursed the amounts those insurers or programs paid to cover the injured person’s medical bills.  This process is provided for by the “subrogation” clause in health insurance policies or by government regulation.  If you are injured due to someone else’s fault, your health insurance company may send you a questionnaire asking for details about the occurrence, your injuries, who was at fault, other available insurance, and whether you have hired an attorney.  This form allows your insurance company to determine whether it is responsible for the payment of your medical bills, and if so, whether it is entitled to reimbursement for any payments made on your behalf.

Why Use Insurance?

So, you may ask, if I am going to have to repay my insurance carrier or the government anyway, why bother to submit the bills to my own health insurance provider?  The answer: money.  In most cases, the amount required to repay your health insurance carrier or the government is less than the amount necessary to pay the full amount billed by the hospital, doctor, or medical provider.  This is because the medical providers usually accept less than the “face value” of the bill from health insurers or government programs.  Health insurers often have contracts with providers specifying what the providers will be paid for certain services and procedures.  Medicare and Medicaid have similar stipulations.  The amount that the injured person has to repay is based on the usually lower amounts that the health insurers and government programs pay, not the higher amounts originally billed by the hospitals and other medical providers.  Practically speaking then, the injured person is usually better off having their own health insurance carrier or government program satisfy the bills. 

Notice of Lien

If you do not have insurance coverage for your medical bills, some medical providers may also send a Notice of Lien in order to get paid from your settlement.  The lien, which can be sent to the defendant, the defendant’s attorney and the plaintiff’s attorney, can include the amount of reasonable charges for services rendered.   These liens are authorized by the Health Care Services Lien Act, 770 ILCS 23/1.  The lien is one method used by medical providers to collect outstanding bills.  Medical providers may choose to hire a collection firm, file a lawsuit or negotiate a payment plan.   

Even when you have insurance coverage for your medical treatment, some providers may still send a Notice of Lien, instead of submitting your medical bills to insurance.  For example, when certain hospitals become aware that they are providing treatment because of an accident for which someone other than their patient might be responsible, some hospitals refuse to submit the bill to an insurance company.  Instead, they will mail a Notice of Lien to the responsible party, that party’s insurance company, and the patient.  Some medical providers take this approach thinking that, if they submit their bill to a health insurance company or to a government program like Medicare, they will be forced to take a deep discount on their bill (because of their contract with the health insurance carrier or Medicare regulations).  Rather than suffer that discount, these medical providers hope to be able to recover 100% of their bill by waiting and claiming a lien on any recovery the injured person eventually makes.  These providers think: better 100% later, than a deep discount now.

 

The issue of liens and subrogation rights is often difficult to fully understand.  The attorneys at Speers, Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C. have extensive experience with liens and regularly negotiate liens to maximize the recovery for our injured clients.  If you have been injured and received a lien from a medical provider or insurance company, contact one of the lawyers at Speers, Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C. to discuss any questions you have about your case.    

 

If I Am Hurt in an Accident, How Do I Get My Medical Bills Paid?

Written by auroralaw on . Posted in Uncategorized

Author: Timothy J. Reuland

The personal injury attorneys at Speers, Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C. frequently receive calls from people who have been in accidents and wonder how their medical bills will get paid?  People often feel that the person responsible for the accident should be responsible for the bills.  That feeling is generally consistent with the law, but it ignores a practical problem: the other person is not legally responsible until a court or jury says so, or until that person or his or her insurance company agrees to be responsible.  Neither of those is likely to happen before the hospitals and doctors start pressing for payment.  So, what’s the injured person to do?

In many, but not all situations, the injured person should tell the hospitals, doctors, and other medical service providers to submit the bills to the injured person’s own insurance provider (health insurance carrier, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.), just as if the bills were for an illness, rather than for accident-related injuries.  This suggestion is contrary to the feeling that “I’m not the wrongdoer here. Why should my insurance have to pay for this?” But, getting medical bills promptly paid avoids some potentially big problems.  Those problems include unpleasant calls from collection agencies.  More importantly for an injured person’s well-being (and even for their legal case), prompt payment encourages medical providers to continue to provide care and treatment.  You don’t want doctors to stop treating you because the doctors are not getting paid.  That can happen, and when it does, it can be bad for the injured person both medically and legally.  So, most often, our advice to an injured person is to promptly submit all medical bills to your health insurer.

Some medical providers refuse to let that happen.  For example, some hospitals refuse to submit their bill to an insurance company if someone other than their patient might be responsible for the medical treatment.  Instead, they will mail a “Lien Notice” to the possibly responsible party, that party’s insurance company, and the patient.  Some medical providers take this approach thinking that, if they submit their bill to a health insurance company or to a government program like Medicare, they will be forced to take a deep discount on their bill (because of their contract with the health insurance carrier or Medicare regulations).  Rather than suffer that discount, these medical providers hope to be able to recover 100% of their bill by waiting and claiming a lien on any recovery the injured person eventually makes.  These providers think:  better 100% later, than a deep discount now. 

What if I Don’t Have Health Insurance?

What if you do not have health insurance or if your health insurance denies coverage of your medical treatment?  If you were injured in a motor vehicle crash, you may want to submit your medical bills to your automobile insurance company.  Many automobile insurance policies include medical payment coverage which will pay medical bills up to the limits stated in your policy.  Your insurance agent or insurance company can inform you of the amount of medical payment coverage available to you.  Some homeowner’s insurance policies also provide medical payment coverage for injuries that occur at someone’s house or business.

