Will Unpaid Medical Bills from My Accident Hurt My Credit Score?
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If you have been hurt in an accident, you will almost certainly require some amount of medical care for your injuries. This sort of treatment, however, does not come cheaply. According to the Insurance Research Council’s report Auto Injury Insurance Claims Study, in 2013 the average amount claimed for bodily injuries was more than $15,000.
If your car crash results in a catastrophic injury such as a traumatic brain injury, amputation, or spinal cord injury, your medical-related costs can easily total hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. If you fail to make adequate payment arrangements with your medical providers, financial difficulties and credit troubles can accompany physical and emotional pain.
Call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with a skilled personal injury lawyer.
How Doctors and Other Medical Professionals Bill You for Their Services
Once a doctor, nurse, or other health care provider has rendered a service to you, the medical group or business to which that provider belongs will typically submit a claim to your automobile insurance provider or health insurance provider. Once these parties have paid their contractual amounts, you will be billed for any remaining balance that was not covered by insurance.
If this bill remains unpaid after a certain length of time--usually between 90 and 180 days--the group or business may turn the obligation over to a collection agency. In doing so, the medical group or business is generally not concerned about:
- Whether someone else was at fault in causing your injuries;
- Whether you have been awarded compensation through a settlement or trial and are waiting on your judgment to be paid; or
- Whether you have the financial resources to pay your obligation in full.
What Happens When Your Medical Bills Remain Unpaid?
Once your overdue medical bill is referred to a collection agency, the collection agency may cause a notation to be made with the credit-reporting bureaus, showing that your account has been referred for collections. This can seriously damage your credit score and make it more difficult for you to obtain a new credit card or loan.
You may also find that other creditors adjust your interest rates upward as a result of your decreased credit score. Moreover, this derogatory mark will remain on your credit reports for up to seven years. There may be other consequences of unpaid medical bills, such as:
- Legal judgments entered against you, which can further lower your credit score;
- Wage garnishments; and
- The necessity of filing for bankruptcy, if you are not able to pay your medical bills.
Later payment of these overdue obligations--for example, after you receive a compensation award from a lawsuit--is often unable to erase or reverse these negative consequences.
Is There Any Way to Stop the Negative Consequences of Unpaid Medical Bills?
If you are presented with a medical bill following your car wreck or personal injury accident, you should make every reasonable effort to pay this obligation and keep the bill from being referred to a collection agency and hurting your credit. While some medical groups and businesses may be willing to wait for payment until your personal injury lawsuit resolves or will accept small payments, others will not.
How Can Zinda Law Group Help?
One of the most successful tactics to avoiding unpaid medical bills is to swiftly enlist the assistance of an experienced and dedicated personal injury firm like Zinda Law Group. Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side who is committed to helping you obtain compensation for your injuries as quickly as possible can help ensure your medical bills and expenses are paid and do not cause unnecessary financial stress and difficulties for you.
To learn how Zinda Law Group can help you, call us at (800) 863-5312 for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.