When it comes to being in an accident, it can be so hard to get back in the habit of paying your bills and being able to afford them. In many cases, if you are badly injured it can be impossible to go back to work, get money, and at the same time cant be without paying your medical bills. When it comes to a devastating accident or injury, bills are often quite large and hard to deal with as well. Taking the time to learn what you can do, how long you can put off your bills, and what course you should take, can really take off some tension.
How Long Can You Wait to Pay Medical Bills After an Accident?
When it comes to paying any medical bill, you generally have six months from the time of service to either start paying, to call and set up a payment plan, or to work on defaulting on the bill. This means that six months from the time of your accident is how long you have to wait before your bill collectors are going to start reporting to the credit bureau and potentially damaging you credit score.
This does not mean automatically that you should wait six months on all your bills and not pay a single one just out of principle. If you can pay the bill, you should go ahead and pay it. Even if you intend to pursue criminal damages, you should try to stay ahead of your bills or at least current. In some cases, you can call and make a payment plan to help manage your debt and cover things that are associated with your medical bills and with the accident that you were involved in.
What is the Collections Process?
Most bills are going to be sent to you within a month of the medical service being performed. This will then give you a date where you are supposed to either pay the bill or work out some other form of payment. In the majority of cases, bills will be issued within one month of the service and payment will be required within one month of the bill being sent. Your debt is not going to be automatically handed off to a collection agency and there are not going to be huge fees that are associated with that bill right off the bat. In order for fees to be added and for the bill to be sent to collection, the bill does have to be dormant for a while and not have been paid or addressed at all.
If you are in the hospital for instance and you are recovering from your accident, you may not have to worry about your bills for a time as hospital bills are not going to be sent out until you are discharged from the hospital. If you are going to be seeking damages and are going to be paying off your debts with your settlement, it is always best to pay them first then recoup the money later on.
When to Involve a Lawyer
You should not go straight to a lawyer just because you are getting bills and you are not ready to pay them. You should try to stay current with your bills and when you do start to fall behind, you may want to talk with them about what repayment options you have. If you are going to file a lawsuit you can get money to help pay for the bills and you can talk with your lawyer about how to handle the bills.
Once bills have been sent to collections, they can be settled for less than face value, but this may affect your credit score in the long run. It is important to try and make sure that you are paying your bills as quickly as you can and that you are making sure to keep your bills in order and current. When it comes to paying your bills that are late, allowing these bills to go to collections can damage your credit, it can cause you to go further into debt, and it can make recovering financially very difficult.
When you do go through an accident the last thing you want to think about is paying bills, that being said, it is still important to keep up with your bills and to try and make sure that you are not going to go further and further into debt when it can be avoided and when you can stay ahead of those bills.
An accident is not something that anyone wants to worry about but making sure you are staying current with your payments can help take some of the stress off and it can also make it easier to recover and to not have to worry so much about how you are going to pay your bills. If you do fall behind, this is not the end of the line, you can recover from it if you just take the time.