How Do my Medical Bills From a Car Accident Get Paid?

closeup image of car accident

Have you been hurt in a car accident?  You may be wondering who will pay for your medical bills from a car accident.  The answer?  It depends on the insurance laws in your state, specifically if your accident happened in a no-fault or at-fault state.  In a no-fault state, it depends on the amount of personal injury protection you purchased on your auto insurance coverage.  In Florida, the amount your insurance company will pay to cover your medical expenses depends on the details of your insurance policy and the limits you purchased.

Florida is a No-Fault Insurance State

Currently Florida, along with Puerto Rico and 11 other states, have no-fault automobile insurance laws.  Instead of submitting a claim under the insurance company of the at-fault driver, as is the case in many states.  Florida driver’s involved in a car accidents must recover expenses from their own insurance company. Additionally, in a no-fault insurance state, driver’s injuries must meet a threshold of severity in order to sue for pain and suffering.

However, many times a serious injury can go above and beyond the policy limits purchased in a basic insurance policy.  In order to save money, many Florida drivers do not purchase insurance limits above the minimum required $10,000 policy limit for bodily injury or personal injury protection (PIP).

What is PIP?

Personal injury protection or PIP is a mandatory requirement for all Florida drivers purchasing an auto insurance policy and covers your medical expenses in the event of a car accident.

Some additional facts about PIP include:

  • If you are involved in a car accident, your insurance company, regardless of who is at fault, pays PIP benefits.
  • It is required under Florida law for drivers to have $10,000 limit of PIP insurance
  • PIP does not cover 100 percent of all expenses, in fact, PIP insurance only pays for 80 percent of medical bills and only 60 percent of lost wages up to $10,000. Leaving many Florida drivers to cover additional expenses out of pocket.
  • PIP insurance can be used in any accident involving a vehicle. This also includes  if you are a pedestrian or bicyclist struck by a vehicle.

What happens if my medical expenses exceed my PIP insurance coverage?

Since PIP insurance only covers 80 percent of medical expenses up to the limits purchased in your automobile insurance policy, many injured Florida drivers are left responsible for their medical bills from a car accident.

If you have private health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, those policies will kick in after reaching the PIP limit to cover healthcare expenses related to a car accident injury.  However, if you do not have any health insurance, you will be held responsible for medical bills related to your injuries.

Florida’s Injury Threshold

Additionally, since Florida is a no fault state, Florida drivers waive their rights to sue at-fault drivers unless certain injury thresholds occur as a result of the car accident.  Unfortunately, only in cases of permanent injury can Florida drivers bring a claim for a car accident injury against the at-fault driver.  Florida’s “Injury Threshold” goes into effect only for injuries from the accident that are considered permanent, such as disfigurement or scarring or when important bodily functions are lost.

This is where a dedicated trial attorney can help recoup monies needed in your recovery process.  Discuss your rights to damages with a professional attorney can also aide in recouping costs associated with auto accident injuries.

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