Academy of Chiropractic
Quickie Podcast 1311
Clinical Information 302 CI
Preamble: Many of the issues I bring to you are very small, yet each issue is just that, an issue. If you take care of the small issues, then you will be able to build and more importantly, focus on the bigger issues...a larger practice and more family time. -Mark Studin 2006
New Procedures in Settlement Negotiations
Dr. Studin: I am here with Dr. Bob Conte from Hackensack, New Jersey. And Bob was one of those COVID survivors from the early days when it took your life and he made it and now he's skinny and I hate him. So let's talk about that when you work at what we're doing is we're making some significant changes of what we request to. When I say we are making significant changes, when we request liens amount from lawyers. So typically to you, you send your bills out to the lawyer and then they send you an offer?
Guest: In my experience and this, I think I'm one of the more fortunate people, because when I send a bill, a final bill to the patient, or to the lawyer rather, you know, we already had the lien form signed. So basically I extend the courtesy of waiting until settlement of the case to get paid the lien. And in, you know, it's my policy not to negotiate my bill. It says it is what it is. And, you know, and especially with me, because of not wanting to waive deductibles or copays, you know, in a situation, I just demand the full amount of the bill. Now, in my career, maybe 10 times it didn't work out. But other than that, the attorneys that I'm working with currently, they understand that and I get paid.
Dr. Studin: So you're a little bit different than the average person
Guest: I know. And a lot of guys have trouble out there. I hear the stories all the time. Well they're spending their bills and the new guys are always negotiating. It's always, let's make a deal and that's not the way it should be.
Dr. Studin: Well, it shouldn't be, but it is. You're the exception. And it's predominantly because of your credentials and your ability to communicate that. Now, with respect to that, especially the time that the sign of the times, lawyers are being beat up more and where my recommendation is if a lawyer either asks you for your bill, a copy of your bills, which you should be sending on a regular basis, or makes an offer that my answer to them is always prior to negotiating settlement with you. And we stick with the formula, but we never take more than one third of the case. If you want us to reduce our fee, whatever percentage you reduce, your fee, we'll reduce hours.
Guest: The whole point, you know, I always ask, even on the cases that I have done this, you know, if they won't tell me how much the settlement amount was, first of all, I say, well, you know, first of all, what was the settlement amount? And if they got a hundred thousand dollars in it, they're trying to take 2000, $3,000 off my bill. That's not going to happen,
Dr. Studin: Let’s stop for that thought for one second. This is what this whole thing is sense of what you, what scumbag lawyers are doing. Apparently not the ones you're working, maybe one or two. Um, but what they're doing is they're saying we got $10,000 or $5,000 in the third party settlement. What they're not telling you is U M U I M, and other forms of payment. I'll let you know what you, I mean, you IMR. Yes. Sure. Can you explain that to our audience and your words So maybe my words didn't sink in
Guest: the U M portion is the uninsured motor is portion of the policy, correct?
Dr. Studin: Yeah. Can you explain that?
Guest: Well, you know, if the patient, well, if another party doesn't have full insurance, then the uninsured motorist portion of the policy, and then even in your policy, what is in your policy, it will pick up the, you know, the difference or whatever your policy limit is. Okay. You may have one guy may only have a $30,000 policy or a $15,000 policy. But if your UIM coverage is higher, you can get, uh, up to the limit of your policy.
Dr. Studin: Well, that's, you just explained underinsured, motorists, you, I M right on uninsured. Motorist is someone, look, they're not working. It's COVID, you know, they're out of work, their unemployment benefits dried up, you know, the federal government lowered their payment amount. They can't afford anything. So what's an easy way to just put food on your table. A roof over your head is just, don't pay your car insurance.
Guest: And in that case, in New Jersey, if they don't have car insurance, if you're in an accident when someone doesn't have a car insurance, we have the [inaudible] fund, which in New Jersey, that is it. If a person doesn't have insurance that they're eligible to for the state benefit of which it pays up to $250,000, that's a benefit.
Dr. Studin: Well, that's important because if you're not in New Jersey, you have to call the department of insurance and to find out if your, if your patient, or if your patient's in an accident with someone who's not insured, is there a special fund or program for that.
Guest: Right. And in New Jersey, fortunately, there is, yes, there are qualifications. And, you know, lately, they used to be kind of free and easy with that. But lately they are really nitpicking. And a lot of patients that normally would have been eligible, they're saying are not eligible. So it's been harder to collect that money.
Dr. Studin: Here's the issue with lawyers when negotiating and in a trance, and you write to a lawyer and never verbal, never, always in writing. And you say in a posture of transparency, please tell me the settlement amount, which includes third party, uninsured motorist, or underinsured motorist, and any other form of payment towards this accident.
