One of the most common complaints received from clients concerns unpaid medical bills while a case is pending.
I remind clients that until and unless you prove your case of negligence against a wrongdoer in a court of law, the medical treaters have a right to be paid for the medical services they provided you now. This includes the right to seek collection of the unpaid medical expenses associated with your treatment.
Remember, those medical professionals provided a service — treatment of your injuries. And they were not a participant in the incident that caused your injuries. Consequently, they have a contractual right to seek payment for their services despite the fact that your injuries were caused by the negligence of somebody else.
While this explanation might be legally correct, it certainly doesn’t help ease the pain and frustration of getting multiple unpaid medical bills in the mail. It doesn’t seem fair then when somebody hurts you, that they can escape responsibility to pay your bills while your bank account and credit score suffers.
That’s because while “negligence” means that somebody didn’t act reasonably under the circumstances that caused your injury, the law requires you must first prove the unreasonable act or failure to act before you can recover any damages. This includes monies that will be used to pay unpaid medical bills.
So, what can you do?
Well, the first thing to do is to consult with your personal injury attorney.
Here at McKibben Shaw Law, we explore all avenues of possibilities to getting your medical bills paid. Oftentimes, there are available payments outside of negligence in most insurance policies that can pay some or all of your medical bills.
For example, many automobile insurance policies have coverage for “Medical Payments” or “medpay” for short. This covers occupants of a car involved in a crash that causes medical bills available to be used despite the fact that negligence or fault for the accident has not been determined yet. It’s important to check your automobile policy for such coverage after every crash that results in injuries. It’s not to be confused with liability insurance limits which covers the other car and its occupants. Medpay covers you and your occupants while operating your automobile if it is involved in an injury-producing crash.
This medpay coverage is also found sometimes in slip-and-fall situations where the fall occurs on a business property. It’s important to talk to your lawyer to see if it is available.
Finally, there are some medical treaters who might accept what is known as a “Letter of Protection” from your attorney in a personal injury situation. Here at McKibben Shaw Law we can offer a letter to medical professionals that makes a solemn “promise” to pay those professionals once your case is settled. While this doesn’t stop the right to seek reimbursement, it sometimes does stop the annoying collection process and can save your credit score in the meantime.
The bottom line is that no one is ever “made whole” when injured and seeking damages in a personal injury action — the medical bills might eventually be paid, but there is no mechanism or procedure in place to help the injured person while the case is pending other than those methods mentioned above.
One consolation is that Indiana law does recognize the right to seek recovery in a lawsuit for damaged credit scores which cause mental anguish.
See McKibben Shaw Law when your unpaid medical bills are mounting due to the negligence of somebody else.
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