When you are involved in an injury or accident, you need to get medical attention right away. Getting medical care immediately is not only good for your health, but it is also good for your personal injury case. Unfortunately, you will likely have to pay for your own medical expenses up front.
All personal injury cases in Georgia require that negligent or “at fault” party to pay for the injuries and damages that they cause. But, they don’t have to pay right away. Instead, you must pay for your own medical care, and once you win your case, the at-fault party or their insurance company will reimburse you.
In many situations, however, you don’t have the money to pay for your healthcare right away, especially when your accident is severe. Thankfully, the hospital will sometimes work with you to wait to get paid when they know you have started a legal claim against the other party.
What happens when I can’t pay my hospital bills after starting a lawsuit?
If you cannot pay your hospital bills outright after an injury, the hospital will likely send you notice of a “hospital lien.” This type of lien is authorized by Georgia law. This lien indicates that you must pay the hospital money for their services from the amount that you recover from your claim—or that the negligent party must pay for the hospital lien as part of the money that they give you for your injuries.
Although your health insurance company may normally pay part of the obligation to the hospital, the hospital can choose to file a lien instead of getting money from your insurance company. If you don’t have insurance, then the hospital is likely to file a lien as well.
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Why wouldn’t the hospital take money from the insurance company?
If you don’t have health insurance or another type of auto insurance that would pay for your medical bills, it’ easy to see why a hospital would file a lien—they want to get paid. But, when you have insurance that covers all or part of your obligation to a hospital, why wouldn’t the hospital take that money?
Health insurance companies often have an automatic reduction in the cost of certain services. That means that 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 case than they would if they charged your health insurance company. In some instances, the difference can be significant.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer for Free
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 the form to the right to get your free consultation today.