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Who Pays for Medical Bills After a Car Accident in Florida?

Tampa car accident lawyer explains how compensation works for injury victims

More than 250,000 people each year sustain an injury in a car accident in Florida, according to statewide accident statistics compiled by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).

Many of those injuries are serious and extensive medical attention, including emergency medical care at Tampa General Hospital or another nearby medical facility. When this happens, medical expenses can add up fast.

That’s why it’s critical that you understand how compensation works for medical bills for car accidents in Florida. Otherwise, you could end up having to pay for your car crash out of your own pocket. Our Tampa car accident attorneys at Armando Personal Injury Law understand how the system works and can help you every step of the way.

Florida is a no-fault car insurance state

When it comes to financial compensation for car accidents in Florida, it’s critical that you understand how the state’s car insurance system functions. Florida has a no-fault system when it comes to car insurance. That means you file a claim with your own insurance company first, regardless of who caused the accident.

What is PIP coverage and does it cover car accident medical bills?

Personal injury protection (PIP) is mandatory in Florida. PIP covers your medical expenses and certain other costs, such as a percentage of lost income, up to the applicable policy limit. The legally required PIP coverage in Florida is $10,000. You must file the claim within 14 days of the crash.

PIP insurance pays for a wide range of accident-related expenses, including money for medical bills and other medical-related expenses. However, there are limits on what PIP actually covers in Florida. First, PIP only covers reasonable and related medical care from the accident. Additionally, a Medical Doctor, ARNP or Chiropractor must certify that you have suffered an Emergency Medical Condition from the accident to open up the $10,000.00 of coverage. Next, PIP only covers 80% of your medical costs (unless you paid for “Med Pay”). Finally, if your injury is not considered an emergency, then you may be limited to $2,500 in PIP benefits.

If your injury is severe, then your medical expenses will certainly exceed the limits of your PIP insurance. Beyond that, you need other sources of compensation for your medical bills.

The high cost of medical expenses after a car accident

Medical expenses associated with a motor vehicle accident can cover a wide range, including but not limited to:

  • Ambulance fees.
  • Emergency room expenses.
  • Diagnostic medical tests, including radiology tests, such as X-Rays and MRIs.
  • Surgical procedures, including emergency surgery in cases involving internal bleeding and organ damage.
  • Hospitalization fees, especially for overnight stays.
  • Follow-up doctor’s appointments.
  • Future surgical procedures, such as follow-up surgery for back injuries or neck injuries associated with a car accident.
  • Prescription medications, including medications to treat chronic pain.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Home health care.
  • Home modifications, such as installing a wheelchair ramp.
  • Medical equipment, including prosthetic devices and wheelchairs.

Who’s responsible for paying for my car accident medical expenses?

In most cases, your car insurance company will pay for your medical bills first, through your PIP coverage. However, it’s likely that your medical expenses can add up to more than what’s covered by your car insurance policy.

So what happens then? Your health insurance, if you have it, may cover your medical expenses. Whether injuries sustained in a car wreck are covered by health insurance depends on the policy language.

In addition, the other driver (and their insurance company) will be responsible, if they were at fault for the accident; however, they generally won’t pay until your case is resolved. If the other driver doesn’t have bodily injury liability insurance (which is quite common, because this insurance is not required in Florida), then your own uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, if you have it, will pay for your medical expenses. Either way, you need to prove that the other driver was at fault.

In the meantime, your attorney may be able to work out a “treat now, pay later” arrangement with your healthcare providers known as an attorney’s medical lien. This means you won’t have to pay out of pocket. Instead, your healthcare providers will be paid out of your eventual settlement or verdict, if you win your case.

Is there a cap on compensation for medical bills in Florida?

Legally, there is no cap on how much money you can receive for medical expenses associated with your car accident in Florida. Practically speaking, however, there is only a finite amount of insurance available. Your own car insurance policy has a limit on how much it will pay. So does the at-fault driver’s insurance, if any.

That’s one reason you need an experienced attorney advocating for your rights throughout your car accident claim or lawsuit. We can investigate to find all available sources of compensation for your medical expenses. We are also adept at negotiating with both insurance companies and healthcare providers to find the best possible resolution for our clients.

What happens if my medical expenses increase in the future?

Many serious car accident injuries have long-term financial consequences. You may have chronic pain or a long-term disability, or your injuries may increase the risk you will need surgery or other medical procedures in the future.

In principle, this doesn’t matter. You are entitled to compensation for all of your medical costs, past, present, and future. But once your case settles, that’s it. You can’t keep going back to the well for more money in the future, even if your expenses increase.

This is why it’s critical that your car accident claim takes into account future anticipated medical expenses. Your lawyer can do this on your behalf and negotiate a better settlement offer before you agree to accept it.

Can I file a lawsuit to pay for my car accident medical expenses?

Because Florida is a no-fault state for car accidents, you need to meet the “serious injury” threshold to file a lawsuit. That means your injuries must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function,
  • Permanent injury (within reasonable medical certainty),
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement, or
  • Fatal injury.

Even if you meet the threshold, filing a successful car accident lawsuit in Florida can often be very challenging. Sometimes, it’s because the other driver denies doing anything wrong. Other times, it’s the at-fault driver’s insurance company that does everything they can to deny responsibility.

You also need to keep in mind that Florida has deadlines for taking legal action in response to a car accident. In most cases, you have four (4) years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. But just because you have four years does not mean you should wait that long. The sooner you take action, the stronger your legal case.

Why should I hire a Tampa car accident attorney?

The financial impact of a car accident in Florida can add up fast, especially if you or a loved one sustained a serious injury that requires extensive medical care. When this happens, the last thing you should have to worry about is how to pay for such medical expenses. You should simply be focused on getting better and getting the best possible medical care.

Our law firm can focus on demanding the financial compensation you deserve for your medical bills, including the cost of potential future medical expenses. Tampa car accident attorney Armando Edmiston and our entire legal team have dedicated our careers to demanding the maximum financial compensation for injury victims and their families. As a result, we thoroughly understand how the legal system works when it comes to paying for medical care for car accidents in Florida.

Put your trust in a law firm that puts your needs first. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a Tampa car accident lawyer dedicated to serving your legal needs. We can answer your questions, explain your options and get right to work on your case.

Armando Personal Injury Law – we make your problems our problems.

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