So you were in an accident. You've taken all the immediate steps: seeing a doctor, collecting the necessary information, and speaking to an attorney. You're on the right track with your personal injury case.
However, one issue is standing in your way. How will you pay your medical bills while your case is in progress?
Unfortunately, there's no easy answer to this question. Your settlement might happen in a matter of weeks, but if your case goes to trial, it could take more than a year to settle. Often, settling quickly means accepting less than your case is worth. Your attorney will be able to explain what the timeline might look like for your personal case.
Health insurance can often be the first step to pay for injuries you received in a personal injury accident. Make sure you keep records of your doctors' visits, treatments, and any out-of-pocket expenses. These records can be valuable, even vital, additions to your personal injury case.
Unfortunately, in many cases, health insurance won't cover all of your treatment costs. If that's the case, there are other methods of financing your treatment. You should never delay seeing a medical professional due to the cost; ignoring an injury may cost you substantially more in the future, and your health outcomes could be worse.
If your injuries were caused by a car accident, your car insurance might pay for your medical bills, depending on whether you live in a "no-fault" state or an "at-fault" state.
As of 2022, the no-fault states are Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah. Puerto Rico is a no-fault territory. If you live in one of these states, you're required to purchase a personal injury policy (PIP) or the equivalent as part of your car insurance. PIP will pay your medical bills after an accident (up to your policy limits), regardless of who was at fault. PIP doesn't cover damage to your vehicle, though. That will need to be determined separately and may take longer.
As of 2022, any state not listed above, including Washington, D.C., is an at-fault, or tort, state. This means that the party deemed responsible for the accident pays for your medical bills. You can purchase PIP, as mentioned above, for an additional cost. If you have PIP, even if you live in an at-fault state, your insurance will cover your medical bills, up to the limits of your policy.
If you live in an at-fault state and don't have PIP, you may have to wait until settlement for your bills to be paid, and you may be responsible for any costs not covered by your settlement. In the meantime, continue reading for additional funding options.
Many medical providers offer payment plans for medical bills. These allow you to pay your medical bills over time, rather than all at once. This can buy you some time for your case to reach a settlement. Contact your medical provider's billing department to ask about their payment plan options.
You may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability after an accident. If you have paid into the Social Security Administration through a qualified job, you might be able to draw disability if you meet the SSA's definition. No payments will be made for partial or short-term disability, though, so these claims are not approved in every instance. Check out the details on the SSA's website.
Your lawyer may be able to prepare a letter of protection for you. A letter of protection is a contractual obligation that guarantees medical providers payment out of any future settlement in your case. You would be responsible for any medical bills that your settlement doesn't cover. However, a letter of protection might not be the best option in every instance. Speak directly to your lawyer to find out if a letter of protection could assist in your case.
You may still owe money after exhausting all of the previously mentioned options. If that's the case, some companies provide loans specifically for people involved in personal injury accidents. Some even require no repayment if you lose your case. These loans often pay quickly, but they may not be your best option over the long term. Before accepting one, you'll want to carefully evaluate the interest rate, total repayment cost, and other terms.
After a personal injury accident, figuring out your finances can be confusing, frustrating, and scary. You don't have to navigate this process alone. Your attorney will be able to explain these options, and possibly others, in more depth. Don't go it alone. You need an expert on your side to ensure that you get the settlement you deserve.
It's easy to get started today with injury.com. It only takes three minutes for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case.