After an injury that resulted from someone else’s negligence, you may have medical bills that are due before the resolution of your personal injury case. It is a common misconception that you can just send the medical bills to the responsible party and expect him or her to pay them. The bills are your responsibility until you either win your case or reach a settlement. That can take time.
However, while you are expecting damages from a personal injury case, you do have options for taking care of your bills. The exact options may depend on the type of accident and the laws of the state where you live, but the following are worth exploring.
1. Private Health Insurance
One option is to use your private health insurance to pay your medical bills related to your personal injury. This prevents your bills from going to collections, but your insurer can require reimbursement once you receive your award or settlement.
2. Letter of Promise
Doctors and hospitals have seen many patients with personal injury cases before, so they understand that you expect to receive a settlement or take your case to court. They may offer you an arrangement by which you agree to pay back what you owe once you recover your damages. In the meantime, the provider agrees to give the necessary treatment upfront, with the expectation of receiving payment later. The provider will ask you to sign a letter of promise, which is a legal agreement.
Medicaid is government-backed health insurance provided to low-income individuals and families on a temporary basis. If you are unable to work following your accident, you may qualify for Medicaid, which may cover at least some of your medical expenses related to your accident.
4. Prioritizing Payments
Recent changes have been made to the credit scoring system to provide greater protection to consumers with medical debt. Credit bureaus no longer give medical debt the same weight as other types when determining creditworthiness and must give consumers a grace period of six months before listing medical debt on their credit records, by which time your case may be resolved and you may have your award or settlement. Therefore, it may be better, at least during that six-month grace period, to give higher priority to other debts and defer payments related to medical expenses.
There are other options that are available to you with the assistance of a lawyer. Contact a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Johnston Martineau, PLLP, to see how he or she may be able to help you handle your medical bills.