How Do My Medical Bills Get Paid While I Wait For a Car Accident Settlement?

By  //  October 22, 2021

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Getting into a car accident is not fun at the best of times. At the worst of times, it can be downright horrible. One of the biggest hurdles that a person must clear is dealing with medical bills for injuries that are not their responsibility. For the luckiest among car accident victims, their personal injury lawsuit is settled relatively quickly.

However, that does not mean that the paycheck will arrive quickly. As such, a common question asked is how medical bills are handled while you are waiting for your car accident settlement.

How medical bills get paid while you wait for your car accident settlement

A car accident lawyer can help protect your rights, and if you hired a good one and had a good case, you are likely to either get a solid settlement or win in court. While you wait for your settlement check to arrive in the mail, pretty much the only option you have available is to use your own insurance to cover them in the meantime.

This may include your own personal health insurer, the health insurance plan that you have with your employer, your Medicare or Medicaid plan (whichever applies), your car insurance plan, or the policy of the other driver.

Car insurance plans are not likely to be the one paying you out, unless the plan includes a clause that ensures that you be given coverage for the time being. Priority is also an important factor. For instance, if it is deemed that the other driver’s insurance company should be covering your medical bills, that takes priority over any of your own medical bills.

Another factor that has to be considered is whether you were involved in a car accident while you were conducting your job. In this case, workers’ compensation should kick in, ensuring that you do not have to worry about your day-to-day inability to pay your medical bills while you wait for the settlement check to arrive.

If you do pay for your medical bills through your insurer, you need to understand that you will likely have to pay the insurer back in the end. Of course, this is what the car accident settlement is for. This system is referred to as subrogation.

Mind you, not all insurance companies will handle it this way, and whether they do will depend on the contract you have with them. If you are unsure of whether your contract requires you to pay back the insurance company, be sure to consult a lawyer who specializes in this area.

Of course, while medical bills are obviously going to be important, that does not stop the other bills from coming in at the same time. Car loan payments, mortgage payments, utility costs, etc. If you were incapacitated, that will likely prevent you from earning money as part of your career, which means that the money you would have normally been taking in and using to pay these bills no longer covers these payments.

Not only this, but you may have to hire people to do things that you would have normally done on your own if your injuries were severe enough, such as cooking, cleaning, etc. These kinds of costs can add up, and quickly. Granted, a good lawyer will take into account your inability to work as part of the settlement negotiation, and that inability to work either means that you will go in the red, or you will have to eat into your savings to keep afloat.

However, that does not do much to help you while you wait for the check to arrive in the mail. If you have no savings, you may have to rely on friends and family to help keep you afloat in the meantime, which is never an enviable position to be in. No one wants to be in debt to friends or family, after all.

One option that someone may take is to look into pre-settlement funding. People who provide such loans typically only do so if they believe that the lawsuit has a good likelihood of succeeding, ensuring that you are taken care of for however long the case lasts, while ensuring that they get a return on their loan.

However, it is important to understand that getting a pre-settlement funding is not going to be all sunshine and daisies. Pre-settlement loans are not a charity, and as a result, have fairly high fees attached to them. As such, you should be certain, absolutely certain, that pre-settlement funding is your only option.

Treat it as if it is your last resort. If you are not sure of whether pre-settlement funding is the only option you have available to you, it may be worthwhile to discuss this with your attorney or a financial advisor.

A car accident attorney is a vital tool to anticipating these issues before they become issues. At the very least, you should be made aware by a good attorney that there will be a gap between the settlement agreement and the check actually arriving in your hands. A lawsuit can be a lengthy process, and this is one of the reasons why so many personal injury and car accident lawsuits settle out of court.

Usually, neither party wants to be wrapped up in this case for as long as they could. That said, while any time waiting for your settlement check is too much time to wait, it is not going to be nearly as long as getting a judgment in court. Yet, it does not mean it will be an instantaneous process.

For example, the other side may make a settlement offer that you consider far too low. On the other hand, you may offer something that is far too high for their blood. The insurance company may drag their heels somewhat in the event that the settlement agreement was noticeably higher than average.

For instance, if the settlement reaches the six figures, the insurance company will do as thorough an investigation as they possibly can in order to ensure that they are not paying a penny more than they should.

How long does it take the check to arrive?

The check should arrive relatively quickly, and unless something happens to delay it, the settlement check should arrive in about six weeks. There are multiple factors that need to be considered, such as waiting for the other party’s insurance provider to agree with the settlement, and the release has to be signed before the check is mailed.

The check is mailed to your car accident attorney’s offices, and at which point, the proceeds will be placed in an escrow account. At this point, any claims made against your settlement, such as medical liens, will be paid with this amount. Next, the attorney will deduct any medical fees that they are owed.

Once this is finished, you receive a check with the money remaining. However, it is entirely possible that the check may not arrive in time. If it has not arrived after six weeks of waiting, be sure to get in contact with your attorney, who will discuss with you why the check has not arrived in time, and how to rectify this.