The question we hear most often from clients at the beginning of their case is who pays my medical expenses while my case is pending. I often then hear that the client told the hospital just to bill the at-fault party directly.
Unfortunately, the at-fault party will not, and even more importantly, is not required to pay your medical bills until you are ready to resolve the case once and for all. Therefore, in order to pursue your claim you need to seek and have your treatment paid for by you until your case is resolved.
That being the case, what are you supposed to do? Whatever you do, you need to get the proper treatment immediately and there are several ways you can do it without paying directly out of pocket:
1.) Your Health Insurance: If you have health insurance, have it pay for your medical costs. Using your health insurance does mean you will have to pay your co-pay and deductible however, in the end if you can afford to make those payments, it is worth it to use your health insurance to cover all injury related treatment. You will likely have to reimburse the insurance company for a portion of the benefits it provides on your behalf out of your settlement or verdict but that is much better than going without needed treatment. In this scenario, your health insurance will not pay the full cost of the treatment as it will have a contract with the provider reducing the cost of the treatment. For instance, a procedure that costs $1,000.00 will likely only cost the health insurance company $300.00. It is much better to have to reimburse the health insurance company $300 at the end of your case then pay $1,000.00 directly out of your pocket to the treatment needed. The good news is we have been very successful negotiating reimbursement of medical benefits with clients’ health insurance company so little to nothing is needed out of your settlement or verdict to reimburse them.
2.) Treatment on a Lien: If you do not have health insurance, the next best option is to find a doctor who will treat you on a lien or we can get you in touch with several companies we work with that will cover your expenses on a lien (they will pay the doctor and wait to be paid by you out of the settlement or verdict). Again, the benefit here is you get the treatment you need now without having to pay anything out of pocket. However, the difference from health insurance is that you will owe the full amount of the treatment out of your settlement or verdict. This is why this is never the best option if you have health insurance.
3.) Medical Payment Coverage or Med Pay: This type of coverage is most typically available in car accident cases. It is a seperate line item of coverage some at-fault parties and even your own auto insurance may provide to you to cover medical expenses up to the limit of the coverage. The problem here is that most folks only have $1,000.00 of med pay coverage. The lucky few have $10,000.00 or even $25,000.00, but even if you are lucky enough to have a lot of med pay coverage it often will not cover all of your medical costs, so you are left trying number 1 or 2, above, or seeking other sources to help you with your bills. This is still a very good option and should be used in conjunction with one of the other options above.
Our Atlanta personal injury lawyers will work with you from the beginning of our representation of you to get you set up with the most appropriate medical provider for your injuries and under one or more of the above options so your medical bills are covered while you worry about getting better.