If you have been injured in an incident that was not your fault, then ultimately the at-fault party should be liable to pay for your medical expenses. This assumes, of course, that this at-fault person had valid liability insurance or has enough money personally to pay a judgment.
Unfortunately, the nature of liability insurance is that it is paid one-time, in one lump sum and in exchange for a legal release. Doctors, hospitals, physical therapists, x-ray imaging facilities and pharmacists, however, generally do not want to be paid in the future. Medical providers want to be paid as their services are incurred. Accordingly, there is a “medical billing gap” between the time you are expected to pay for your medical care and the time when you actually receive the money from the liability insurer to pay for it. Compounding this problem is the fact that if you cannot see a doctor to get properly evaluated and diagnosed, then you cannot fully quantify your medical damages in the first place to be reimbursed by the liability carrier. The insurance company of the at-fault party is well aware of this, and often use the “medical billing gap” as a way to convince you to settle your case too soon and for less than the full measure of your damages.
Fortunately, there are ways to lessen the impact to your credit, obtain the treatment you need and lower your anxiety level while working towards a fair settlement or jury verdict in your case. First, to the extent possible, use your own health insurance to pay for your medical care. If you have health insurance, it almost certainly covers care related to auto accidents. Give your health care providers your health policy information and let them seek reimbursement from your health insurer. If you later recover money from the at-fault party, your health insurer may have a subrogation claim at that time, and you should deal with that at the appropriate time.
Second, check your own auto insurance policy to see if you have “Med Pay” coverage. Medical Payments coverage pays for health-related costs when you are injured in a covered automobile. Call your own insurer and inquire about the policy limits. At the very least, this coverage could help with deductibles and co-pays, and many times, there is no subrogation right.
Third, seek a medical provider who will work with you on a “lien” basis. If you have no health insurance and no med pay, you can find medical providers who will treat you in exchange for a promise that you will pay them out of any settlement proceeds from your case. Certainly, this option is less desirable than having health insurance or med-pay, but it is useful in obtaining necessary care from providers who will not harm your credit while you convalesce. Fourth, talk to your providers and explain the situation. They may understand and agree to work with you.
If you are in a situation where you need medical care for an accident that was not your fault but are unable find medical treatment, a competent injury attorney may be able to advise you as to your legal options. Doctors and hospitals might feel more comfortable treating you on a lien basis or waiting to be paid if they know that a competent attorney representing you. After all, if the attorney is working for a contingent fee and will not be paid unless he recovers, then these doctors might feel more comfortable that the case is meritorious.
If you are injured in a serious accident or are a family member who has questions about a wrongful death claim in Georgia, contact us to discuss your case. If you have any questions, you can call us locally at 770-717-5100 or toll free at 866-592-1296. You may also or email us. You can also get a free on-line consultation/case evaluation with a Georgia injury and wrongful death lawyer.