Dealing with Medicals Bills While Waiting on a Car Accident Settlement
Dealing with the result of a car accident is a stressful experience, and the last thing you need now is to worry about those medical expenses staring you in the face while are you trying to recuperate. Claims often take months–even years–to be resolved.
The question that needs to be answered as quickly as possible, is how you will pay for that growing mountain of medical expenses when you are unable to work, and waiting for a settlement?
After making a personal injury claim, a person’s hope is to receivefull and fair compensation for any past and/or future medical expenses. But what do you do while you wait as your medical providers just keep sending those bills? Thankfully, there are more options than most accident victims realize. That is why contacting a personal injury attorneyis the first call you need to make before making any decisions.
Caring for Medical Bills After an Accident
Use your PIP Insurance
Your first option, and one that must be used, is your PIP or Personal Injury Protection insurance. All motorists are required to have at least basic PIP coverage (between $2500 and $5000). No other reimbursement options can be used before you use your total PIP coverage.
Sign a Letter of Promise
Many healthcare providers will agree for you to defer payments, but not with an oral agreement! Instead, a formal agreement that involves signed paperwork is required. A letter of promise is between you and the healthcare provider–whether it is your family care provider, a specialist, hospital, or clinic.
An agreement will state that the provider is providing upfront care without payment, in return for collecting payment after your case settles negotiations or in court.
It is important to speak with an attorney before signing anything, so they can review the terms and conditions of any agreement carefully to ensure you are not signing something you ought not.
Use your Health Insurance
This is the most common way accident victims handle for their medical expenses during the period when they are waiting for a settlement. Be aware that your provider will pay up to your maximum policy limits, but you will still be liable for any copays or deductibles called for in your policy.
It is essential for an accident victim to make sure their medical expenses are first billed to their health insurance company. Your health insurance provider has the ability to offer more discounts and better coverage following an accident, which can lessen your medical bills.
Always submit any medical bills from a car accident to your group health insurance carrier. Your bills will be paid on time and at a discount to you. You can then claim the full amount (before the discount) your medical provider billed.
The Common Fund Doctrine
According to the Common Fund Doctrine, your insurance provider must pay your personal injury attorney a “1/3 fee for legal services benefiting the insurance company in receiving them money from the defendant.”
F0r example, if your received credit for $78,000.00 in medical expenses for your legal case, for which you were reimbursed $26,666.66. Your personal injury attorney’s fee will be $33,333.33 and you receive the balance of $40,000.00.
The Negotiated Fee Plan
Group health insurance plans (e.g. Aetna, BlueCross, USAA, Humana, etc.) provide benefits you’ve are likely to never consider in paying your medical bills. In a negotiated fee plan, your doctor or hospital agrees to give service at a rate less than the billing charge.
When submitting your bills promptly to your health insurance provider, the bottom line is your attorney will probably be able to discover more sources of money for you.
Never Avoid Treatment
Most accident victims misjudge their own injuries for one reason or another. Serious injuries are often hard to spot, and not every injury involves a broken bone or a deep cut. A persistent ache in your neck, an odd swelling in your ankle, or nagging pain in ribs may be signs of trauma that may only worsen without proper treatment.
More important than your bank account is your full recovery and health. Avoiding treatment often causes more harm in the long run and adds to the costs of your injury. On the other hand, getting proper treatment can accelerate your recovery time and ensure you get back to work sooner. Even if you have minor problems such as foot or ankle pain, make sure to see a medical professional as soon as possible. Learn more about how chiropractors can help you recover from injuries that, if not dealt with, can grow into major health issues.
But What if you Don’t Have Insurance?
Many hospitals and clinics will provide “treatment on a lien” meaning that they will provide treatment on the condition your medical bill will be paid out of your settlement proceeds. This allows you to get the treatment you need and ensures that your medical providers are paid for their services.
Most personal injury attorneys make a no-fee guarantee. That means essentially, they will not charge you anything, unless we win your case. In that case, during the entire claims process–from filing your claim, to collecting evidence to hiring experts to review your case–you don’t have to worry about paying your attorney. With a proper settlement, everyone gets paid–your medical providers, your attorney, and most importantly you.