If you’ve been in a car accident, you already know that you need to seek medical treatment for your injuries. However, if you don’t have health insurance, you’re probably wondering what your options are.
You know that you can’t afford to pay out of pocket. Even if you’re confident that your settlement will cover your medical expenses, you might not have the cash flow or credit available to pay for treatment while you wait to get paid.
The good news is that you can still get treatment from doctors without having to pay upfront. In this article, we’ll discuss how this process works.
Getting Medical Treatment on a Lien
Sometimes the word lien can be intimidating, so we’ll break it down in everyday language so that you understand the details.
In plain English, a lien is when a creditor establishes a legal right (also referred to as a claim) against the debtor’s property. The most common type of lien in everyday life is a mortgage. Here, the bank maintains an interest (i.e., claim) in your house until you are finished making payments.
For car accident victims without medical insurance, a personal injury lien works much in the same way.
For example, victims of car accident cases and those seeking worker’s compensation claims are often treated on a “lien basis.” This practice is relatively common and there are procedures in place that both doctors and attorneys are familiar with, so you don’t have to worry about the logistics.
To get treatment, you’ll have to agree in writing that you’ll pay the doctors and other medical providers once your personal injury claim gets resolved. Typically, the settlement check goes to your attorney, and the office settles any outstanding bills before disbursing payment to you.
This right to receive medical treatment without out-of-pocket expenses is part of Virginia state law. According to § 8.01-66.2, a party injured due to someone else’s negligent conduct can receive necessary medical treatment, and the provider can issue a lien. These liens are subject to maximums for different types of care and providers.
Can I Negotiate a Lien Claim?
Accident victims can become frustrated when they see the astounding costs of medical treatment. With healthcare costs on the rise, and when you see the final bill, you might find it completely unreasonable.
If there is a mistake on your bill or the costs are out of line with your expectations, you can try to negotiate the claim and agree on a lower amount.
One way to avoid surprises is to work with a personal injury attorney from day one. The Virginia statute that outlines the lien policies for healthcare providers is different from how an attorney will negotiate a lien for medical services on your behalf.
Geoff McDonald & Associates Are Here to Help
The most important action to take after an accident is to get the medical help that you need. Delaying essential medical care because of financial concerns is not fair to you, and it can harm both your recovery and even your case.
We encourage you to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your financial bases are covered while you focus on your physical and emotional recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation.