If you have been injured in a car accident, chances are that your medical bills began to pile up the moment you left the scene of the accident. If you have chosen to pursue legal action, there is the potential of a sizable payout in the end. In the meantime, though, what about all the medical bills you have incurred (and that are continuing to pile up)? While you think the at-fault party will eventually be held liable to those bills, what do you do as you are steadily receiving the invoices right now?
If you have health insurance, your provider will most likely cover your medical expenses as they come in. Utilizing your medical insurance coverage is the most effective way of paying your ongoing medical bills as you wait for the resolution of your personal injury case. Simply, your medical costs can be billed to the provider, and they will pay them for you. The premium you have paid every month for insurance entitles you to have this luxury while the bills are piling up. However, if you win your case, they reserve the right to collect reimbursement from settlement earnings. The provider will issue a lien to recover from the settlement what they paid for your medical bills. If you have hired an attorney, there is a way for the attorney to convince the lien holder to accept less than what they originally paid, which can increase your ultimate financial recovery.
Another way to take care of medical bills is by possessing Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage under your automobile policy. Every insurance company, under Texas law, must offer PIP coverage with every policy. If the insurance company does not have your signed written rejection of PIP coverage, then you may be entitled to the minimum limits ($2500 in Texas). With PIP coverage, your insurer will pay money toward medical bills up to 3 years after the accident and up to 80% of your lost wages, depending on your coverage limit, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Though in Texas, the minimum is $2500, you can purchase up to $10,000 in coverage. One of the most apparent benefits of PIP insurance is that you do not have to wait for the case to settle to collect the money from your PIP insurance and to pay outstanding bills. Further, you are essentially able to recover twice—once from the PIP payment, and then again for the same medical bills (from the at-fault party).
If you are not allowed any of these options due to your lack of insurance coverage, your attorney can issue a Letter of Protection (LOP) to your doctor that establishes that any medical bills will be paid out of personal injury proceeds awarded to the victim. When the doctor or other provider accepts the LOP, they agree to defer payment of medical bills until after settlement. Another option is to take out a loan or advance against your settlement to pay your medical bills in the meantime. At the end of trial, the amount loaned (plus interest) will be deducted from your final settlement. This course of action is obviously the least appealing option, especially if the case is dismissed for any reason and you must pay back the loan with your own money.
This can be one of the trickier subject matters in a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate your health and automobile insurance policies and advise you on the path you should pursue. You may be able to recover other expenses like reimbursement for mileage, prescription co-pays, and rental car expenses. Further, if you are on Medicare or Medicaid, those programs can help pay your bills. Thus, the best course of action is to secure a lawyer and allow him or hear to hear your particular case.