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Do I Have to Pay Medical Bills From My Personal Injury Settlement?

Do You Have to Pay Your Medical Bills From Your Personal Injury Settlement

Even a minor injury can mean major medical bills. After an accident, it’s not just the pain you’ll have to deal with. There’s also how the injury impacts you financially.

Lost wages while recovering are obviously concerning. But as you go through medical treatment, follow-ups, medications, and more, other money worries pop up, too. Who pays those growing medical bills?

This guide breaks it all down clearly. We’ll explain how medical bills are paid after an accident.

Do Medical Bills Factor Into a Potential Settlement?

Good news: Your medical bills absolutely factor into your potential settlement. Our office comprehensively reviews all medical expense documents that our clients receive.

This includes expenses already incurred, as well as treatment and care reasonably expected to still be necessary through your full recovery process in the months or years ahead.

Any hospital bills, physical therapy co-pays, prescription costs, transportation for appointments, and future recommended procedures – it all gets accounted for. Legally, these accident-connected medical outlays are known as “special damages” under your personal injury claim.

These accident-connected costs not only validate injury extent but also quantify associated financial impacts. In other words, they provide clear, objective evidence that your injuries are substantial and that they are impacting your finances.

Categories contributing to economic damage valuation include:

  • Emergency response and hospitalization
  • Diagnostic tests (x-rays, CT scans, etc.)
  • Doctors’ treatment plans and visits
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Medical equipment rentals or purchases
  • Physical/occupational therapy programs
  • Follow-up examinations and care
  • Transportation for medical appointments
  • Future treatment needs

Documenting these present and forthcoming costs not only justifies a higher settlement but also later ensures sufficient funds exist for you to be made whole again.

How Do Personal Injury Settlements Account for Medical Bills?

Arriving at an appropriate settlement or court award in an injury case involves calculating both tangible economic damages like medical bills as well as harder-to-quantify non-economic suffering factors like pain, emotional distress, or diminished quality of life.

However, it’s important to understand that accountability is factored into the ultimate settlement as well. The at-fault party’s degree of negligence and the specifics of your legal claim also impact compensation. By presenting insurers with a demand that includes medical expense documentation, we aim to maximize reimbursement up to available policy limits.

Unfortunately, there are situations where not every dollar you spend is directly reimbursed. Insurers are often to blame for this. They may push back on sums that they consider unreasonable or unrelated to your injuries.

In other cases, coverage maximums may take effect–capping what can be recovered regardless of what you spent on medical treatment.

How are Providers Paid From My Injury Settlement?

Once settlement funds are secured, priority goes to paying outstanding medical bills and liens documented earlier.

Tennessee Code §29-22-101 gives hospitals and doctors a legal interest in proceeds for services they provided tied to your injury recovery. Any standing medical liens require satisfaction first.

For the remaining amounts insurance didn’t fully cover, approach billing offices and explain the situation. Many extend reasonable payment plans or even write off portions showing hardship.

Document all interactions should further disputes arise, requiring legal involvement down the road. But through good faith negotiations, many past-due medical sums are resolved out-of-court if you control allocation.

Other Potential Medical Cost Considerations

Beyond direct treatment expenses, additional surprising medical costs sometimes emerge needing to be addressed. Such as:

Health Insurer Reimbursement

If filing any accident-related treatments through your health insurance initially, subrogation clauses necessitate repaying carriers from your settlement for their covered outlays.

In practical terms, this means you may need to repay your insurer if you receive a settlement for injuries they previously paid to treat.

Uncovered Costs

Health plans don’t reimburse 100% of all charges. So your own payment contributions for items like co-pays, deductibles, denied claims, premium hikes from using insurance, etc., still require handling post-settlement.

Let Our Personal Injury Lawyers Handle the Heavy Lifting

As experienced Tennessee personal injury attorneys, we’ve repeatedly seen the benefit of legal guidance when injuries lead to financial uncertainty. Navigating insurance settlements, liens, subrogation, and additional uncovered medical costs while still healing seems unfair.

As a black and woman-owned firm, we bring a unique perspective to advocating for accident victims facing financial hurdles. By thoroughly investigating faults and damages and then aggressively negotiating on your behalf backed by documentation, we shift this burden so you can focus energy on getting well.

Contact us today to explore your options for getting the maximum compensation under Tennessee law.

Author Bio

Shalondra Grandberry Pickford

Shalondra Grandberry Pickford is a highly skilled attorney and the founder of Pickford Law. Her legal practice is committed to representing clients on various legal matters, including social security disability, veterans’ disability, estate planning, and personal injury. With over ten years of experience in law and a license to practice in Tennessee and Arkansas, Shalondra is committed to providing personalized and effective legal representation to each client.

Shalondra received her Juris Doctorate from The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and is a member of the Tennessee and Arkansas State Bar Associations. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including the exclusive Rising Stars award from Super Lawyers in 2017 and again in 2022.

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