Why Maximizing the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim Matters
American households are carrying nearly twice as much medical debt as anyone previously believed, according to new research.
In 2016, the estimated medical debt was $81 billion.
Now, the amount Americans owe to hospitals, doctors, specialists, labs, and pharmacies is about $140 billion.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, analysts say. The $140 billion is only counting past-due bills in collections. Unpaid bills that have not been sent to a collections agency and those who paid with a credit card or loan are not included.
In Kansas, about 18% of people have medical debt in collections, according to a LendingTree study. The median amount owed is $824.
This is just one reason why it's so important for car accident victims to recover compensation that considers the full extent of their injuries.
Here's what you should know.
Southern states carry more debt
While medical debt is spread out across the U.S., some states have residents that owe more than others. For the most part, people who have the most medical debt in collections live in southern states that did not expand Medicaid to more low-income people.
Kansas is one of 14 states that has not expanded Medicaid. Past attempts by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly to expand Medicaid coverage to more low-income families have been defeated by the House and Senate.
Without health insurance, people are more likely to fall into medical debt, according to "Medical debt in the U.S., 2009-2020" by Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, and U.S. labor officials.
Many people with medical debt in collections can point to the incidents that got them there. In a national survey of people with unpaid bills, the most common service, or services, used by people just before spiraling into medical debt are:
- 65% say their medical debt started with doctor visits
- 65%, diagnostic tests
- 64%, lab fees
- 61%, emergency room visits
- 52%, prescription drug costs
- 49%, outpatient services
Paying debt with debt
For many people, medical debt means having to make tough spending and lifestyle choices. To pay down their medical debt, many Americans take on other debts, a SingleCare survey says. Respondents with medical debt say they try to pay it down by doing these things
- 70% of people say they cut spending on food, clothing, household items
- 59% use up most or all of their savings
- 41% take another job or work more hours
- 37% borrow money from friends or family
- 34% increase their credit card debt
Who pays for the damages in car accidents?
For many people, medical debt can be unavoidable. The need to treat a sudden illness— whether it's for yourself, your spouse, or your children—can quickly run through a family's savings.
There are other times, though, where the debt is avoidable. People who are injured in car accidents caused by someone else's negligence should not have to pay for expensive, accident-related medical treatments out of pocket. When someone else causes you to be injured, the at-fault party's insurance company is generally responsible for costs like:
- Your current and future medical expenses (e.g., doctor bills, surgery, medical devices, etc.)
- Car repairs
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Your pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The problem is insurance companies are motivated by money, and insurance adjusters are highly trained professionals who know how to minimize the value of your claim to protect their employer's profits. As such, it's common for insurance companies to purposefully delay, downplay, or flat-out reject injury claims for no good reason.
Get a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Kansas
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, the last thing you want to do is get stuck paying out of pocket for your medical bills. You need to seek full compensation for your damages, and a car accident attorney can help. Remember, once you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company—that's it. There are no do-overs, and if the cost of your injury ends up exceeding the amount you previously settled for, you're most likely out of luck.
At Warner Law Offices, our highly skilled legal team has the knowledge, experience, and resources to help you pursue the maximum compensation you're entitled to recover under Kansas law. We also work on contingency, which means there is no upfront money required to hire us, and our legal fee is a percentage of any settlement or court verdict we obtain on your behalf. If we don't win, you pay nothing. It's that easy.
Find out what our law firm can do for you and contact us today for a free consultation. We're located in Wichita and proudly serve clients throughout Kansas.