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What If My Medical Bills Are More Than My Settlement

What If My Medical Bills Are More Than My Settlement: A Detailed Guide

One of the goals of a successful negotiation in a car accident or personal injury settlement is to make sure the settlement money is enough to cover all losses and expenses, especially medical bills.

If the settlement from a car accident or personal injury case is not enough to cover the medical bills, the victim typically pays the extra costs. This can inflict financial stress on the victim since they may incur other expenses related to the car accident or personal injury. If you need financial assistance while waiting for your settlement, you can apply for pre-settlement funding to get a cash advance to sort your bills.

Our pre-settlement loan at Stonewood Funding provides immediate funds to help you settle pressing financial needs while you wait for your settlement. You can also access our post-settlement funding if your case is already settled and you’re just waiting for your settlement money. We provide the funding as soon as we approve your application, and that can be within 24 hours with our same-day pre-settlement funding.

Take a moment to apply now or schedule a free consultation with us to discuss your needs.

This detailed guide explains what happens when your medical bills exceed the settlement amount. You’ll also learn what to do in such situations, factors influencing settlement amount, and when to apply for a pre-settlement fund.

What Happens If You Can’t Pay Medical Bills in California?

What Happens If You Can't Pay Medical Bills in California?

If your medical bills exceed your settlement for a car accident or personal injury claim, you may be personally responsible for paying the balance. The extra bills can cause financial difficulties especially if the accident led to lost wages or other expenses related to the injury. If you’re still not able to pay, your medical providers may file a lawsuit against you to recover their money. They may also report your unpaid debts to credit reporting bureaus or collectors, and this may negatively affect your credit score.

What if my Medical Bills are More than my Settlement?

To avoid these possible consequences, you can negotiate with your medical provider for a lower bill. Most times, healthcare providers are willing to accept a lower amount if they understand that your settlement is not enough to clear the bills. They may also accept to negotiate when they realize that alternative ways to collect the debt, such as lawsuits, may return even lower amounts. Alternatively, you can cooperate with your healthcare provider to set up easy payment plans to help you offset the bill over time.

Moreover, your health insurance company may cover part or all of the remaining costs, depending on their insurance policy. However, doing so may give them subrogation rights, meaning that they’re entitled to some part of your final settlement money. You can also leverage government healthcare assistance programs such as Medicare or Medicaid to cover the remaining bills. Like private health insurance companies, they can also place medical liens on your settlement for the amount they paid for you.

It’s best to work with an auto accident or personal injury attorney during negotiations and agreements with healthcare providers. With their expert negotiation skills, an experienced personal injury attorney will help you secure better terms or reach more favorable settlement agreements.

The Gap Between Settlement Funds And Medical Bills

The Gap Between Settlement Funds And Medical Bills

The injured party’s medical bills can exceed the settlement amount for various reasons. Understanding the causes of this gap and its potential consequences will help you reach better terms during negotiations for settlement.

The most common reason for this gap is underestimating future medical expenses. Sometimes, it may be difficult to accurately predict the potential medical expenses at the time of settlement. Hence, the settlement amount may not be enough to cover your eventual medical expenses if the injury becomes more complicated or takes longer than expected. Additionally, the settlement amount may not cover the entire medical expenses if you fail to document or present some part of the bills.

Sometimes, the final settlement amount depends on the maximum amount the defendant’s health insurance provider can provide. If the medical expenses exceed the insurance policy limits, you may be left with extra medical costs to clear.

A report by Gitnux reveals that people generally receive bigger settlement amounts in car accident cases when they involve an attorney. According to the report, the average settlement for car accident cases involving an attorney was $77,600. That’s over 300% more than the average of $18,000 for cases that didn’t involve an attorney. Hence, it’s recommended to always work with a personal injury lawyer or car accident attorney to maximize your settlement amount.

When Can I Apply For Pre-Settlement Funding?

When Can I Apply For Pre-Settlement Funding?

You can apply for pre-settlement funding when you need immediate financial assistance while waiting for the outcome of your settlement. A pre-settlement funding or lawsuit loan is a cash advance for plaintiffs seeking financial aid while awaiting the outcome of their settlement. Here, a pre-settlement funding company provides you with immediate cash to cover pressing costs such as basic needs, medical expenses, and legal fees.

Unlike traditional loans which require your credit history, income, collateral, and other relevant documents for qualification, pre-settlement loan companies consider your application based on how likely you are to win the case. Also, pre-settlement funding is a non-recourse loan, so you only pay back the settlement if you win the case.

