Providing Charlottesville Clients With the Legal Services They Need
At Norton Health Law, our priority is always patients-first. Our law firm exclusively helps patients with legal service relating to and involving healthcare, and our goal is to make sure your rights are protected. We want to make sure you receive the quality, affordable healthcare you are entitled to with as few complications as possible. We also want to consider your long-term health by building a plan for your future.
Unfortunately, disputes with providers and insurance companies do happen, especially in situations where corporate entities attempt to charge you as much as erroneously possible or do everything possible to avoid paying you what you are owed under a policy agreement. We have substantial experience mediating, negotiating, and even litigating these sorts of disputes, and we will always exercise every possible option in helping you achieve a favorable outcome.
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The types of problems you face evolve as you age. Certain challenges that face those of advanced age may require the services of an attorney familiar with elder law. We have substantial experience helping the elderly and their loved ones in a number of areas, including:
- Patient Advocacy – Some elderly individuals might feel their wishes and needs are not being heard or honored, especially in regard to their medical care. We represent these individuals and make sure their intentions are recognized.
- Elder Housing and Long-Term Care – Some elderly individuals might choose to explore long-term care in the form of an assisted living facility, a financial investment we can help evaluate. We also represent clients who are involved in disputes with their assisted living facility.
- Medicare and Medicaid – Benefits from these federal programs often work to support long-term care and are critical to the health of an elderly individual. We help make sure our clients remain eligible and resolve any issues with receiving benefits.
- Elder Abuse – Sometimes unscrupulous individuals will attempt to financially exploit the elderly who are unable to advocate for themselves. We can explore conservatorships to better protect the elderly and help you make sure your elderly loved one is protected.
- Estate Planning for the Elderly – We equate estate planning with healthcare and can help build a new estate plan from scratch or update an existing one.
Regardless of your age or circumstance, you should have an estate plan. You and your loved ones both deserve the peace of mind a legally enforceable plan creates. Remember, estate planning does not just cover what happens after you pass away and can protect both you and your assets throughout your life.
Our lawyer can help you build or revise numerous components of your estate plan, including:
- Wills and Trusts – Last wills and testaments and revocable living trusts both allow you to designate who receives your property after you die, who will take care of your children, and who will administrate the estate. Not having a will and/or trust subjects your estate to Virginia intestacy law, so it is critical you have at least one of these documents in place.
- Estate Administration – Someone will need to close your estate after you pass away, and if your estate is particularly complex, you may need someone to maintain it while you are alive. We can serve as your estate administrator, found by fiduciary duty, so the burden does not have to be placed on a loved one.
- Advanced Medical Directives – Should you experience a medical crisis in which you are unable to communicate, like a coma, it is critical your medical providers and loved ones know what care you wish to receive. We can help enshrine your preferences for various scenarios through formalized advanced medical directive documents.
- Powers of Attorney – We can help you appoint medical and financial powers of attorney to make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
- Conservatorships and Guardianships – We can help you through the petitioning process for appointing a conservatorship or guardianship, both of which involve someone caring for an individual who cannot care for themselves.
When you pass away, your estate will need to be filed with the probate court. Most estates go through some level of probate in the state of Virginia, though steps can be taken to minimize the procedure’s impact on your assets.
If you only have a last will and testament, your estate will go through several steps before being formally closed. These include naming the personal representative, taking inventory, notifying heirs of the deceased, repaying creditors, and distributing property per the terms of the will. Because this is a public process and heirs are required to be notified, disputes are common, prolonging the process and keeping your final wishes from being honored. Plus, in addition to being time-consuming, probate is often expensive. We can represent you should you become involved in a probate dispute.
Our attorney can also help your estate avoid probate as much as possible through several strategies, including:
- Trusts – assets named to a trust are private and not subject to probate
- Joint Tenancies – by joint-owning property with “rights of survivorship,” your surviving spouse can receive your property directly once you pass, bypassing probate
- Payable on Death Accounts – certain types of bank and brokerage accounts can be set to transfer funds to certain individuals once you pass away
- Beneficiary Designations – certain types of investments can transmit funds to chosen recipients without first going through probate
You obviously want the transaction of healthcare to be as painless as possible. Unfortunately, some provider billing departments will attempt to charge more than what is reasonable, while insurance companies may look for any reason not to honor your claim. Our goal is to always help patients through these scenarios and make sure their rights are honored.
- Provider Disputes – If your provider’s billing department is charging exorbitant rates inconsistent with what is fair or reasonable, we can represent you in communications with the department and work to make sure you can continue to afford your care.
- Insurance Company Disputes – If your insurance company is refusing to honor a claim or pay for care covered on your policy, we can represent you, negotiate with the company, and even litigate, if necessary.
Sometimes a problem with a medical provider or insurance company cannot be solved through negotiation or mediation. If a provider billing company refuses to budge on charging astronomical rates inconsistent with industry standards or an insurance company continues to not honor your policy agreement, litigation may be necessary. We can serve as your legal representative throughout this process and work to make sure your rights are honored.
If you are the victim of medical malpractice, we can also help. We can evaluate the facts of the case, determine the odds of success given the material evidence, and file a lawsuit to pursue the compensation you are owed under Virginia law.
Dealing with an insurance claims department can be a grueling, aggravating process, especially when the endless phone trees or barely functioning websites seem designed to force you to give up. We have substantial experience dealing with insurance companies refusing to pay what is owed to their customers and can work to make sure you get the benefits you need.
The good news is Virginia law heavily favors the insured versus the insurers. When formally challenged, an insurance company will often give up and pay you what you are owed. We can also assist with disputes relating to private disability insurance and workers’ compensation.
Many do not understand that everyone should at least consider some form of disability insurance, especially if any sort of debilitating injury might prevent them from doing their job. If you have worked consistently in the United States and become injured, you may also be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance. Military veterans can also receive compensation for injuries incurred while serving.
Our lawyer can assist you with the following types of disability insurance:
- Short-Term Disability Insurance – covers a large portion of your income for a period of several months following a qualifying injury
- Long-Term Disability Insurance – covers a significant portion of your income for a period of several years or even until retirement following a qualifying injury
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – a federal program funded by contributions from your payroll taxes, allowing you to collect benefits if you are under 65 and have sufficient “work credits”
- Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation – those in the armed services who suffer physical or mental injuries as a result of their service, or have existing conditions exacerbated, can be entitled to compensation