Waiting for Compensation
If the driver of the truck is at fault, you’re entitled to file a claim against that trucker’s insurer for those medical bills, along with your other damages. Even if your claim is successful, though, you’re going to have to wait a while for your settlement to be paid. You won’t have any idea of what your current and future medical expenses might be until your doctors have completed all your treatments and you’re on the road to recovery. Only then can you make a reasonable demand for compensation and begin the process of negotiation, which could take time.
Don’t Accept a Quick, Lowball Offer
If the insurer offers you a quick settlement before you’ve recovered, it’s likely to be an unfairly low one, and you should not accept it without consulting a truck accident attorney first, no matter how pressing your medical bills are. You could end up owing significantly more than the amount of your award. It’s also possible that the insurance company will dispute your claim, in which case you might have to file a lawsuit to get a reasonable settlement, and that can sometimes take years.
Other Financial Sources
Even though the at-fault party will be ultimately responsible for your damages once your case is settled, that party’s insurer is not required to pay your medical expenses as they accrue. You have to find a way to pay them while you’re pursuing your claim for compensation. Some possible sources include:
Private Health Insurance
If you have health insurance, you should present your insurance card for all medical treatments and pay any co-payments or deductible amounts if you can. As long as your healthcare providers are part of your insurance company’s network, your insurer should cover your bills as they come due and then recover its payout through a subrogation lien against the settlement once your claim is paid. An experienced lawyer can negotiate with your health insurer at that time to help you retain as much of your settlement as possible.
Medicaid or Medicare
If you have either Medicaid or Medicare coverage, you should be able to submit your bills for payment, but you must be sure that your healthcare provider accepts the coverage you have. Not all providers do.
Your Auto Insurer
If you’ve added Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payment Coverage (MedPay) to your own car insurance policy, you could get as much as $10,000 to cover your medical bills while you’re waiting for your claim to be settled. Like your health insurer, your auto insurer would then recoup its money through a subrogation lien against the settlement.
Letters of Protection
If you have no insurance of any kind, your attorney can look for healthcare providers who treat uninsured patients in your circumstances. Some doctors and/or therapists might provide services now with a promise (generally in the form of a letter of protection) from your attorney of payment once your claim is settled.
Your Attorney Cannot Cover Your Medical Bills
Your lawyer can help you seek coverage of your medical expenses from one or more of the sources above. Under no circumstances, however, may your attorney pay your medical bills with private funds or with the law firm’s funds. The ethical standards set by the South Carolina Bar prohibit any mingling of a lawyer’s money with a client’s.
There Could Be Multiple Liable Parties
In addition to the complexities of seeking sources of payment for medical bills while you’re awaiting a settlement, there are other complications that generally require the services of an attorney in a truck accident case. Besides your claim against the negligent trucker who caused your crash, you might have claims against other liable parties, including:
- The trucking company
- The truck owner or a leasing company
- The truck manufacturer
- A parts manufacturer
- A repair service
- Cargo loading personnel
- A government agency (if road conditions were a factor in your wreck)
While you’re recovering from your injuries, your lawyer can investigate to determine the percentage of fault of all liable parties, demand fair compensation from each, negotiate for reasonable settlements, and take your case to trial if necessary.
Have You Been Injured In A Florence, South Carolina Area Truck Accident?
If you've been injured in a Florence truck accident you should speak with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Florence, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.7540 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Charleston, Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.