The aftermath of an automobile accident, no matter how minor, can be unnerving and overwhelming to victims. Contact information must exchanged, police reports often need to be filled out, and insurance companies must be notified. In the midst of such frenzy, auto accident victims are particularly susceptible to exploitation and fraud by those who would purport to offer them assistance and make it “all better.” A new Kentucky law aims to protect accident victims in these situations by implementing waiting periods before they can be solicited for medical treatment.
Recently, the solicitation of accident victims has been an increasing problem within the medical field. Recognizing the deep pockets of auto insurers and the vulnerability of victims who have been injured, unscrupulous medical providers seek out victims and offer them cash payments and medical treatment for their injuries. These fraudulent solicitations take advantage of the personal injury protection medical benefits that auto accident victims frequently receive, which may allow for medical payments in amounts in excess of $5,000 or $10,000. After these benefits have been used, the medical providers may determine the victim’s medical issues are “treated” and disappear, leaving the individual to suffer the consequences of lost benefits and poor medical care. Beyond the impact on individual accident victims, this solicitation fraud also results in increased auto insurance premiums for residents throughout Tennessee and Kentucky.
In response, Kentucky legislators have enacted HB 153. HB 153 prohibits health care providers, or their intermediaries, from soliciting auto accident victims for medical treatment covered by personal injury protection benefits within the first 30 days after the accident. Health care providers are held responsible for ensuring that their employees, or any individual acting on their behalf, do not violate this waiting period. HB 153 also provides that any medical bills incurred as a result of a solicitation violation will be rendered void.
Importantly, the law does not prevent medical providers from advertising their services broadly to the general public, or from engaging in random solicitation, such as through the mail or telemarketing. It does, however, prohibit the knowing and intentional solicitation of vulnerable accident victims in the critical weeks after an accident occurs.
While the law only applies to Kentucky residents at this time, it is likely that Tennessee legislators may soon follow the lead of their neighbors and enact a waiting provision for medical providers. Such measures help to ensure that auto accident victims and plaintiffs are provided with the highest quality of services after an accident, and they are given the opportunity to make careful and reasoned decisions about the care of themselves and their families without undue pressure from fraudulent health care providers.
Auto accident attorney Eric Beasley has helped hundreds of automobile accident victims navigate the complexities of legal proceedings and medical care after a serious accident. If you have recently been injured and are concerned about solicitations you are receiving from medical providers, contact the Law Office of Eric Beasley today at 615-859-2223.
Related Blog Posts:
What to Do After an Auto Accident, Tennessee Personal Injury Blog, September 4, 2013.
Tennessee Auto Accident Guide – What to Do and When, Tennessee Personal Injury Blog, October 2, 2015
Tennessee Personal Injury Claims Increase Despite Reduction in Auto Accidents, Tennessee Personal Injury Blog, October 15, 2015