Finally, some hospitals provide financial assistance programs to patients who have difficult paying medical bills.  This is often the case with not-for-profit medical providers.  These medical providers may request that you complete an application to determine whether you qualify for free or discounted medical services.  Many medical providers are also willing to set up a payment plan for patients with no insurance coverage.

The “bottom line” is that people should generally take advantage of insurance, particularly the insurance most readily available to them, before expecting the at-fault party to take care of their bills.  If you were hurt at work or on the job, different advice is most likely appropriate. And, there could be something unusual about your particular case that makes the bottom line advice different for you.  The safest course for any injured person is to talk to a lawyer at Speers, Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C. who is knowledgeable in personal injury law and can advise you what is best for your particular circumstances.

 

What to Do If You Have Been Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident

Written by auroralaw on . Posted in Uncategorized

Author: Keith A. Johnson

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be a traumatic event. You may wonder what steps you should take after an accident to protect your interests. Here are some suggestions:

  • Call the police so that the accident is documented.
  • Obtain the license plate number of the other vehicle.
  • Obtain the name, address, and phone number of the other driver.
  • Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
  • Obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses.
  • Do not discuss the details of the accident with anyone except the investigating police officer and your own insurance company.
  • Do not admit fault. Such statements could be used against you at a later time.
  • Take photographs to document any damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle.
  • Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to report the accident. The phone number of your agent is typically listed on your insurance card.
  • Contact, or have your insurance agent contact, the other driver’s insurance company to make sure that company is aware of the accident.
  • Do not give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. Refer the claims adjuster to your insurance company or an attorney if you have one.
  • Be careful with what you post on social media. Keep in mind that photographs and other information posted on social media may be accessible by the entire world. Please also see the blog entry “How Social Media Can Impact Your Case”, dated January 7, 2016, for helpful tips regarding social media when you have a legal claim.

If you are injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident:

  • Promptly seek medical attention and follow the treatment recommendations of your medical providers.
  • Take photographs to document your injuries.
  • Although your medical providers may want to put a “lien” on your injury claim and seek to get paid out of any monetary recovery in your injury case, in most circumstances you will be better off financially to insist that your medical providers submit your medical bills to your health insurance company, your government benefits program, or your automobile insurance company if your auto policy has medical payments coverage.
  • Keep a copy of your medical bills (hospital, doctor, therapy, prescriptions, etc.). Also keep records of any other expenses you may have related to the accident.
  • Keep a record of any time missed from work.
  • Contact Speers, Reuland & Cibulskis to consult with an attorney who handles personal injury cases so that you can be informed about your rights and compensation that you may be entitled to under the law. You may be entitled to compensation for items including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, disability/loss of a normal life, disfigurement, and property damage.
  • Keep in mind that injury claims in Illinois are subject to time deadlines.

Keeping these suggestions in mind will help make sure that your interests are protected if you have been in a motor vehicle accident.

 

 

 

How Social Media Can Impact Your Case

Written by auroralaw on . Posted in Uncategorized

Author: Julie Cibulskis

Social media allows people to interact over the internet with people who share interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections. The number of social networking websites and apps are too numerous to list but include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. A new app or website is created nearly everyday that provides social networking opportunities. With the prevalence of smartphones and computers, the popularity of social networking has skyrocketed over recent years. More than 50% of American adults use social networking services.

Be Mindful of What You Post

Social media has many potential benefits. It is a great way to enhance personal relationships by allowing you to connect with friends and family around the world. Social media provides business benefits such as finding job opportunities, marketing yourself, and enhancing business contacts. Social media is also a great way to access news about things that are important to you.

What you may not realize is that social media can also influence your legal claims. When you use social media, you should know that it may be accessible by the entire world, including the opposing attorney, insurance companies and jurors.

Protect Yourself

The use of social media can dramatically influence your legal claims. Here are some helpful tips regarding social media to protect your case.

  • Adjust your privacy settings to prevent unknown viewers from seeing your account;
  • Do not accept invitations from people you do not know;
  • Assume that everything you post, private and public, will be subpoenaed by the opposition;
  • Avoid posting anything about your case, including information about the occurrence and your injuries;
  • Do not post photographs of yourself that are inconsistent with your case and monitor any photographs friends and family post of you;
  • Do not make any references to your financial status;
  • Assume that your case will be decided by a diverse jury with differing ethnic, social, political and religious backgrounds;
  • Deleting information on social media may result in sanctions, so obtain legal advice before removing anything from your accounts.

Keeping these simple tips in mind may protect your legal claims and help your obtain the compensation you deserve.

 

 

Speers, Reuland & Cibulskis PC is located in Aurora, Illinois and serves clients in and around Sugar Grove, Batavia, Elburn, North Aurora, Mooseheart, Elgin, Joliet, Bristol, Big Rock, Wasco, Saint Charles, Maple Park, Montgomery, Naperville, Oswego, Plano, Sycamore, Virgil, Warrenville, Geneva, Yorkville, Winfield, Wheaton, Kane, DuPage, Cook, DeKalb, Will, McHenry, Ogle, Lee and Kendall County.

Contact

Speers Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C.

1981 W. Downer Place Suite 401 Aurora, Illinois 60506
(Kane County)

Phone: 630-264-2626
Fax: 630.264.2727 help@auroralawfirm.com
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