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Truck accidents can be devastating to your credit. Here are five steps to avoid credit damage after your truck accident.

Trucking accidents frequently cause severe injury, the assessment of large deductibles in medical health insurance coverage, and treatment not normally covered by a person’s health insurance. Truck companies will rarely pay for medical expenses in advance of settlement of the entire case. What can you do to protect your credit?

Hospitals and medical providers often treat victims of truck accidents in California immediately after an accident. Hospitals are entitled to assert a lien on the recovery a victim may have from a truck accident, but in the meantime, that same hospital may report you for failing to pay for your medical treatment. Here are five steps you should take to preserve your credit.

First, immediately notify your health care provider or hospital of your health insurance, and ask that they bill your health insurance carrier. Confirm in writing that you have reported this information and whom you talked to and when. This will not only preserve the record in the event that you have to discuss the matter with a credit-reporting agency later if you need to seek reversal of a credit ding, but it also provides documentation of your effort to see that your medical bills are paid properly.

Second, if you are a Medi-cal or Medicare recipient in California, it is important to inform the health care provider or hospital of your coverage. Most medical providers must accept Medi-cal or Medicare, or waive their right to report you to a credit agency. By reporting you to a credit agency, the hospital or medical provider actually has committed an error, which can not only subject them to fines by Medi-cal and Medicare, but also clear your credit report. However, your failure to provide Medi-cal or Medicare information to the hospital or medical provider will not allow you to seize on this opportunity.

Third, if you have medical payments coverage under your automobile policy take advantage of those payments to sprinkle money to the various health care providers in the even that you do not have health care insurance or the deductibles are too high. By delaying full payment, but making partial payments, hospitals and medical providers are reluctant to send the matter to collections where they lose 25% to 40% of the value of the amount due.

Fourth, even if you do not have any medical payments coverage, sprinkling small payments to hospitals, ambulance companies and other medical care providers while your truck accident case is pending will generally keep those bills from being sent to collection. As long as an account appears active, health care providers are reluctant to send the matter to collection. Therefore, even making a small payment, is better than ignoring the obligation and allowing it to go to collection.

Finally, hire an attorney to negotiate a lien. Attorneys familiar with truck accident cases know how to communicate with hospitals and medical providers to assert, or ask that they accept, a lien in payment of a case. It becomes crucial that you hire the competent qualified attorney to negotiate this lien. There are many attorneys who have never negotiated such a lien, and are unfamiliar with the process. Additionally, an attorney’s reputation is very important because medical providers who have been burned in the past by improper conduct on the part of attorneys have little success obtaining liens in later cases. A competent California truck accident attorney with a good reputation can generally get the hospital, medical provider and even medical treatment on a lien basis, which provides you with the necessary treatment without damaging your credit. At the end of your case, the medical bills and expenses are then paid.

Frequently clients call us after they have hired an attorney not competent to handle their truck accident and when their credit has been destroyed, therefore it is important to ascertain from the attorneys’ office their willingness to establish a lien when you interview with them and their experience in handling this type of case and others.

Allan, Flatt, Ballidis, & Leslie has been in practice for 35 years and we share an excellent reputation with health care providers and hospitals throughout California. As an attorney competent and capable of handling truck accidents and personal injury cases, we strive to provide you a smoother pathway fby getting liens accepted by health care providers and hospitals.

If you have been involved in a truck accident, do not hesitate to call a competent truck accident attorney to discuss your recovery, and how you may preserve your credit.

by James E. Ballidis

James Ballidis is the managing attorney for Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie and has been practicing personal injury law for 25 years.

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