When someone goes to a personal injury law firm for advice, they're likely to have questions about who is going to pay their medical bills. As is often the case in law, the answer depends on several factors. Here are three things all potential claimants should know about who will probably pay the medical bills in an injury case.
Insurance companies may have roles to play in two aspects of an injury case. First, if the defendant has insurance and your injuries are covered by their policy, there's a good chance the insurer will cover the medical bills if the claim settles or you successfully sue.
Second, if you have a medical insurance policy, your insurer might pay the bills and then place a lien on your injury claim. This means that before you would receive money from a settlement or judgment, your insurance company would get money to cover its outlays.
If a claimant doesn't have insurance coverage, they shouldn't despair. Doctors and medical organizations have to deal with these situations all of the time. The process is similar to what would happen if your insurance provider paid the medical bills. A hospital, clinic, or practice has the right to place a lien on any settlement or judgment you might obtain.
The big thing if you don't have insurance is to inform all treatment providers of your situation as early as possible. A personal injury lawyer usually has a template letter that they can fill in for you to explain your circumstances and ask them to hold off on collection actions pending a settlement.
As much as a personal injury law firm prefers to learn that a defendant is insured, an uninsured one is far from the end of most cases. The law has provisions for what happens if a defendant isn't insured.
Ideally, the defendant is simply self-insured, meaning they can afford to pay out of pocket. Some larger businesses operate this way to save on insurance costs, for example. Also, some defendants who are insured end up paying settlements because their policies don't cover what specifically happened.
Even if a defendant has no insurance and can't pay, there are options. They can make payment arrangements, or a court can garnish their wages. Also, a claimant has the right to ask for a lien on a defendant's property if no other solution works.
For more information, contact a personal injury lawyer.