When a Georgia resident sustains one or more injuries in an accident that another person’s negligence caused, the injured party has the right to pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. The expectation is that the injured person will use the monetary award to pay off the medical bills and other expenses that are the result of the injury. Unfortunately, personal injury cases can take months or even years to settle. How then are injured parties supposed to manage medical debt in the meantime?

According to FindLaw, injured persons have one of two options for managing medical debt before a personal injury lawsuit settles. The first is to utilize one’s own medical coverage. There are four main types of coverage a person may use to cover the cost of medical care: standard health insurance, Personal Injury Protection coverage, Medical Payments coverage or workers’ compensation. The second is to make arrangements with one’s medical provider, hospital, therapist or other facility or service provider in which the injured party agrees to pay for services rendered upon receipt of the settlement money.

FindLaw warns that if one uses health coverage of any kind to cover the cost of medical expenses while a case is pending, the health insurance company has the right to take part of the accident settlement. The courts refer to the process of recovering money owed via a settlement as subrogation. The concept supporting subrogation is that an injured person should not have his or her medical expenses paid twofold — once by the insurer and once via court-awarded damages.