After an auto accident, treating your medical injuries is priority number one. Unfortunately, the average hospital stay costs Americans over $10,000, and not every person can afford to pay for their treatments upfront. But that is where hospital liens come in.
How Do Hospital Liens Work?
All personal injury cases in Georgia require the negligent party to pay for any injuries and damages they cause. But, they don’t have to pay right away. Instead, you must pay for your medical care, and once you win your case, the insurance company will reimburse you.
However, in many situations, accident victims do not have the money to pay for their healthcare right away, especially after suffering severe injuries. In this situation, the hospital works with you to issue a hospital lien. It allows you to pay for your hospital bills once you receive your settlement.
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What Happens if I Can’t Afford My Hospital Bills After an Accident?
A hospital lien (per Georgia Code O.C.G.A. § 44-14-470) is a formal document promising the hospital that:
- You will pay off your bills with your accident from the settlement
- The negligent party will pay for the hospital lien as part of the money that they award you for your injuries
Although your health insurance may cover some of your medical expenses, the hospital can choose to file a lien instead. If you don’t have insurance, then the hospital is likely to file a lien as well.
Why Wouldn’t the Hospital Take Money From the Insurance Company?
Hospital liens ensure hospitals receive the money they are owed for providing treatments. If you do not have health insurance, they will file a hospital lien to ensure they receive payment. But, if you have valid insurance, why wouldn’t the hospital take that money?
Health insurance companies often have an automatic reduction in the cost of certain services. That means if you paid for your treatment outright, it would cost you more than it would if the insurance company paid for it. That also means that the hospital gets more money out of your personal injury settlement than they would if they charged your health insurance company. In some instances, the difference can be significant.
Will a Lawyer Help Me Receive Compensation Quicker?
By partnering with a personal injury lawyer right off the bat, you can speed up the litigation process and receive your compensation quicker. An injury attorney will assess your case and negotiate with insurance providers right away. They work hard on your behalf to ensure you collect a settlement as quickly as possible. The sooner you receive your settlement, the sooner you can pay off your medical debts.
Get Compensation for Your Injuries with a Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer
There are ways to combat or decrease the amount of a hospital lien in your personal injury case. John Foy & Associates can help you with this process. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out our online form for a free consultation now.