If none of the strategies described in our earlier posts are available to help you pay for your accident-related medical bills, there are three more strategies you might employ to get the care you need.
In the old days, most doctors and hospitals provided care first and worried about getting paid later. Some still do. If you don’t have insurance and don’t have the money to pay, such a provider has to wait and hope that you resolve your case for enough money to pay your bills.
If you don’t pay, most providers will send your account to a collection agency. This is bad for your credit rating and you may find the collection agency calls and letters annoying. If you have a lawyer, your lawyer can stop the calls and letters by insisting that collection communications go exclusively through the lawyer’s office.
You may be able to avoid having your provider turn your account over to a collection agency if you instruct your lawyer to agree to give a lien against your recovery to the provider. In essence, your lawyer promises to pay the provider out of the first dollars that are recovered from your claim.
Vermont Hospitals don’t have to do this, as they can file a notice of a “hospital lien” in the city or town where they are located and then the insurer for the at fault party and your lawyer have an obligation to pay the hospital before they pay you.
We don’t see many of these except in very large cases.
There are lenders who make a business out of lending money to pay bills to claimants in personal injury cases. Some will even agree to forgive the loan if you lose your case. They typically require a letter from your lawyer describing your likelihood of success. But remember: there is no free lunch! These lenders charge very high interest rates. Look hard before you leap, but it’s probably worth the cost.
For most people, in this context, “self-insurance,” is essentially the same as “no insurance.” You just pay the medical bills out of your pocket. If you can.
If you are in this situation, be sure to ask your providers if they give a discount for self-pay patients. Most do.
Most hospitals have fund to provide care for persons who can’t afford to pay for themselves. But you have to ask. Ask them.
Do what you must do to get it, but please don’t go without medical care that you need. If another party is legally responsible for your injuries, a personal injury lawyer can help you recover your medical expenses and more.
For more information on Three Last Resort Strategies For Paying Your Accident-Related Medical Bills, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (802) 335-2794 today.
Rich Cassidy Law
1233 Shelburne Road
South Burlington, VT 05403