Being the victim of personal injury is always inherently stressful. You have to figure out how to get your life back in order, and that includes paying for any property damage or medical expenses. But who will be held liable for these costs? Do you know what to do with your medical bills after suffering a personal injury?
The term “medical expenses” refers to any costs or bills related to all types of medical care, including prevention and treatment. Co-pays for routine checkups and visits to the emergency room both fall under medical expenses. For many people, health insurance alleviates these costs by a great deal.
In most cases, patients will take care of their medical expenses incrementally over time. More involved procedures may lead to large bills that may take particularly long to pay off. In any case, medical expenses are a legal obligation that all patients must pay off in full. Otherwise, these bills will become debts. Some of the most common medical expenses include but are not limited to:
At times, medical bills may go beyond itemization and also include relevant information, such as:
Taking care of your medical expenses while waiting for your personal injury claim can be difficult, as you generally will not receive a settlement until after you have received treatment. You may need to use your private health insurance, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage through your car insurance, or state assistance programs. If you have exhausted all other forms of payment, then you may also need to sign an authorization and assignment with the health care provider. Every case is different—discussing yours with an attorney can help you get an idea of what to expect.
Payment periods vary from one health care organization to the next. Generally, however, you will have approximately 180 days before your bill goes to collections. At this point, the health care organization will start making efforts to collect on your debt. Your credit score may be affected by this for several years, and the health care organization may even file a medical bill lawsuit against you. However, this can only happen if the statute of limitations has not yet run out. If the health care organization has not taken legal action against you after the statute’s expiry, then you can no longer be made to pay the debt. Still, your debt will likely be bought by another creditor, who will take aggressive measures to make you pay. In other words, your debt will remain while your legal obligation will go away.
In a personal injury claim, you can collect damages for any losses you have suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence. These losses can be both economic and non-economic. Things like “pain and suffering” and emotional distress are considered non-economic losses. Things like medical expenses and “lost wages” are considered economic losses. Additionally, your personal injury settlement must include any future accident-related expenses. Typically, victims will have future medical expenses after suffering from serious injuries or having been left with any chronic, long-term conditions. Proving future medical costs generally involves expert medical testimony. In other words, you will need to consult with a physician or another relevant health care provider to appear in court on your behalf. Furthermore, their testimony must be detailed enough to get a rough estimate of the total cost of your future medical expenses.
A lawyer can help you avoid any conflicts over medical expenses before they have the chance to arise. For instance, they may be able to negotiate with the health care provider to work out a revised payment plan to better fit your lifestyle and budget. Health care organizations are often receptive to this idea, as it would allow them to keep you as a customer. An attorney may also be able to act as your liaison with your health care insurance provider. It is not uncommon for there to be disputes over medical bills due to interactions between the health care organization and the patient’s insurance provider. Trying to navigate such situations is difficult to do on your own, especially without a full and comprehensive understanding of the law. A competent personal injury attorney knows how to draw up the best plan for your specific situation. They may also be able to educate you on the specifics of your insurance coverage, your hospital bill fee rates, your medical bill taxes, and answer any other questions you may have regarding your case.
If you or a loved one have recently been a victim of personal injury, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country. Do not be fooled by insurance companies claiming to have your best interests at heart. As businesses, they have every reason to minimize your settlement—if you are even lucky enough to get one at all. Each payment to you is a loss to them. Get your full damages by working with a skilled legal team.
When it comes to personal injury, time is of the essence. If you want to collect damages, then you should act as soon as possible. Each type of accident has a different statute of limitations. If you fail to file before your statute expires, the courts may bar you indefinitely from seeking compensation for your injuries. A good lawyer will also need adequate time to prepare a successful claim. Do not let something as simple as tardiness sabotage your chances of recovery. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced nationwide personal injury attorneys.