Factors that Determine The Settlement Amount

As a plaintiff, you need to know the factors that determine the amount of money you receive, especially for a car accident or personal injury settlement. The aim of considering these factors is to ascertain that the victim receives befitting compensation for their losses. An understanding of these factors equips you with the right knowledge to pursue due compensation. Such factors include:

  • The severity of damages including physical injuries and financial damages
  • Non-economic damages, such as emotional pain and suffering
  • The strength of the evidence against the defendant
  • Negotiation skills of the plaintiff or their legal representative
  • The cost of medical treatment
  • The clarity of the fault
  • Punitive damages in cases of obvious reckless actions by the defendant
  • Reduced earning capacity or lost wages
  • Insurance policy limits of the defendant 
  • Public interest

How to Apply for Pre-settlement Funding: The Application Process

How to Apply for Pre-settlement Funding: The Application Process

To obtain a pre-settlement loan successfully, you need to understand the application process and the requirements you should fulfill. Here are the steps you should take for a successful application.

  1. Do Your Research: Check out different reputable lawsuit loan companies. You should pay attention to their terms and conditions, repayment terms, interest rates, and other potential fees. Transparency is key. Hence, confirm that there are no hidden terms or charges.
  2. Discuss With Your Attorney: It’s advisable to review your case thoroughly with your attorney before you apply. Collaborate with your attorney to ascertain if getting a lawsuit loan is the best option for you. Additionally, consider the potential settlement amount so that you won’t have to spend the whole settlement money paying medical bills and repaying the loan.
  3. Collect Relevant Information: Find out all the necessary details and documents you need to provide for the application. For personal injury cases, the pre-settlement company may require:
    • Your contact details
    • Your attorney’s contact details
    • Government-approved ID such as driver’s license or passport
    • Information about your case and financial needs, such as approved medical reports, financial statements, proof of damages or injury, etc.
  4. Fill and Submit Your Application: For most reputable pre-settlement funding companies like Stonewood Funding, this is where your actual application starts as the other prior processes are background work. Visit the pre-settlement funding company’s website and fill out the application form. For Stonewood Funding, this takes only a few minutes. Submit the required documents and attach other documents relevant to your application, such as your f
  5. Review the Offer and Finalize the Agreement: If the company approves your application, be sure to review the funding offer before you sign. Pay close attention to the terms for repayment and interest rates. It’s best to consult with your attorney for a more objective assessment of the offer to be sure it aligns with your goals. If you decide to go ahead, you sign the agreement and the company disburses the funds to you. Depending on the company, it may take a few hours to a few days before the money gets to you. If you need the money urgently, you can apply for our same-day pre-settlement loans and you’ll get funded within 24 hours if you qualify.

Questions to Ask Before Signing For a Pre-Settlement 

Regardless of the financial pressure you may be facing, you should not be in a hurry to sign a pre-settlement funding agreement. You need to fully understand the terms of the agreement to be sure you’re on the right track. Ask important questions such as:

  • What are the fees and interest rates?
  • Are there any hidden costs?
  • What is the total repayment amount?
  • Do you have restrictions on how to use the funding?
  • What happens if I lose the case?
  • Is the funding non-recourse?
  • What is the repayment process?
  • How long is the repayment period?
  • Is negotiation of terms possible?
  • If the case takes longer than expected, are there additional implications or fees?
  • How long does it take to get the funds when it is approved?

How to Manage Your Settlement Fund

How to Manage Your Settlement Fund

Sometimes, poor management creates a gap between settlement funds and medical bills. You need to learn effective strategies for spending your settlement money to ensure that it covers your medical expenses, both in the present and the future. Your settlement money can also cater to your well-being and help you regain financial stability after a car accident or personal injury.

Start by prioritizing your expenses in the right order. For instance, it may be better to clear your medical bills or high-interest debts before considering savings. Next, create a comprehensive budget for the settlement money. Budgeting prevents careless spending. Be sure to include potential additional medical expenses in case the issues escalate.

If you still have some money after settling pressing needs, consider investing some part of the settlement amount. Investing is a good way to secure your future and let your money work for you. You can minimize investment risks by investing in different asset classes to diversify your portfolio. However, make sure you understand how the investment works and consider your risk tolerance.

Moreover, plan for long-term financial coverage such as insurance. If you do not have your own auto insurance policy for your vehicles or health insurance for your family, consider setting them up immediately. While auto insurance protects you against an unexpected car accident, health insurance can cover medical payments.

Get Approved for Post Settlement Funding

If your medical bills are more than your settlement, it may mean out-of-pocket expenses for you. But with the strategies covered in this blog, you can minimize the financial burden and maximize your settlement money.

Meanwhile, you don’t have to suffer financial stress for your medical bills while waiting for your settlement. Our pre-settlement loans at Stonewood Funding can provide you with the cash advance you need to sort your bills and take care of yourself before you receive your settlement check. Schedule a free consultation with us today to discuss your lawsuit loan or apply online immediately.

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