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Side Effects of Injury: Medical Debts, Credit Reporting, and Credit Scores

Medical Bill Attorney Indianapolis

Benjamin Franklin famously quipped that there are only two constants in life: death and taxes. He was only partially correct. Death and taxes are definitely constants, but so are credit scores. The world runs on credit, and credit runs on credit scores. When someone suffers a serious injury, they have a number of immediate concerns. They wonder what medical treatment they’ll need and how much it will cost, how much work they’ll miss, whether they should hire a lawyer and if so who, and many other things. Because of that, it’s not surprising that most injured people don’t spare a thought for how the accident and its aftermath might affect their credit score. But the reality is, even if paid in full by insurance or through the lawsuit, the medical debt incurred can be a major drag on the unfortunate person’s credit score.

There are three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Creditors—banks, credit card companies, and, yes, even hospitals—report debts to these agencies. They, in turn, maintain credit reports on everyone in the country. The information contained in those reports are used to generate credit scores—a numerical representation of an individual’s creditworthiness. Contrary to popular belief, there are multiple ways to calculate a credit score. The most common are produced by FICO and VantageScore—but even these entities have produced multiple formulae. Even when credit scores are not used, different entities—insurance companies, banks, credit card companies, etc.—view certain types of information differently. The result is that the same medical bill can have wildly different effects on one’s creditworthiness depending on which entity you ask. To add to the menagerie of ways in which medical debt may be treated, medical providers can vary significantly in how long they wait to report those debts to credit reporting agencies. The bottom line: even the most responsible person can have a credit report scuttled by large medical debt, and it can be difficult to know when that debt will even show up on one’s credit report.

Fortunately, as of September 2017, the major credit reporting agencies are changing how they deal with medical debt. They will roll out a new policy that keeps medical debt off credit reports for 180 days. That six month period is designed to give patients the opportunity to resolve payment disputes with providers and insurance companies—and personal injury defendants. More importantly, it provides some much-needed uniformity. Starting in September, patients can be confident that their medical debts will not show up on their credit reports for at least six months.

But that doesn’t resolve all of the problems with medical debt and credit reports. It is still treated very differently depending on which scoring model is used or which entity is reviewing the credit report. That means it is all the more important for someone who has been injured to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. That attorney will be able to help you ensure that you recover for your injuries and put you in the best possible position to have medical debts paid off before that six month period elapses.

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FAQs
Our Fees

It cost $0 up front to hire our office. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we settle your case or obtain a verdict on your behalf.

If we’re unable to obtain a settlement of verdict for you we eat the costs we’ve advanced to litigate your case, which includes costs for ordering medical records, filing your case, hiring experts, deposing witnesses, and many other things.

If we do settle your case or obtain a verdict for you our standard rate is 33% of the settlement or verdict, plus reimbursement for the expense we’ve previously advanced. Our fee never increases like some personal injury attorneys, even if we have to take your case to trial.

Our Fees

It cost $0 up front to hire our office. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we settle your case or obtain a verdict on your behalf.

If we’re unable to obtain a settlement of verdict for you we eat the costs we’ve advanced to litigate your case, which includes costs for ordering medical records, filing your case, hiring experts, deposing witnesses, and many other things.

If we do settle your case or obtain a verdict for you our standard rate is 33% of the settlement or verdict, plus reimbursement for the expense we’ve previously advanced. Our fee never increases like some personal injury attorneys, even if we have to take your case to trial.

Case Worth

As a victim, establishing damages, negotiating with the insurance company, or filing a lawsuit can be daunting and next to impossible without the assistance of an experienced lawyer. As a result, if you have been hurt in an accident, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled under Indiana law.

Why Hire?

Choosing an attorney that has experience dealing with personal injury law is important to protect your legal rights. If you are trying to recover damages from a business or other type of organization, you can bet that they are going to have a legal team on their side.

Medical Bills

If you were injured by an accident you may be struggling to determine who is responsible for paying your medical bills and holding them accountable. Speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer at The Law Office of William W. Hurst and learn if we may be able to help.

Recovery

After you have been injured, you are entitled to compensation. The type and amount of compensation depends on the injury, bills, the cause of the injury, negligence/bad faith of the defendant, etc. The attorney you retain can also heavy influence your recovery through knowledge, experience, and dedication. Legal terms and phrases can be confusing even after you retain an attorney. If you have been injured, you may wonder how much your case is worth or what your “damages” are. The worse the injuries, the higher the value of the case and the greater need for an experienced attorney