Struggling with Bills After an Accident?
By Evie Harrison
Last updated 4/14/2020
Summary: There are multiple options you can consider if you've been in an accident and are struggling to pay your bills.
The pain and anguish of an accident can be stressful. But, the aftermath can be even more daunting than the accident itself.
If your accident puts you in bed for an extended period, it is very likely that after you recover, you will have a mounting list of bills to clear.
Whether it’s a credit card, utility, or medical, they can accumulate pretty quickly. Paying those bills gets tougher when you’re without an income because you couldn’t go to work.
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There's A Light At the End of the Tunnel
Though it may feel that the world is out there setting up obstacles for you, it isn’t true. However, there are ways to overcome this temporary financial crisis.
Here are a few tips to help you through your struggles:
1. Prioritize Credit Card Payments
Credit card bills are notorious for escalating existing debts. So the best course of action when it comes to bills is paying off your credit card bill. Even if you cannot pay the whole amount, at least pay the monthly minimum. The last thing you want is getting slapped with a late fee.
If you are facing problems making payments or have just received a late fee, talk to a company representative. Requesting to have a late fee waived-off works for 87% of people. More importantly, discuss lowering the interest rate as well as reducing the annual fee.
2. Apply for Government Programs
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) can help ease some of your financial burdens. The average SSDI for 2020 is $1,258, but these benefits can vary. They are based on average lifetime earnings, not on household income or how severe the injury is.
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However, it can take months before your benefits start coming, and that too if your application is approved. In the meantime, there are other free US government programs and resources that can help you with the bills. For example:
- There is a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to cover the costs of food items such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, bread, and cereal.
- The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can provide you with cover from heating and cooling bills.
3. Define a Budget
Once you start the process of acquiring help from external sources, you will need to calculate the minimum amount in which you can survive and can cover your necessities.
This typically includes groceries, rent, utility bills, transportation, and insurance. All the unnecessary expenses can wait for the time when you can afford them.
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4. Search for More Competitive Rates
Whether it’s an insurance company, mortgage, credit card, or a pre-existing bank loan, these all require fixed monthly installments. Falling behind on payments only adds to your financial strain. You may need to consider refinancing loans to get a better interest rate.
Luckily, there are ways you can do that. You can talk to your service providers and ask for better rates or discounts. Some home and auto insurance companies have cheaper packages. While you’re at it, look for an affordable cell phone plan too.
5. Cut Down on Monthly Expenses
You’ll be surprised how quickly the numbers can add up. Look into all the aspects of your lifestyle and search for ways to pinch those pennies.
Different strategies that can help you to reduce your monthly expenses. Do you need to hold on to your gym and spa memberships right now? Certainly not! Also, eating out can wait until you’re recuperating. So, get rid of those financial burdens.
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6. Look for Ways to Save
Saving every last dime during your rehab should be your top priority. A simple habit of flipping the light switch when leaving the room or turning up the AC thermostat to cut down on your electric bill can save you money.
Grocery shopping is another aspect you can work on right away. Using coupons, registering in loyalty card programs, or buying in bulk from warehouses are easy ways to save money.
Moreover, people can avail discounts when purchasing prescription medicines from warehouse stores such as Costco and Sam’ Club.
7. Sell All the Extras
We are hoarders. We hang on to more belongings than we need. Selling off unnecessary smartphones, electronic devices, household items, jewelry, clothes, etc. is an easy way to generate some much-needed cash.
You may even want to sell your extra car. It will not only slash maintenance costs, but it reduces insurance costs as well.
Should You Consider Going to a Personal Injury Attorney?
Accidents can impact your family life and career, especially if you require lengthy rehabilitation. Your financial condition will also take a hit. Without a job, you can lose your medical insurance. Besides, a person may also suffer a great deal of physical and psychological distress.
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So if you’ve sustained an injury from a car accident, slip/fall, defective products, etc., you will need the help of a personal injury lawyer. Though you may find it to be an additional expense, an experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through legal procedures and financial recourse.
They can help file an insurance claim as well as document various issues you’ve undergone after the accident or injury. Most attorneys have a network of investigators and medical professionals to help build an air-tight case.
Personal injury claims are dealt with as per the state laws. Therefore, hiring a local attorney is important. For instance, a Winter Park personal injury attorney will have insight about the injury laws of Florida, while the one in Dallas will tell you the best course of action as per the Texas state laws.
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Accidents can happen to anyone of us. It’s common for people to struggle with bills along with the psychological distress, post-accident.
There are ways to get you through these tough times. Often, close family members and friends will pitch in to help.
But, remember, any difficulty that comes your way won’t last forever. However, it is always best to have an expert voice guiding you in these testing times.