Many people mistakenly believe that if they hire a Norfolk personal injury lawyer and file an injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company, their medical bills will be held or delayed until the resolution of the claim. Unfortunately, that is not how it works.
The billing for your treatment at the hospital, and any other rehabilitative care, is not tethered to your personal injury claim. Those medical bills need to be paid. If you do not pay them, the hospital will likely send your bill into collections which could harm your credit score and result in a lien taken out against your insurance claim. This is not an ideal scenario, so you should make every effort to pay your medical bills when you receive them.
Tip No.1 – If you have health insurance, send your bills to your health insurance company
The hospital you visited for treatment will likely have your health insurance information. But if they do not, expect a bill in the mail. If you get such a bill, mail it to your health insurance company to see if they will pay all, or a portion, of the expense. You may be thinking, “what about my deductible?” Unfortunately, you will be responsible for paying your deductible and any co-insurance provision in your policy. Nevertheless, we can seek reimbursement for the full amount of your medical bills through the personal injury claim, including the amount of your deductible.
However, you need to be aware of a legal right to reimbursement by your health insurance company known as “subrogation.” Subrogation is the right for an insurer to pursue a third party that caused an insurance loss to the insured. Basically, this means that your health insurance company may be entitled to reimbursement for their payment of your medical bills.
But, on the bright side, the health insurance company generally only has a right to pursue the amount they actually paid, versus the total bill. So, for example, if the hospital billed your health insurance a $3,000 bill, but your insurance company only paid $1,500, then your health insurance company would likely only be able to pursue the $1,500 it paid out.
Tip No.2 – Examine your auto insurance policy to see if you have Medical Expense Benefits
Medical expense benefits (a.k.a. MedPay) are an optional form of coverage through your auto insurance policy. Typically, it is offered in amounts of ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. MedPay is great since you can utilize this coverage to pay medical bills while your personal injury claim is pending. So, for example, if you get a $3,000 bill from the hospital and you have $5,000 in MedPay benefits, you should be able to get that bill paid much more quickly and efficiently.
Tip No. 3 – If you do not have health insurance, or minimal coverage, contact the hospital to work out a payment plan
If you do not have health insurance, or you have a catastrophic plan with a very large deductible, you should reach out to the hospital to discuss a payment plan. Many hospitals (though not all) are generally open to accepting monthly payments for large medical bills. They have experience with patients who are filing a claim for a car accident, so they might be understanding and accept payments to avoid sending the outstanding bill to collections.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Norfolk Today
As you can see, managing medical bills after a serious car accident can get complicated and be quite stressful. This is why you should speak with an experienced Norfolk personal injury attorney about your potential case. Your lawyer can help negotiate any liens filed against your claim and even help you obtain any MedPay benefits under your auto insurance policy. Contact Emily today for a free, no-cost consultation.