One of the most pressing issues when you are injured in an Illinois motor vehicle accident is payment of your medical bills. No one who is recovering from injuries in a car accident wants to worry about the additional stress of being hounded by collectors or having to make a choice between financial and physical health. Nonetheless, sometimes people injured in car accidents are put to that choice.
As an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer, these are the recommendation I have for you regarding payment of your medical bills:
1. If you have health insurance, use it as the primary means of paying your medical bills. One of the reasons that you have health insurance is to cover your self if you are injured. You should not worry that it is unfair to your health insurance that they have to pay for injuries that someone else caused. It is there to protect you, and you should use it whenever possible.
There are several advantages to using you health insurance. The most important one is that your bills will be paid relatively promptly and you will have access to care. The other advantage is that most health insurers pay your bills at a significant discount from the full amount billed by the hospital or other health care providers. They will seek to be reimbursed that money when your case is settled. However – you still get to claim the full amount billed by the hospital or other health care provider. You can keep the differential between the two. Further, you will not have to reimburse your health insurer the full amount that they paid to the hospital after taking their discount.
2. Another resource that is available is the medical expense coverage from the car that you were in at the time of the accident. This is the no-fault coverage which will pay your expenses up to the often low limits on the policy. Where you have health insurance, this can also be used to pay for deductibles and uncovered expenses.
3. You can request that your health care provider places a lien on the settlement of your case. A lien gives the health care provider the right to be paid in full directly out of your settlement. Health care providers do not have to agree to treat you on a lien basis, and are entitled, subject to some statutory constraints, to be paid 100% of the list price on their bill, and if the amount that you recover from your case is not enough, they can still pursue their bill through collections
There a few things you need to keep in mind about your medical expenses:
1. No health care provider has to wait to try to collect on their bill until your case is over.
2. Even if the other driver is clearly at fault, there are no guarantees that the other insurance company will pay your bills at the end of the case. In fact, with back and neck injuries in particular, insurance companies will often claim that the care you received was for unrelated or pre-existing conditions or was excessive.
3. Automobile insurance liability carriers will almost never agree to pay your medical expenses as they are incurred. Rather, they will wait until the case is settled and pay you a single amount which will incorporate your medical expenses and other elements of damages.