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Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 99467
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I fell and cut my head. My wife drove me to the hospital where

Customer Question

I fell and cut my head. My wife drove me to the hospital where I assumed I was just going to get stitches. The hospital put stitches in my head and said they were going to keep me there, but told my wife she could go home and they would contact her if there was any change. When my wife left they decided to air lift me to another hospital where there was a specialist. I did not see this specialist for many hours, all he did was look at my X-rays from the first hospital (which I assume could have been sent electronically )and tell me I could go home. I then received a $40,000 bill from the air ambulance company which my insurance company would only pay $7,000. My first issue is that the bill seems ridiculous for a 15 minute helicopter ride. My second issue is that I don't see why the ride was deemed necessary by the hospital when I drove into the hospital myself and received no medical attention that could not have been performed at the first hospital. I don't see why I am responsible for this obscene bill
JA: OK. To minimize me, please click the down arrow at the top right corner of this box. OK. The Consumer Protection Lawyer will need to help you with this. OK. To minimize me, please click the down arrow at the top right corner of this box. Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: no
JA: Please tell me everything you can about this issue so the Consumer Protection Lawyer can help you best. Is there anything else the Consumer Protection Lawyer should be aware of?
Customer: no, again when my wife left I had a concussion and was on pain meds so I don't clearly remember a lot.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Consumer Protection Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Ely replied 6 months ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms. I am sorry to hear about this situation. Essentially, your question can be condensed to: ***** ***** ride was unnecessary and the bill was too large. How do I minimize liability? When someone is incapacitated (and it sounds like you were), then there is a legal doctrine that states that you consent to emergency services providing life-saving treatment, and, they can bill you a reasonable charge for it.This is what the medical system(s) is/are going to base their argument on, likely. Someone in your situation can argue: 1) The hospital ride was unnecessary, and thus falls outside this matter.2) You had the capacity to make a decision on whether or not to go on the ride, but was not asked, and3) The cost is unreasonable. A good way to begin would be to send a letter to the hospital system(s) explaining the above, and demanding a reduction in fees. If they do not agree (and this also can be mentioned in the letter), one can file what is known as a DECLARATORY JUDGMENT in Court, and ask the Judge to decide. A declaratory judgment is a type of lawsuit where the person asks for rights/duties in a situation controlled by writing (in this case, the bill(s)). If the Court agrees that the hospital entities over-assumed their positions and overused the emergency doctrine and/or the bill is unreasonable, the Court may then lower the bill significantly to reflect the amount which the Court believes should be proper. Many hospital systems are often willing to work with you to negotiate and lower the bill to avoid litigation. I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you, I'm still not exactly sure where to start as the hospital is not billing me it is a private helicopter company they use. My issue with the hospital is wether the lift was necessary, but I don't owe them any money. My issue with the air ambulance is $40,000 seem obscene for a 15min flight and am inclined to think my insurance felt the same and payed only $7000. Which seems a bit more reasonable.
Expert:  Ely replied 6 months ago.
You are welcome. The same applies to the private helicopter group, as the same concepts apply. I would send in a letter challenging the bill based on (a) it not being needed and (b) unreasonable. On the unreasonable part, one can include the bill LINE BY LINE with unreasonable parts highlighted. This usually begins the negotiation. Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

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