No-Fault Assignment Form – Should You Sign it?
Yes, you should always sign an assignment form at your doctor’s office. It looks like an imposing legal document but an assignment provides you with major benefits.
When you are hurt in a car accident, and go to a doctor, your doctor may ask you to sign a paper which is a No-Fault assignment. Doctors often will not treat you without signing this form and clients frequently call me from the doctor’s office to ask if they should sign this paper.
What a No-Fault Assignment Form Does
When you sign an assignment, your doctor or other health care provider (assignee) enters into a contract with you (assignor). This contract assigns or transfers your right of reimbursement from the insurance company to the doctor.
How It Benefits Your Doctor
This benefits the doctor by allowing the doctor to bill the insurance company and receive a check directly from the insurance company. This way, the doctor does not have to worry about getting paid from the patient, because some patients never pay the doctor after receiving a check.
How It Benefits You
This also benefits you, because you don’t have to pay the doctor, send the bill to the insurance company and wait for payment.
Even better, you don’t have to worry if the insurance company denies part of your medical bill or denies your entire medical bill. If your insurance company pays you less than the doctor billed or pays nothing, your doctor cannot ask you for payment and you are not legally responsible for payment.
This is because you assigned (transferred) your right to collect payment for reimbursement of your medical bill to the doctor. Since you no longer have the right to be reimbursed by your insurance company and only your doctor has this right, you are not legally responsible for payment.
Your doctor’s only recourse is against the insurance company. The doctor can arbitrate the denial or file a lawsuit in court against the insurance company.
Yet another benefit is that if your doctor arbitrates a no-fault denial or files a lawsuit against your no-fault insurance company, this will not affect your personal injury lawsuit.
If you do not sign an assignment, then your doctor will ask you to pay the doctor directly and you will seek reimbursement from your insurance company. If the insurance company denies part or all of your medical bill, you cannot arbitrate the denial or file a lawsuit without jeopardizing your personal injury claim.
How to Protect Your Benefits
An assignment may be revoked by your doctor or medical provider if you do not have insurance coverage or if you violate a condition of the policy. For instance, you could fail to file a no-fault application within the required number of days of the accident (30 days in New York) which could leave you without coverage.
The most common way that people become responsible to the doctor for medical bills is by failing to appear for a required medical examination by the no-fault insurance company doctor. When your no-fault insurance company sends you a letter notifying you to appear for a physical, make sure that you do not miss it.
If you have been hurt in a car accident, call a car accident attorney immediately to protect your rights to no-fault benefits and other rights.