How Can You Pay for Your Medical Expenses While Your Personal Injury Case is Pending?
The at-fault driver’s insurance carrier is not going to pay for your medical expenses while your personal injury case is pending. They won’t pay anything until your case is settled. So how should you pay for the medical treatment that you need while your case is moving forward?
6 Ways to Pay for Your Medical Expenses
Here are 6 common sources of funding for medical treatment while your personal injury case is pending:
Funding Source #1: Private Health Insurance
You may be able to use private health insurance that you pay for as an individual or through your employer. Your private health insurance will generally seek reimbursement for amounts that it pays toward your treatment, but your lawyer can negotiate these amounts down.
Funding Source #2: Government Health Coverage
Depending on your financial situation, age, and other factors, you may be able to obtain government health coverage. This coverage can include Medicare, Medi-Cal, or a county program. Government health programs have very strong lien rights and can even go after your lawyer if their lien rights are not protected, so these liens need to be resolved as a part of settlement.
Funding Source #3: Medical Provider Liens
It may be possible to obtain treatment on a lien basis, where the medical provider doesn’t get reimbursed until your case is resolved. However, it must be noted that their recovery is not contingent on a successful outcome in the case. If the case is lost, the medical provider is still legally entitled to recover their billed charges. You need to be very careful about the lien process, as many personal injury cases can be ruined by liens that are excessive relative to the potential settlement recovery, which can end up leaving the plaintiff very frustrated when they find out they’re going to receive very little out of the settlement. Your lawyer needs to be very careful with putting treatment on a lien basis to avoid this problem. The lawyer will also need to work to reduce the liens as much as possible at the end of the case.
Funding Source #4: Auto Insurance Medical Payments Coverage
Check to see if your auto insurance has medical payments (“med pay”) coverage. This can pay for medical expenses related to an accident while your case is pending. This type of coverage tends to cover more types of treatment, such as chiropractic treatment, compared with private health insurance, which generally has more limitations on covered treatment. Your auto insurance carrier will seek reimbursement of its payments out of your settlement, but these amounts can be negotiated down as well.
Funding Source #5: Out-of-Pocket
In some situations, when none of the above options are available, you’ll have to pay for your medical expenses out-of-pocket. You’ll be paying your medical providers directly and you can seek reimbursement out of the settlement funds. Sometimes family and friends might help with these bills, but they are still considered out-of-pocket, as they are amounts you are theoretically supposed to pay back to the lender.
Funding Source #6: Pre-Settlement Legal Funding
You may be able to obtain pre-settlement legal funding to cover medical expenses while your personal injury case is pending. There are private companies that offer funding to plaintiffs if the case meets their standards for funding. I do not recommend taking out this kind of legal funding in your personal injury case. This is an absolute last resort if all else fails and you can’t find any other way to pay for treatment that you desperately need. The interest rates are truly mind boggling, so you will be sacrificing a significant chunk of your settlement just to pay back the interest.
You should consult with your personal injury attorney to discuss which sources of funding are available and which is most advantageous to use during your personal injury case, depending on your circumstances.
Feel free to call Suits Litigation, Inc. at (408) 637-5413 if you’d like to discuss your personal injury case and how you can pay for your medical expenses.