Injuries sustained in a car accident can range from minor to devastating. On top of that, the medical treatment you receive may be costly and leave you wondering who pays for medical bills in a car accident in Florida.
Our car accident lawyers will review key things to know.
How Are Medical Bills Paid After a Car Accident?
In a car accident, who pays the medical bills is a function of the parties’ insurance.
Florida is a “no-fault” state, which means that if a car accident occurs, both parties can file a claim with their respective auto insurance companies to receive compensation. Every Florida driver has to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance included in their car insurance policy.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance
PIP insurance is required under Florida law with a minimum of $10,000 coverage on the policy. This insurance was designed to act as an extension of your auto insurance policy and cover medical expenses incurred after an auto accident.
Expenses covered by PIP include:
- Professional medical care,
- Non-emergency medical care,
- Lost wages due to injury,
- Death benefits, and
- Other related expenses.
PIP covers 80 percent of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses up to $10,000 resulting from a covered injury, no matter who caused the crash. Here are some additional details on what is covered under PIP and to what extent.
Professional Medical Care
PIP covers most medical costs. Florida allows policyholders to choose whether your coverage includes other residents of your household.
Eligible services include:
- Medical services,
- Medications and equipment,
- Diagnostic services,
- Surgery and hospital expenses,
- Rehabilitation costs, and
- Ambulance services.
PIP does not cover other services, such as acupuncture and massage; these can be paid out of pocket or through your health insurance.
Sometimes serious injuries occur, but the severity isn’t understood immediately and you don’t need emergency care. Unfortunately, PIP covers only $2,500 worth of benefits in Florida for non-emergency medical costs.
When considering who pays for medical bills for a car accident in Florida, it is worth noting that if you suspect you have an injury, you may want to go in for emergency care.
Lost Wages and Economic Hardship
Florida PIP will cover 60 percent of your lost wages due to your inability to work because of injury. There is a $10,000 limit on this compensation. The payment also includes the cost of help with services that you can no longer complete—like laundry, housework, pet care, and other normal tasks.
If the PIP policyholder did not survive the car accident, the insurance covers funeral and burial expenses. This is in addition to the above costs if incurred before death. The next of kin would be the beneficiaries of $5,000 in PIP death benefits.
Filing a PIP Claim in Florida
One of the most important factors when it comes to filing a PIP claim in Florida is timeliness. Treatment for any injuries must happen within two weeks of when the car accident occurred.
Waiting longer than the two-week period will likely bar you from filing your claim. Your PIP insurer has up to 60 days to investigate any fraud or falsehood.
Though unrelated to medical expenses, Florida drivers are also required to carry $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) insurance. Commercial and transport vehicles have different coverage requirements for auto insurance in Florida.
Can You Sue Another Party for Medical Bills from a Car Accident in Florida?
Florida’s no-fault system exists to reduce the amount of personal injury litigation. If you are trying to determine who pays the medical bills in a car accident, you should know that litigation may be an option.
Some situations allow you to sue the negligent party for damages. This occurs when the injuries sustained are severely disfiguring, are permanent, result in death, or result in medical costs that exceed the $10,000 PIP maximum coverage.
You may sue for the additional amount not covered. You may also sue for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, mental anguish, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and more.
Bodily injury liability coverage is an option when purchasing auto insurance, but it’s not mandatory. In case of litigation, bodily injury liability coverage helps cover the medical costs of the injured diver. This keeps you from paying out-of-pocket.
Proving Fault in a Florida Car Accident
If you choose to pursue litigation to pay for your accident-related medical bills, you will have to go through the process of proving that the other driver caused the accident that resulted in your injuries. This requires gathering information and evidence showing that you were not the one at fault.
Florida is a comparative negligence state. Damages are awarded and reduced by your percentage of fault in the accident. When costs exceed PIP coverage, who pays for medical bills for a car accident in Florida may come down to who was the most at fault—or at least who can prove it.
This is where an experienced car accident attorney becomes very important. If you were injured by the negligent act of the other driver but were found 20 percent at fault, your award would be reduced by 20 percent.
Choosing a Florida Car Accident Attorney
No one should suffer more than absolutely necessary after a car accident. And sometimes medical bills can seem just as painful as your injuries.
The Florida personal injury team at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon can negotiate with insurance adjusters to get the most out of your PIP coverage—all the while looking ahead to other remedies if they might be needed. Experience and expertise matter when it comes to personal injury law in Florida.