Who Will Pay My Medical Bills in My Personal Injury Case?
Serious injuries present many new challenges. Among them, are mounting medical bills. Even if you have great health and automobile insurance, medical bills which you are personally responsible for can pile up quickly.
Many clients feel that they should not have to pay any medical bills when their injuries are caused by the negligence of another. “Why do I need to pay these bills if the accident was not my fault,” some ask. It is a fair question. Unfortunately, it often takes many months, or sometimes years, to obtain settlement funds from a personal injury case. And, unless your case goes to trial, settlement funds are typically paid in an undifferentiated lump sum. This can result in medical bills being incurred well before a client has the funds to satisfy those bills. While some medical providers will agree to wait until the conclusion of your case to be paid, others will not.
Here are some options to handle your medical bills during the pendency of your case:
Pay Upfront, Seek Reimbursement Later
If you have the ability to satisfy the patient responsibility portion of your medical bills, paying out-of-pocket may be the best option. This will prevent additional collection efforts by your healthcare providers and possible damage to your credit. Of course, your lawyer will include any and all out-of-pocket expenses related to medical bills in your personal injury claim. However, we understand that not all clients have the means to simply satisfy every medical bill they incur. Below are other options to consider.
Car Insurance PIP Coverage
This only applies if you have suffered an injury in a car accident. Florida law requires all car insurance policies to provide at least $10,000.00 of “Personal Injury Protection” (PIP) benefits. This means, regardless of what policy you have and regardless of who is at fault, your car insurance will cover at least 80% of your medical bills up to $10,000.00. You can always purchase additional medical payments coverage through your car insurer as well.
Florida’s PIP laws are why Florida is often referred to as a “no-fault state.” This simply means that you are entitled to your PIP coverage regardless of who is at fault for the accident. This law was intended to reduce the number of lawsuits involving smaller, car accident claims.
Ask Your Doctor to Wait to be Paid
If you do not have health insurance or are otherwise unable to satisfy the patient responsibility portion of your medical bills, then you can ask your doctor or another healthcare provider to withhold collection of your medical bills until your claim is resolved. Some medical providers will agree, others will not.
If your healthcare provider(s) will agree to forgo the collection of your medical bills until your personal injury case is resolved, this will provide additional time for you to satisfy those bills. However, you will remain responsible for payment of any and all bills incurred regardless of what happens with your personal injury case.
It is always our goal to make sure that our client’s settlement is sufficient to satisfy their past and future medical bills, as well as compensate them for the intangible damages they suffer (i.e., pain, suffering, disability, etc.). Contact us today with any questions whatsoever. We are here to help. 24/7/365.