Understanding the Billing Process After a Florida AccidentAfter you have received services from a hospital or doctor you will start to get medical bills, and it may become confusing, because it won't simply be one medical bill. There are a variety of sources that you might receive medical bills from:
- The hospital you received treatment from
- The doctor you saw
- The specialist you worked with (chiropractor, physical therapist, etc.)
- The pharmacy you received your medicine from
- And more
After the insurance company pays their share of the charges that they are held responsible for, you are required to pay the rest. But not everybody can pay their medical bills, and not every insurance company pays the proper amount. For example, in the state of Florida, the minimum requirement for car insurance is personal injury protection (PIP) and the minimum amount is $10,000. But if you're in a car accident and have a herniated disc, a torn rotator cuff, or any other serious accident injury, your medical bills could exceed that amount. After going to a hospital, visiting your general physician, going to a chiropractor or another specialist, you could find your medical bills increasing past $10,000.
Other expenses in life-mortgage payments, rent, student loans, etc. it may also add up and leave you in a stressful and confusing situation. You may find yourself asking, "What happens if I can't pay my medical bills?" At that point, it may be a good idea to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. One of the important steps in the beginning of the billing process is to determine how to pay your medical bills in the appropriate way within the appropriate time frame.
Having Trouble With Bills After An AccidentIf you have car insurance, health insurance, or some form of coverage you should make sure that they are paying the proper amount that they are supposed to. If they do and you still find yourself unable to pay your medical bills, you may want to try negotiating with the hospital, doctor, or other entity that you received services from. If you find yourself getting countless phone calls and letters about your bills and the amount you owe, you may want to consider calling or writing them back rather than ignoring them. Sticking your head in the sand, so to speak, and failing to acknowledge the situation altogether could just make matters worse.
If you call doctors or hospitals and tell them the issues you have with paying the medical bills, they may be willing to work with you. Like anyone involved in a practice or business, they want to be paid and they don't want to chase you around forever. Approaching them and asking the simple question, "Can we work something out?" may go further than you think.
For example, the hospital or doctor may be willing to reduce your amount, or they may be willing to go through Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS), groups designed to mediate between consumers and creditors. A CCCS may be able to set up a manageable payment plan with you to pay the hospital or doctor back in a reasonable amount of time.
If negotiating the medical bills doesn't work out, the worst you have to worry about is that they will continue to contact you and demand payment. They can't force you to pay and they can never send you to jail for owing money on a medical bill.
Collection AgenciesIf hospitals and doctors keep trying to contact you about your medical bills and payments for an extended period of time, they may submit you to a collection agency whose sole purpose is to pester you until you pay your bills. They may try to contact you about your medical bills so much that you'd rather just pay them and be done with it than hear from them again. But, the fact still remains, that they can't force you to pay.
The hospitals, doctors, and collection agencies also have to follow laws regulated by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
So what can't collection agencies do?
- They can't use harsh or obscene language
- They can't threaten you or your family's reputation, physical person or property
- They can't claim to be anyone else (such as a lawyer)
- They can't contact any other people regarding your debt
A Lawsuit and Your Medical Bills
Depending on the hospital, the doctor, the collection agency, and/or the amount you owe on your medical bills, you may be sued for the amount you owe. If you're taken to court, and you lose or you fail to show up entirely, you may risk having your wages reduced. It's the one case where you may be forced to repay through a court order.
Whether your medical bills are associated with a workers' compensation claim, a personal injury claim, or a disability claim, you should be consulting with a lawyer to discuss your options and your rights. Contact an attorney at the Coye Law Firm today to talk about your medical bills and your options.
Do You Have Questions About Your Medical Bills Resulting From an Accident in Florida?
The experienced accident lawyers at the Coye Law Firm understand that the billing process can be a stressful ordeal, and paying bills may seem nearly impossible.
If you have questions about your medical bills, simply call our office at 407-648-4940 or click here to write in a question and our team will contact you.