Paying Medical Bills Before Receiving Personal Injury Compensation

Paying Medical Bills Before Receiving Personal Injury Compensation

Car crashes can cause medical bills to pile up rapidly. The total medical cost for an accident can be overwhelming. The average person would have a difficult time trying to dig out of a pile of medical bills caused by accident.  A personal injury settlement is in part predicated on the amount of medical costs you suffered. Thus, you could wait until you get your settlement to pay off the bills. However, waiting can be risky. Trying to pay off your bills might be the better option for your overall financial health. If you are facing the specter of deciding whether you should pay your bills, we are here to help. Our Chicago-based car accident attorneys have decades of experience winning compensation for our clients who have accumulated medical bills from an accident.

The answer to the question of whether you should pay your medical bills before you get a settlement depends on your personal financial situation. Here are concerns to think about:

  • Instead of letting bills pile up, the better option for you may be to submit your costs to your health insurance carrier for payment.
  • You may claim the entire amount as damages and not merely the portion your health insurance company paid. Some health insurers will not pay until all forms of alternative payment are exhausted such as personal injury protection, or PIP.
  • Furthermore, if you have a deductible on your health insurance, your company may insist that you exhaust the deductible before your health insurance covers your expenses.
  • You should have a thorough conversation with your personal injury attorney before you decide to submit your bills to your health insurance company.

Not paying your bills is an option but there is some financial risk involved. Consider the following factors:

  • Healthcare providers are entitled to be paid by you for services rendered. They will continue to bill you for their services until paid. If you leave those bills unpaid, you could run into some problems financially. For instance, failing to pay for a medical bill can result in the healthcare provider’s billing company referring your outstanding balance to a collection agency for repayment.
  • Refusing or failing to pay the collection company may cause them to sue you for the outstanding balance and could go to judgment. Your credit report will reflect an unpaid judgment and will negatively affect your credit score.
  • An option you have is to work out a payment plan for your medical bills. Most medical billing will permit you to pay an adjusted fee on a monthly basis until you pay it off or you get your settlement, at which time the remaining balance must be paid off.

Sometimes the harsh reality of the situation compels you to have to wait for your settlement before you pay off your bills. Medical providers will have a lien on your settlement. A lien is a legal document declaring that a third party has a right to money or property that is in your possession. Thus, your settlement will be reduced by the amount of liens that medical providers placed on your compensation.  Unfortunately, payment of the liens will not immediately rectify the damage to your credit report. However, because your outstanding medical debts will be paid from your settlement, your credit will begin to repair itself immediately. Your attorney can help you negoiate the value of the liens so that you can receive a greater settlement award.

We Are Here To Help With Your Personal Injury Claim

We understand that a car crash can cause your life to spin out of control. Through no fault of your own, you are hit with piles of medical bills all while not having the ability to work because you suffered injuries from another’s negligence. The Chicago personal injury law firm of Stein & Shulman would fight to win you the compensation you deserve if you were injured in a crash. Do not settle for less. Learn how you can protect your rights by making an appointment with Stein & Shulman today by calling 312.422.0500 or complete our on-line contact form to schedule a free consultation. There is no fee unless we are successful on your behalf.


Arthur v. Catour, 833 NE 2d 847 – Ill: Supreme Court 2005