Right after a car accident, you may be injured. That means that you begin accruing medical expenses almost immediately after the accident. However, it may take weeks or longer for all of the insurance paperwork to be properly handled before an insurance company will reimburse you for your ongoing medical expenses.
In this article, we are going to look at Florida law in connection with car accidents and discuss who is responsible for medical bills after an accident. If after reading this blog, you have additional questions about your own circumstances, we welcome you to contact the seasoned car accident attorneys at Crary Buchanan. At Crary Buchanan, we are proud of our standard of excellence, which has allowed us to thrive as one of the oldest law firms on Florida’s Treasure Coast.
Our personal injury attorneys are passionate about giving you the highest quality representation. Call us today at 772-287-2600, or schedule a free estate planning to consult online with our online contact form.
Florida Is a No-Fault State, Does that Matter?
The fact that Florida is a no-fault state does have implications in connection with the question of who pays medical bills after a car accident.
To begin, no-fault insurance means that regardless of who is at fault for the car accident, the drivers involved in the accident will look to their own insurance companies to recover for losses.
There is an exception, however, for severe or permanent injuries. If you suffer from a severe or permanent injury – one that meets the definition of a “qualifying injury” under Florida law – then you can bring a claim against the driver who was at fault. That claim would typically be a personal injury lawsuit. And through the lawsuit, you can determine who pays your medical bills.
What Injuries Stay in the No-Fault System?
As noted, claims involving severe injuries that are “qualifying injuries” under Florida law can be pursued outside of the no-fault process. Otherwise, you need to find out who is responsible for your medical bills through the no-fault system.
The order of recovery under Florida’s no-fault system is as follows:
1. First, you look to personal injury protection insurance, otherwise known as PIP insurance.
2. Next, there may be MedPay supplemental insurance available to you.
3. Then, you would turn to your own health insurance policy for medical bill coverage.
4. Finally, you would need to turn to your own personal savings.
1. PIP Protection
PIP insurance is at the heart of Florida’s no-fault insurance system. When you are in an accident, PIP insurance pays your medical bills. The PIP insurance will pay regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
Typically, PIP insurance pays for 80% of your medical bills up to your policy limit. Keep in mind, however, that there may be a deductible with your PIP insurance coverage.
With regard to the kind of medical treatment that is covered, PIP insurance is required to cover the following medical services:
7. Hospital, and
8. Nursing services.
It is important to note, however, that PIP requires a doctor’s order for medical expenses to be covered, acupuncture and massage therapy, unfortunately, are not covered by PIP insurance, nor is a self-inflicted injury during the commission of a felony.
As with other types of insurance, the insurance company should pay as you are receiving your medical bills, provided that you forward the bills to the PIP insurance company.
2. What is MedPay?
MedPay is an optional coverage that supplements PIP, and will cover the medical invoices that your PIP insurance will not cover. Thus, MedPay will fill in to cover the remaining 20% of your medical bills that PIP does not take care of.
3. Health Insurance
Once you exhaust the limits of your PIP coverage and MedPay (if applicable), then you would turn to your health care insurance coverage.
4. Out of Pocket
There is a chance that your health insurance may not be able to pick up the rest of the tab, leaving you to pay the rest of your medical bills out of pocket.
That is why it is important to think about the extent of your PIP and MedPay coverage, to try to avoid having to pay out of pocket.
Outside the No-Fault System
Finally, as noted, if your car accident injuries are very serious, and/or permanent, then you can go outside the no-fault system and bring a personal injury lawsuit directly against the other driver, or have your car accident attorney reach out to the other driver’s insurance to work out a settlement.
Let the Car Accident Attorneys at Crary Buchanan Help You.
Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of personal injury and wrongful death in the nation. Many factors can contribute to a traffic accident, but as noted the primary reason is negligence. Drivers are negligent in a variety of ways. A driver who falls asleep may be considered negligent. When a careless driver causes an accident, you can pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
It doesn’t matter what type of injury you sustained. You have the right to seek compensation if another driver caused you injury – even if you were partially responsible for the accident. Automobile and truck accident injuries can lead to a variety of expenses, and a personal injury claim can compensate you for these costs. Yet, you need the right legal advocate on your side to get full and fair compensation for your damages. If you or someone you love suffered an injury, speak with a Stuart, Martin County personal injury attorney from Crary Buchanan. We want to help you recover the money you need.
At Crary Buchanan, we are committed to providing clients with exceptional service in every aspect of personal injury law. You can depend upon our 85 years of experience in the Florida legal industry.
Our clients are more than case numbers; they are people. We recognize that you are an individual with unique needs and expectations. Our team is here to meet your need and exceed your expectations. When you work with us, you can have confidence that a caring legal advocate is on your side.
There is no need to be intimidated by making a personal injury claim after an auto or truck accident when you have the support of the talented team at Crary Buchanan. If you have more questions or want a dedicated personal injury attorney to help you, call 772-287-2600 or schedule a free consult online with our online contact form. You can always depend on Crary Buchanan for community, experience, and trust. Call today.