Many people struggle to pay medical bills following a car wreck, particularly when serious injuries are sustained. A personal injury claim can take many months to settle, so how do people cover the costs of medical care during the interim?
When finances are tight, there are several options available to pay these expenses while waiting for a settlement. Determining which is right for you is a personal decision that can be discussed with your car accident attorney.
The claims process can be held up by insurance companies for several reasons. Even the most straightforward auto accident case can take time to resolve. While your lawyer is gathering evidence, tracking bills, and working toward a favorable outcome, you can consider the following avenues to help pay your medical bills.
Personal health insurance
If you have private health insurance or are part of an employee-based plan, your provider should cover all health care costs up to your policy limits. Co-pays and deductibles will be paid out-of-pocket.
In Virginia, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) isn’t mandatory, but many drivers purchase this extra protection on their auto insurance policy. PIP covers medical bills up to policy limits after a collision, irrespective of liability.
Medicare or Medicaid
Those who are enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid can have a portion of their accident-related hospital and medical expenses paid once PIP coverage (if any) is exhausted. Bear in mind that you may have to pay back these funds from a settlement or court award.
Your car accident lawyer signs a legal document granting your health care providers first access to the damage award once the case settles or resolves in court. In this way, you can still get medical treatment, and your bills are paid out of your settlement.
It is not uncommon for clinics, hospitals, and other health care settings to negotiate a flexible payment plan. In some cases, they may even lower the final bill. It’s worth discussing this option directly with your medical providers.
When other options aren’t feasible, you might consider a lawsuit advance, also called pre-settlement funding. With this method, you get a quick cash advance (based on your predicted recovery amount) while your case is still pending. In exchange, the lending company has the rights to a designated portion of your settlement award. However, the interest rates can be very high– upwards of 40 percent a year.
Need more help? Contact us at Rutter Mills
Our car accident lawyers understand the hardships facing our clients. We can help you explore the best option, given your circumstances, for paying medical bills while you wait for a settlement check. We leverage more than 50 years of experience helping personal injury victims recover maximum compensation. Put our expertise to work for you and call for a free consultation.
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