As North Carolina personal injury attorneys, we often get asked how to avoid accident-related medical bills from going to collections. A motor vehicle accident is often followed by unexpected medical treatment and bills that you may be worried about paying for. Even a single emergency room visit after a smaller accident can be quite costly, and if the accident was more severe, the medical expenses can quickly add up. If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident that was not your fault, the insurance company of the driver who hit you is generally required to pay for your necessary medical treatment. However, insurance companies will not pay for medical bills until your treatment is complete and your case is settled. Depending on how long your treatment lasts and on how quickly the insurance company can review your case, it can take several months to reach a resolution. In the meantime, your medical providers can still hold you responsible for your medical bills and can send outstanding bills to a collection agency. If you are worried about your medical balances after an accident, below are three ways to avoid collections while your auto case is pending.
- File bills with your health insurance: If you have health insurance that has not been applied to your medical bills and you are worried about the balances, you can call your medical providers to have your health insurance applied to your bills. Depending on your health insurance plan, this can greatly reduce the remaining balance or pay off the bill entirely. Be aware that there may be deadlines for how much time you have to submit a medical bill to your health insurance, so you should avoid delay if you want to use this option.
- Request a payment plan: Whether you have health insurance or not, many medical providers such as WakeMed, UNC, and Duke offer payment plans that can help you with account balances. Typically, enrolling in a payment plan will allow you to pay a small amount of your bill each month and will avoid having the balance sent to collections while your auto case is pending. A call to your provider’s billing department can let you know what payment solutions are available. Afterwards, you can seek reimbursement from the at-fault auto insurance company for any out-of-pocket medical payments.
- Request lien treatment: Medical providers such as chiropractors and physical therapists may be willing to treat you on a lien until your case has been resolved. This means that they will not bill you up front and will instead wait to be paid by the at-fault insurance company. This can help you manage the costs of on-going treatment, but to do this, you will likely have to show that your accident case is being handled by an attorney.
To find out more about your rights after a motor vehicle accident and make sure you are covered, you can contact our personal injury attorneys for a free consultation.