A Quick Briefing on the Often Overlooked Nugget Known As “Med Pay”.

Med Pay is short for what we use to refer to the Medical Payment Provision that is in many insurance contracts. For example, on a premises liability case, the owner of the property or entity where the incident occurred might have a provision in its liability insurance policy (which requires proving negligence before the insurance company becomes obligated) for the reimbursement of medical bills up to a certain (pre-determined) amount if a person gets hurt on the premises. Those medicals bills are to be paid through the Med Pay provision regardless of fault or what caused the person to be injured. Generally, if there is a Med Pay provision for $5,000.00, for example, and a person gets hurt on the property, he or she can collect up to that $5,000.00 amount so long as the medical treatment and bills are incurred and reported to the insurance company (usually within one year) and the treatment appears to be reasonable and necessary as a result of an injury that occurred on the premises. Most importantly, money collected through a Med Pay provision is IN ADDITION to any other money collected by other parts of that or any other applicable insurance policy (such as the liability portion). Med Pays can exist in insurance contracts other than those associated with properties. For example, any person can have a Med Pay provision in their automobile insurance policy as well. That means that anyone who gets injured in an accident that is covered by the insurance policy will be able to collect the Med Pay if they submit their medical records and bills to the insurance company. However, for auto cases, the Med Pay only applies (meaning a person can only collect money through that provision) if they were in the vehicle covered by that insurance policy. You can’t get Med Pay reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company even if the other driver had a Med Pay provision in his contract. I hope that made sense… The bottom line is, ALWAYS check to see if there is Med Pay available on every case you work on. Not only is it extra money for you or your client, but it could save you from a malpractice lawsuit for missing it potentially.

As always, take everything said here with a grain of salt or a shot of Tequila, and understand this is in no way meant to offer legal advice and should not be relied on without consulting an attorney experienced in this area.  This information is provided to be informational and hopefully helpful, but it is not legal advice and does not creat an attorney client relationship in any way.

Additional Resources

The insurance code would have actual rules regarding med pay; Jury Instructions regarding Bad Faith Lawsuits against insurance companies, and just using Google to find out more specifics. You can also call our office any time for any reason, including questions on Med Pay.

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Ready for your REAL legal education?

Anyone who has been through law school and taken and passed the California State Bar Exam knows very well that, in almost all cases, a lawyer’s true legal education only begins once you become a licensed lawyer. That’s right… after spending (in most situations) a 7-figure, small fortune to get through high school, Undergraduate College, law school (which alone can cause most people to wind up with staggering student loan debt to pay upon graduating), a decent Bar Review Program, and then of course the torturous THREE DAY long State Bar Exam (known to be one of the hardest tests in the world for those of us taking it in the State of California), the average newly licensed lawyer tragically finds him or herself in the unfortunate position of having the prestigious title of Attorney at Law and a very likely chance that they will remain unemployed until “paying their dues” as a new lawyer or otherwise gaining the basic litigation experience that almost any firm requires before considering a new attorney a prospective member of any law firm in California.  So even with well over $100,000.00 in debt and outrageous costs of living on top of it, new lawyers are finding out more and more that having real life experience working at a litigation law firm in almost a requirement if someone wants to be hired at a respectable law firm in the current economic climate.  It has never been more important to take advantage of any opportunity that comes by that allows you to work for a law firm (ideally one in the area of law you ultimately hope to practice in once you are licensed and experienced enough to be “hirable”.  Some schools, like George Washington University School of Law, for example, have programs where they will pay a small hourly rate for their recent Alumni to work full time at a law firm for up to one year after graduating from their law school (including the time before and after taking the Bar Exam). If such an opportunity arises, JUMP ON IT.  Even if the amount you are getting paid is minimal, be thankful and take it if you can.  Chances are, you will be able to supplement that income by bringing in new cases, working so hard you impress your employer and get them to pay you any amount on top of what you are already getting, and you will most likely have your foot in the door if you work for a firm for one year as they will probably want to hire you as a full time associate once the year is up because you will have had one year of training from that firm where you will have worked full time (or more) and learned invaluable skills and been trained by the very attorneys that will be in charge of deciding whether you become a permanent member of that law firm.

This is just one example of a great opportunity or idea to get around this very real and scary problem facing all new lawyers in this day and age.  Of course you can also consider things like the Law Office Study Program (where you don’t even go to law school and instead study for four  years under an experienced attorney that is required to not only teach you, but make you work and learn hands-on skills at their law firm the entire time they are teaching and testing you until you are able to take the State Bar Exam), online law schools (which may not get you into the top tier law firms making seven figure salaries your first year, but will enable you to get your law degree much cheaper, with more flexibility in your schedule, and the ability to work and gain the real-world experience you will need to get a job when you are licensed, all while obtaining your Juris Doctorate Degree that enables you to take the same Bar Exam required of those who go to a top level law school, for example), as well as other opportunities that will be the subject of future blogs.

Please feel free to comment and contribute your thoughts, criticisms, analysis or other ideas at any time on this blog.  Otherwise, stay tuned for more from L.A. LAW GROUP and your humble author, Matthew Paul Krupnick.

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