Q: How can I afford to live while I wait months or years for my injury claim to settle?
Although there is no predetermined length of time for when an injury settlement must be paid, the majority of cases can take months to settle. During this waiting period, medical bills, mortgages, and other expenses will pile up. And there will be more bills next week, and next month.
Unfortunately, you may find yourself unable to pay for your recovery without financial assistance. Not only do you have unexpected medical bills, your injuries may make it impossible for you to work. Simply paying the regular expenses of life—shelter, utilities, food, and so on—may seem a huge challenge.
However, with the right information and the right legal guidance, you won’t have to add financial worries to the list of recovery concerns. Attorney Steve Lee can help lessen your stress, increase your financial stability, and give you peace of mind while you wait for your settlement to come through.
Immediate Coverage for Medical Costs
Your medical bills are the easiest expenses to cover after a personal injury as there are three distinct options that can help: health insurance, letters of protection, and medical liens.
- Health insurance. If you have personal health insurance, you may be able to negotiate a deal with your carrier to pay your bills until your settlement is paid. Once you receive your compensation, you can then repay the insurer for your treatment and recovery costs. Furthermore, depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may also be able to obtain immediate compensation for certain out-of-pocket expenses, including prescription co-pays, over-the-counter medical items, and ambulance costs.
- Letter of protection. If your insurance will not cover all of your costs, or if you don’t have medical insurance, your medical costs may be eligible for postponement with a letter of protection (LOP). A letter of protection is a legal document issued by your attorney for your doctor. This letter states that all medical costs acquired as a result of the personal injury accident will be paid out of proceeds from your settlement. Since the letter guarantees payment at a later date, your doctor should defer billing until your settlement is awarded.
- Medical lien. Alternatively, your health providers may put a lien on your eventual award. A lien is an agreement that states the holder of the lien (your medical provider) has the legal right to recover payment for medical costs once you have acquired your settlement. Liens can be associated with LOPs and through contractual agreements between parties, as well as state statutes.
Immediate Coverage for Living Expenses
Routine living expenses can be more difficult to cover. There are some businesses that specialize in loaning money to people with pending lawsuits. It may be possible to negotiate with your creditors to give your case time to settle. And some clients take advantage of bankruptcy law to get free of debt.
- Lawsuit funding. Lawsuit funding companies provide victims of personal injury accidents financial assistance while their case is pending. Some may consider this “assistance” to be a loan, while other companies vehemently state that it isn’t a loan as reimbursement is only required if your case is successful. This resource is helpful for those who feel that they are financially strapped and their only course of action is to settle early.
- Bank loans. In some cases, a bank may approve a small loan to help with living expenses after an accident. However, to secure an approval, you may want to secure a letter from your attorney outlining your potential settlement figures.
- Bankruptcy. Declaring bankruptcy to reduce debt during recovery should not be taken lightly. Remember, once you declare, you’ll have to live with the consequences (including negative information on your credit report) for seven years. However, if you feel that filing for bankruptcy is your only recourse, you should discuss the matter with your personal injury attorney first.
For more options on financial stability and legal support during your recovery, feel free to browse our extensive collection of articles and resources on this website. For a more personal discussion, contact our office today. We’ll be happy to schedule your no-obligation, no-charge case review with local attorney Steve Lee. What are you waiting for? Call now!