When you are in a serious accident, you are likely going to suffer serious injuries. And these injuries will need treatment, often for a long time afterward.
Thankfully, you can get compensation for an accident that wasn’t your fault through a personal injury claim against the at-fault party and their insurance. Unfortunately, settling a claim can take time, and your medical bills aren’t going to wait until you have the check from your settlement. Furthermore, the at-fault party’s insurance won’t pay your medical bills as they come in.
What to Do When You Are Billed for Medical Expenses in the Middle of a Personal Injury Suit
While you are waiting for your claim to resolve, you can and should file your medical bills with your health insurance or Medicaid policy. If you are waiting to pay your bills until you receive compensation, your medical bills could be sent to debt collectors and damage your credit rating, even if you have every intention of paying later.
If you didn’t file your bills with Medicaid right away, it may still be possible. Talk to the healthcare provider and ask them to file the bill with Medicaid. If the healthcare provider tries to argue that Medicaid can’t be used to pay for accidents, they are wrong.
Don’t let them strong-arm you into forgoing using Medicaid when you are eligible. However, if you use Medicaid to pay for medical expenses after an accident, the accident must be reported to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
What Happens After Medicaid Pays My Accident Medical Expenses?
When Medicaid pays your medical bills, they will put a lien on the amount they paid – this essentially means they are noting the debt amount. After a settlement is negotiated for your accident, all liens must be paid before you can receive any of it, according to a process called “subrogation.”
This is because, by South Carolina law, an accident victim cannot receive compensation twice for the same accident (in this case, from Medicaid and later from the at-fault party’s insurance).
After Medicaid is paid back from the settlement (and any other fees, such as lawyer fees are subtracted), the remaining amount will be issued to the accident victim.
While this means that if you win a $100,000 settlement, you will not actually be issued a check for $100,000, it does mean all your medical bills and liens will already be paid by the time you receive your check, so you don’t have to worry about taking care of all your medical debts yourself.
Additionally, because Medicaid pays steeply discounted prices for medical services, when paying them back you will end up paying significantly less for those services than if you presented yourself as uninsured when receiving treatment.
After an Accident, Call Joye Law Firm
Don’t let medical expenses associated with an accident that wasn’t your fault overwhelm you. The South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm are experienced in fighting for the rights of injured victims to ensure they receive not just compensation for the medical bills they incur, but also for the pain and suffering they experienced as the result of other people’s negligence.
And furthermore, we want accident victims to know they can afford a lawyer. At Joye Law Firm, your initial consultation is always free, and you don’t have to pay us anything unless we get you money.