Resources for Injured Victims
After a car accident, a personal injury claim can help you seek compensation for your injuries. Unfortunately, you will also need to survive financially while you wait for your settlement. In some cases, it can take months or years for people to receive a settlement from their personal injury case.
While the courts slowly sort out who is responsible, you still need to take care of your medical costs. You may need to repair your car, replace lost wages and cover healthcare expenses. Even though your bills keep piling up, it might be impossible to work for a long time after a car accident.
Luckily, there are a few ways you can seek financial assistance after an injury. While nothing can really make you whole again after a wreck, the right resources can help you cover some of your costs. Through the right help, you can survive financially until the insurance company is finally ready to sign your settlement paperwork.
How to Get Healthcare Options
Often, people will lose their healthcare coverage when they are unable to work. Because health insurance is linked to your employment status, you will need to find an alternative source of insurance after an accident. Luckily, California has a few options that can help.
Extended Coverage Options
Because the federal government passed the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) in 1986, workers are able to get 18 months of extended coverage after they lose their jobs. If you live in California, you can use Cal-COBRA for up to 36 months after you leave your place of employment. Other than layoffs, you may also be covered following a divorce or a different qualifying event.
The federal COBRA rules require employers to offer COBRA coverage if they employ at least 20 workers. In comparison, California’s rules are much broader. If a workplace provides two or more workers with health insurance, they must offer Cal-COBRA coverage.
Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program. It is designed to cover low-income adults. If you are eligible, you can get free or low-cost care. To see if you are covered, you can go to this website. Then, you must insert your household size, location, income and coverage year. If you are no longer working because of a car accident, you may be able to get free health insurance.
Why Is Health Insurance Important After an Accident?
The first reason why healthcare matters is the most obvious one. In order to recover from an accident, you need to go to a doctor and get the right treatment. Additionally, you will need to get checked out by a medical professional in order to prove your injuries.
Health insurance can also reduce the amount you have to pay for medical costs. Often, health insurance policies will include options for emergency services and accident insurance. If you are uncertain about what type of coverage your plan offers, you can always call your insurance company and ask a few questions.
The nice thing about health insurance is that you can submit a claim without having to deal with your car insurance company. While your personal injury claim works its way through the courts, you can get some money to cover your initial medical bills. Sometimes, your health insurance claim can impact your car insurance claim. Because of this, you should talk to a personal injury lawyer before you make any decisions about your next step.
How to Get Financial Assistance
There are a number of different resources that can help you stay afloat while your personal injury case goes through the legal system. The state government has some programs in place to help low-income households, but you must meet certain income guidelines to access these programs. Additionally, you can get help through charitable organizations and pre-settlement loans.
State and Federal Options
The kind of financial assistance you get really depends on your situation. If you are permanently disabled, you may qualify for Social Security benefits. Because Social Security’s approval process can take months or years to complete, you will need alternative resources as well. The following list includes some of the most popular government programs.
- BenefitsCal: This program can help you figure out which programs you are eligible for.
- CalFresh: Also known as food stamps, CalFresh helps people who have a limited income. A single person can get up to $234 a month to buy food.
- ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions: This organization provides credit counseling to people who need help.
- Free school lunches: If you have children, there are programs for free lunches during the school year and summertime.
- California’s Low Cost Auto (CLCA) insurance program: CLCA is run by the state. It offers residents low-cost car insurance as long as they meet certain requirements.
- CalCAPA: This organization can help you get rental and utility assistance.
- Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program: WIC provides food items to young children and pregnant women.
- Department of Community Services and Development: This department can help you access energy assistance for your home and low-income weatherization programs.
Other than state and federal options, you can also get help through a charitable organization. Your lawyer is not legally allowed to lend you money following an accident. Instead, they can help you access a list of local resources. To find out what kind of options are available in your area, you can always ask your personal injury attorney if they know about any charitable organizations that can help.
If nothing else seems to work, a pre-settlement loan may be able to help you out. This source of financial assistance is based on the amount of money you are going to get in your settlement. Some lenders are willing to loan money in advance because they expect you to get a settlement later on.
While each lender is different, they tend to use a similar application process. Normally, lenders start by reviewing the details involved in your case. They have a lot of experience looking at these types of cases, so they can estimate how much they think you will eventually get.
Once they have prepared an estimate, you can choose whether you want to accept their offer. If you take money from the lender, you will have to repay the lending company whenever you eventually get your settlement. One of the downsides to pre-settlement loans is how expensive they are. Normally, the lender will charge a monthly fee or a flat rate for the loan. If you end up receiving a smaller settlement than you expected, you will still have to repay the entire amount of the original loan.
On the bright side, pre-settlement loans come with a few benefits. Most of these loans only require repayment if you get a settlement or win your personal injury claim. If you lose your personal injury case, you do not have to pay the loan back.
Should You Get a Pre-settlement Loan?
There are no hard and fast rules about pre-settlement loans. If you are struggling and need financial assistance, these types of loans might be your best option. It is important to be especially cautious about requesting a pre-settlement loan because there are predatory lenders out there. Before you sign any paperwork, you need to thoroughly research the lender and read through all of the important details.
How Long Does It Take to Get Pre-settlement Funds?
Each funding company is different, but most lenders can get you money within a few days. Initially, the underwriters will ask your lawyer questions about your case. Then, it takes just 48 hours to get a quote.
How Much Does It Cost to Apply?
You should never have to pay for your application. Depending on the lender, you may have to pay a flat fee or a monthly cost after your loan is approved. Other than this amount, you will not have to pay the loan back until your settlement is finished. Afterward, you must repay the pre-settlement loan.
Begin Recovering From Your Car Accident Today
As you wait for a personal injury claim to work its way through the legal system, there are additional resources you can use to get help. Many charitable organizations have programs for people who need financial help. In addition, there are many state and federal programs as well.
No one truly recovers from the financial, physical and emotional devastation that happens after a car accident. Through a personal injury claim, you can recuperate some of your losses and begin trying to rebuild your life. To learn more about how JT Legal Group can help your case, call us today.