In a fault-based, or “tort liability” state, your medical bills are part of your “damages” claim against the person who caused your accident. Until your damages claim is settled, you will need to make arrangements to get your medical bills paid.
There are several ways to handle your medical bills, including:
1. Other Insurance – If you are covered by an insurance policy that might pay these bills, we suggest that you use that insurance.
2. Lien Agreement – Some doctors may be willing to enter into an agreement to be paid when you settle your case against the person who caused your accident. If you have no other insurance, this may be the only way to avoid collection actions by these doctors. But be aware that the doctors will want to be paid in full when your case settles.
3. Speak to Your Doctors – Ask them to hold your bills until you settle your case. Very few doctors will do this – but some will. If they do, they usually assess a finance charge for waiting for their bill to be paid.
4. Pay Cash – Most doctors will accept a substantial reduction in their bills if they receive payment directly from their patient at the time of service. If you choose this route, please keep detailed records of all payments so we can seek reimbursement for you.
5. Do Nothing – But understand that the doctors may turn your bill over to a collection agency, which could adversely affect your credit rating.
You may end up using a different approach with each provider. For example, your health insurer may pay your emergency room bill, but not cover chiropractic care, or one provider may offer a substantial discount for being paid cash, while another provider may not offer any cash discount but offer you a lien agreement. An experienced lawyer can provide you with advice on how to handle these issues.