When a personal injury victim does not have health insurance, some medical providers will treat the victim as long as the victim and his or her attorney execute an “Assignment & Authorization”. This document provides that the medical provider will be paid from the proceeds of the patient’s personal injury settlement or judgment. If the patient does not receive a settlement or judgment, the patient is still responsible for his or her medical bills.
Both personal injury lawyers and physicians abuse “Assignments and Authorizations”. If the client has health insurance coverage, the attorney should never refer the client to a physician who will only provide treatment pursuant to an “Assignment and Authorization”. The reason why is that physicians bill patients without insurance double to triple the amount that they charge patients with insurance. Even worse, most personal injury attorneys do not attempt to negoitiate a reduction of the medical provider’s excessive charges. Such a failure on behalf of the personal injury attorney may constitute legal malpractice.