Guest: And that's an excellent way to go about it.
Dr. Studin: Yeah. And the reason is, say your car ran into a building, well, you might have the homeowner's insurance, or that might be a commercial policy there. And the lawyer will say, typically the scumbag mortar will say, we only got 5003rd party insurance. Your bill was 4,000. We have to cut you down to 750 bucks, the lawyer's not fully disclosing the total amount that they got. They might be sitting on $200,000, and it's funny, but you said, upfront, the lawyer will get a thousand, a hundred thousand dollars, and still try to cut your bill down $2,000, because that's the nature of some scumbag lawyers. And I keep saying that, and it's not all of them, but as it's getting, especially now during COVID, and I don't think this is going to ever end, the carriers are squeezing the attorneys
Guest: because they can, because they know they got them for now.
Dr. Studin: They got them because the lawyers have to pay brick and mortar, and they can't drive the court.
Guest: Their money is drying up, and they're willing to make deals that they would have made before, because the money is drying up
Dr. Studin: and the craft rolls down. It's amazing. The trickle down effect doesn't work when the rich have a lot of money, but the trickle down effect works. When the rich don't have a lot of money, which is the lawyer, who's cash rich on the case, and they don't have it. And it trickles down to you by screwing you to. So you've got to ask the question, what is your settlement amount? I need to know your total settlement amount, which includes third party but not, which includes third party, uninsured motorist, or underinsured, modus, and any other form of settlement for this particular case, you must put it writing you, you can email it, but you have to check off that box, which is read receipts. You know, where that is in your computer buff.
Guest: Yes, I actually, my wife does.
Dr. Studin: Okay. That's good. Because in every single platform, whether it be a Google Gmail, whether it be Microsoft, uh, you could just find out where a read receipt. When the person reading it, opens it up, you get a notification, they read it, or, well, I should say not the word, but and I would also fax it with a fax back receipt right now, everything is internet fax. So you pull a fax back receipt. That's really important. And by the way, if you're faxing, I would urge you not to use the old paper fax forms. We have shoved paper in there, get an internet fax program that is HIPAA compliant. They make HIPAA compliant fax device, and they're all saved on your computer. You get verification of everything. Um, and that's just another biggie that was there anything you want to answer this? Because I think we pretty much covered it
Guest: in New Jersey. And just, and again, I know a lot of your clients are not in New Jersey, but in New Jersey, we have another kind of remedy when an attorney refuses to pay our bill. And that is if we had a patient sign, a lien form, there was a decision years ago called Berkowitz versus Haygood. And it's a decision in New Jersey that if the attorney does not honor the lien, then he is personally responsible to pay the bill. And I've, I've enforced this three times in my career. You know, usually my threatened them with it. They pay me, but there were three times when they refused and we use this precedent and we got paid. So yeah, in New Jersey, you got them by the, you know, the, you know, what you got them by. If you have a signed lien form and the PA and the attorney refuses to pay your bill as agreed, then you can, you can go after him. And he has to personally pay it.
Dr. Studin: Well, the interesting you say, there's a couple of things we have on the consulting side, section 15 forms and templates, the fifth one down assignment of rights and benefits. You must have your patient sign that form because it also gives you, gives you the doctor the irrevocable rights, but the key word is, or a vocable to receive information from the lawyer and carriers, but specifically the lawyer germane to this conversation to get this information, without that signature on that paragraph ethically, a lawyer cannot release the information to you got nothing. On that form. I also urge you to take a staff member, not you, any staff member. It could be a family member, a no- family member and make them a notary public, have them notarize that form. It's just an extra layer of legal protection.
Guest: I have, I do have a staff member. That's an notary.
Dr. Studin: and have them notarize every single one of those assignments. Fonzie use my assignment of rights and benefits
Guest: I use, actually I use a blend. I used a part of yours, and I use part of the one that I used to use when I think it's pretty good,
Dr. Studin: Well make sure that paragraph is
Guest: I'm going to reread it though, because I want to, I want to see exactly what the paragraph says and I would
Dr. Studin: and by the way, just so that, you know, um, uh, Dan Rosner helped me write that document. So, that really works for New Jersey, but it works for the rest of the country as well. Um, I've not had any pushback if we're using it for two years now, I've had zero pushback from any state on that document, because it's concise. It's got everything and make sure you put it on your letterhead and make sure you get notarized with every single patient.
Guest: Okay. Absolutely.
Dr. Studin: thank you so much as always.
Guest: Mark. It's always my pleasure to talk to you, my friend.