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Georgia Personal Injury Settlements Subject to New Medicare Reporting Requirements

There are new laws in place which affect how Plaintiff lawyers must handle personal injury settlement funds in Georgia. Starting July 1, 2009, insurance companies are subject to new reporting requirements which may hold up the settlement and payment to Georgia residents who have been injured in car accidents and other types of personal injury claims.

Under the new laws, liability insurers (including workers’ compensation insurers and group health plan insurers) are required to determine whether any individual who files a claim against the insurer or any entity insured or covered by the insurer would be entitled to Medicare benefits. If so, the insurer must provide Medicare with that person’s identity and any other information that may be required by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary). This information must be furnished to Medicare within the time specified by the Secretary after the claim is resolved through settlement, judgment, award or other payment, regardless of whether there has been an admission of liability. Obviously, the insurance company must obtain the information from the personal injury plaintiff in order for them to be able to report it to Medicare and comply with the new laws.

Failure of the insurance companies to comply with these new requirements could result in penalties. If an insurer or other Responsible Reporting Entity fails to notify Medicare in accordance with these guidelines, a civil penalty of $1,000 per day will be charged per claimant. In addition, Medicare now has the right to audit these entities who pay out to injured plaintiffs, and these entities must comply with the new registrations requirements. The practical result of this: insurance companies who write settlement checks will not release them to the plaintiff’s attorney who settled the case until the new Medicare reporting requirements are met. While this is not a huge deal, it may hold up some settlement payments. Most clients are anxious to receive the settlement funds once the case has resolved, and this is something that we take into account early in the process to avoid any unnecessary delay in you getting your personal injury settlement money.

While only a small number of plaintiffs are Medicare recipients, the new reporting requirements apply to everyone in Georgia and it does not matter the type of personal injury case that is being pursued.

Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, bus accidents, car accident cases and construction site injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years in and around Atlanta, Georgia and its surrounding areas, including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and would like quality legal representation, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online. Not only can we help you resolve your personal injury claim, we will take great care to comply with all Medicare reporting requirements so that you money is not help up.