If insurance doesn’t cover all your medical bills after a car accident, slip and fall, or other personal injury accident, a lawyer can help you explore different options for seeking compensation, such as negotiating with the insurance company, making a claim with a different insurance policy, or filing a lawsuit.
The last thing you want after a personal injury accident is to have your medical bills pile up and be unable to pay them. Our personal injury law firm is happy to evaluate your case at no charge and explain what options may be available to you.
What to Do When Medical Bills Pile Up
A fall on a loose step or a collision with a distracted driver can result in serious injuries. Fortunately, in North Carolina, the person whose actions or inactions caused your injury is usually liable for your damages.
However, before any payment arrives, you must prove negligence and liability, account for all current and future costs, and submit a compensation claim to the appropriate insurance company. You must then wait for a response from the insurance company and prepare to negotiate for an appropriate settlement amount. If you cannot reach an agreement, you may need to pursue your rights in court.
While you wait for that process to play out, you must pay your injury-related medical bills. The first sources are your car and health insurance companies. If they do not cover all of your bills, you may need to turn to one of these options:
Medical Payments (MedPay) Coverage
Check your car insurance policy to see if it includes MedPay. According to the North Carolina Department of Insurance, this option covers “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses for those injured in a car accident. Even if you’re a pedestrian injured by a car, as long as you have MedPay on your car insurance, you may be covered.
Co-pays, deductibles, and other costs may be associated with your medical care that can strain your budget, no matter how much your insurance covers. Exploring all available resources is a smart move.
Uninsured (UM) or Underinsured (UIM) Motorist Coverage
If the party who injured you is uninsured or underinsured, you can turn to your UM or UIM coverage to pay for some of your losses. UM and UIM coverage are required in North Carolina, per G.S. § 20-279.21.
Negotiate With the Insurance Companies
You or your attorney can negotiate with the applicable insurance companies to try to reach an agreement that meets everyone’s needs, such as:
- A payment plan
- Delayed payment
- A reduction in the amount you owe
File a Lawsuit
If the insurance company refuses to give you fair compensation for your losses after an accident, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit. This step shows the insurance company that you mean business and may convince them to negotiate fairly to avoid an expensive trial.
Do Your Research to Ensure Your Medical Bills Are Accurate
Don’t assume you always owe the exact amount stated on each medical bill. Ask for itemized bills and your medical records, and then compare them to ensure you received everything they’re charging you for. You should also confirm that your insurance company or companies have paid what they’re supposed to and that the amount leftover is truly what you owe.
You may also discover errors such as incorrect coding or inconsistencies in how the insurance company pays for a procedure compared to how a provider bills for a procedure. Make sure referrals are pre-approved and file an appeal if the insurance company later denies them.
While this research may sound overwhelming, your lawyer can help you throughout the process. It may save you a lot of money in the end, making it well worth the effort.
If You Have Unpaid Medical Bills, Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up!
Never be afraid to ask for help. Your provider or health insurance company may say no, but they also might agree to meet you partway. Speak up! It can’t hurt to try.
How Should You Handle a Medical Lien?
Per G.S. §44-49, providers and others owed payment for injury-related medical costs may put a lien on your compensation settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company or the judgment awarded in your civil lawsuit. This means that a creditor, such as a healthcare provider or hospital, can file a legal claim for part of the money you receive in a settlement or judgment.
If you aren’t sure how to handle a medical lien on your settlement or judgment, your attorney can advise you. Not all liens are valid, and some medical providers fail to follow the correct legal process to perfect their lien interest. In these cases, you may not have to pay the lien, keeping more money in your pocket.
The Benefits of Working with Whitley Law Firm
Recovering from an injury is stressful. Battling medical bills and insurance companies can overwhelm you when you should be focusing on your health.
Our law firm has been serving injured North Carolinians since 1974. Our clients make us passionate about coming to work every day, and we provide each one with “The Whitley Advantage,” which isn’t just one thing; it’s care and compassion and listening—really listening—and protecting our clients as we would our own family. It’s everything.
Our personal injury attorneys are committed to justice, and we won’t settle without fighting for every dime you deserve.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
At Whitley Law Firm, we offer free case consultations and work on a contingency basis. This means you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we recover compensation for you. Our goal is to protect your rights while allowing you time to mend from your injuries, rather than worrying about your next bill.
Call (919) 785-5000 today for your free consultation. We want to hear from you.