"Billed vs. Paid" Becomes Law in North Carolina on October 1st, 2011
Ken Hardison says North Carolina accident victims will soon need to disclose the amount of medical expenses paid by their health insurer when negotiating and litigating tort claims.
The new law, House Bill 542, takes effect October 1. It has been called by some the “billed vs. paid law.”
Ken Hardison, who has a record of recovering substantial awards for plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits throughout North Carolina, says the new law likely will lead insurance companies to argue that accident victims and their families should be limited to recovering only the amount of their out-of-pocket medical expenses.
“Our law firm opposed the law before it was passed because we believe it gives an unfair advantage to insurance companies, and it essentially gives them a discount if an accident victim has been paying for health coverage,” said Hardison, whose personal injury law firm, Hardison & Cochran, Attorneys at Law, represents those who have been harmed by the negligent and reckless acts of others.
“Now that the law is set to take effect, what’s important is to seek a skilled and experienced lawyer to protect your rights and interests if you have a claim against a person or company that has wronged you,” Hardison said.
“For instance, our law firm has a long history of working with insurance companies. We know how they operate, and we know that they will do everything they can to minimize the amount they pay out in a settlement or verdict. We can level the playing field.”
In the past, North Carolina accident victims and families of those killed in an accident needed to disclose only the billed amount for their medical expenses when they sought compensation through a personal injury or wrongful death claim. They did not need to reveal how much they paid versus how much of the medical bill was paid by their health insurance providers.
However, starting October 1, the plaintiffs in civil cases will now need to disclose the amounts paid through their healthcare coverage.
Ben Cochran, Hardison & Cochran’s managing partner, pointed out that in addition to the “billed vs. paid law,” North Carolina is also one of the few states in the country that follows the law of pure contributory negligence.
Under this law, any North Carolina car, truck, motorcycle or other accident victim may be barred from recovering anything in a lawsuit if they are found to be as little as 1 percent at fault for causing their injuries.
“When you consider the many advantages that insurance companies have in North Carolina, it becomes clear that you need an aggressive advocate by your side who will stick up for you against these companies,” Cochran said. “That means fighting for a fair and reasonable recovery through a settlement and, if necessary, through a jury trial.”
Ken Hardison pointed out that, in addition to medical expenses, North Carolina negligence victims and their families may be able recover other expenses, including lost past and future income and compensation for pain and suffering.
“At our law firm, we examine the entire case and work hard to ensure that our clients receive the full amount of funds they are entitled to receive,” he said. “This new law won’t change our approach to protecting our clients.”