If you’ve been in a car accident, medical bills can pile up quickly. If you incur serious injuries, treatment can be costly, but even if the accident was not your fault, the doctors and hospitals will look to you for prompt payment. In fact, you may even be denied critical treatment if you lack the financial capacity to pay.
To ensure that you receive the medical care you need without ruining your credit or potentially facing bankruptcy, you may need to enlist the help of an experienced attorney to assist you in the settlement process.
When and How to Seek a Settlement
After a car accident or other personal injury in which someone else is at fault, you have the legal right to pursue financial compensation for your injuries and losses. Typically, the at-fault party will have insurance coverage of some type. Often the insurers will offer to settle the matter out of court, with the hope that you will accept a lesser sum than a judge might impose. A settlement is a compromise between you and the insurer and may carry some benefits for the injured party. However, if the settlement is insufficient to cover your medical expenses, it’s time to seek legal assistance. Your lawyer is uniquely qualified to negotiate on your behalf to keep medical creditors at bay. Typically, once the medical creditors understand that you have an attorney working to settle your case, they will agree to take payment from the settlement.
Determining How Much Compensation is Appropriate
The amount of compensation you receive is based on the nature of the accident and two categories of damages known as general damages and special damages. General damages cover the cost of the underlying harm and losses stemming from the accident, including pain and suffering, the loss of quality of life, disfigurement or similar harm caused by the accident and the resulting medical treatment. Special damages are easier to quantify, as they include the actual medical expenses, property damage, loss of income opportunity or any other losses resulting from the accident and during the term of the medical treatment. Unfortunately, the at-fault party’s insurer will try many strategies to convince you to settle quickly or for a lesser amount than you may be due.
What Happens if I Reject the Offered Settlement?
You may be inclined to reject an insufficient settlement offer, but it isn’t a good idea to make these decisions on your own. To truly protect your rights, it’s always best to consult with an accident attorney before making any final decisions. You and your attorney may decide to reject the offered settlement and continue negotiating, or elect to take the case to court. Sometimes before heading into the courtroom, however, settlement negotiations will continue with what is known as a demand letter. The demand letter explains your side of the story and requests a higher settlement amount. If that approach fails, you may have no choice but go to court. At that time, it will be up to your lawyer to update the medical creditors and to make sure that you continue to receive necessary medical attention. Many doctors will agree to continue treating you as the case works its way through the court system.
If you have been the victim of a car accident you did not cause, contact the experienced accident attorneys at Montgomery Dowdle today. They can help keep the creditors off your back while securing the settlement you need to pay off your car accident medical bills.