Will My Credit Be Affected by Outstanding Medical Bills?
November 27, 2010 | Car Accidents
Following a Missouri car accident, medical bills can pile up quickly. If you are one of the millions of American’s unable to afford health insurance, or your current insurance corporation will not ‘ok’ the treatment, medical bills following a personal injury carry the potential to harm your credit. When an individual without health insurance is injured by another, they will begin to accumulate medical bills immediately. These bills then begin to run their cycle through the hospital collection system.
The treating hospital is not concerned with the fact that another person is responsible for your injuries. They run a business, and they want to be paid. If you do not have the ability to pay the bill, the hospital places your bill into their routine collection system. After many letters and calls, this process ultimately ends with the hospital selling the debt to a collection agency that may or may not report this to your credit.
Accident victims injured as the result of the negligence of another have the right to seek money damages for all their harms and losses. However, this process can take years depending on the extent of the injury suffered. More serious personal injuries require much more time to properly assess the future impact and rehabilitation time of the injury. Once a Missouri accident victim settles their personal injury case, they forfeit all right to compensation for future complications. For this reason, it is crucial to your injury case that you ensure the complete extent of all injuries is known before settlement. In Missouri, you must file your general personal injury claim within 5 years from the date the accident occurred. (Please consult with a Missouri personal injury attorney regarding your exact fact pattern, as worker’s compensation and medical malpractice cases have different Statutes of Limitations.) Due to cases ranging from a few months to years, medical bills are often left outstanding for long periods of time.
These outstanding medical bills will often manifest as negative marks on your credit history. It should be noted that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act will govern the collection attempts of your outstanding medical bills by collectors. It is important to become familiar with your rights in the event you find yourself in this position. More information on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act can be found here: http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpajump.shtm.
The best thing a Missouri accident victim can do to protect themselves from all financial troubles is to immediately consult with a Missouri personal injury lawyer following the accident. Personal injury lawyers will immediately contact the hospital and/or debt collector to inform them that they are pursuing a claim for damages on behalf of the injured party. The providers and debt collectors will then contact the attorney’s office for updates. This helps to ensure accident victims are able to focus on recovery, stress-free. When a provider and/or collector is aware that an individual has an attorney pursuing the claim, they are also less likely to turn bills over to credit reporting agencies. When your case settles, a personal injury lawyer will ensure the provider is paid.
As a personal injury attorney, I understand the frustration and stress collection companies inject into an already stressful process. Missouri accident attorney Christopher Dixon will work to ensure your recovery time is as stress-free as possible. This is accomplished by taking the extra step to ensure medical providers and collection agencies are kept informed about the case progress. This eliminates hectic phone calls and letters trying to collect a bill you owe because someone else caused your injury. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience at (314) 208-2808.