Car accidents undeniably result in several physical, emotional, and financial hardships. Adding to your concern, the challenges of figuring out who pays medical bills in a car accident in Florida can daunt you.
An accident may leave you with mounting medical expenses, and you might wonder if your insurance company, the other driver, or a combination of both will cover those costs.
You may fear the consequences of these financial burdens on your loved ones, especially if you find yourself unable to work due to your injuries.
When your health and financial future are at stake, you need to know where to turn for advice regarding these complex matters.
At Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers, we understand the challenges you face following a car accident. Our experienced legal team can navigate the insurance claims process, provide answers to your questions, and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
After a motor vehicle accident injury, we recommend you start with a free consultation with a knowledgeable Port Richey car accident attorney to discuss your personal injury matter.
Medical Bills After a Florida Car Accident
After a car accident in Florida, an individual may incur various medical bills depending on the severity and nature of the injuries.
Some common medical expenses following a crash include:
- Emergency medical care: You may need immediate medical attention for serious injuries following a car accident. Emergency visits can cost immense sums, especially if the injured person needs life-saving treatments or surgery. You might also need hospitalization, diagnostic tests, and ambulance transportation.
- Follow-up visits and treatments: The medical treatment you require may extend well beyond your initial hospital visit. You may need further testing, including CT scans, MRIs, or other diagnostic measures to determine the best course of action. This may entail multiple visits with doctors or specialists. Doctors may prescribe you medications to treat pain, inflammation, and other conditions associated with your injuries.
- Surgery: Many car accident victims need surgery, whether life-saving intervention after the traumatic event or corrective procedures due to complications that the accident caused. Even minor surgery can come with a steep price tag, one that many fear they cannot pay without help.
- Occupational therapy: In cases affecting the individual’s ability to perform daily activities or return to work, doctors may prescribe occupational therapy to help them regain mobility and return to the workforce. Unfortunately, not all patients can achieve these outcomes. However, occupational and physical therapy can help many regain agency after severe injuries.
- Mental health care: Never underestimate the emotional impact of a car accident. Injury victims may need therapy or counseling to address mental health concerns, including anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stemming from the accident.
- Assistive care and devices: Occasionally, an accident involving severe or catastrophic injuries will leave an accident victim incapable of caring for themselves as they did before the crash. They may require in-home care or caregiving from family members, which may affect the livelihoods and financial stability of the entire household. Additionally, some will require homes modifications if the accident reduces their mobility, or they may require assistive medical devices such as wheelchairs.
How Florida’s No-Fault Insurance System Affects Your Claim
Following a car accident, after receiving prompt medical treatment, alert your insurance provider about the crash.
Florida follows a no-fault insurance system. This means that regardless of fault for the accident, each driver’s insurance company pays for their own medical expenses and lost income.
Florida requires drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage as part of their auto insurance policy. PIP coverage typically provides benefits for 80 percent of medical expenses and 60 percent of lost income up to the policy limit. (Florida sets a minimum PIP limit of $10,000.) A driver’s PIP insurance also provides limited coverage for lost earning capacity and death benefits of $5,000 per individual.
However, this amount may not cover all your medical bills and lost income, especially if you suffered severe injuries or have a lengthy recovery period. If you lose a loved one to fatal car accident injuries, you’ll certainly require more than the bare minimum of coverage to provide for the surviving family’s needs. You also likely have outstanding medical expenses that factor into your overall damages, including pain and suffering.
When Can You Pursue a Claim Against the At-Fault Driver?
In certain situations, Florida law entitles you to pursue compensation outside the no-fault system and file a claim against the at-fault driver to recover additional reimbursement for your medical bills and other damages.
This right extends to you for permanent injuries are considered or those that meet a specific threshold:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, excluding scarring or disfigurement.
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
If the accident meets one of these criteria, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Or, you may file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
At Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers, our experienced personal injury attorneys can weigh your legal options with your insurance coverage. They will also consider the degree of injury, and determine if your injuries meet the threshold for a third-party claim, and pursue the compensation you deserve.
Health Insurance and Medical Bills
If your PIP coverage will not cover all your medical bills, your health insurance policy may cover your remaining expenses. However, your health insurance company may not cover every expense. Your policy may leave you with outstanding bills. Additional challenges may present themselves if the accident injured passengers in the car.
Our personal injury attorneys can coordinate benefits between your PIP and health insurance policies, covering your medical expenses and protecting your rights. Should your health insurance not cover your total losses, we will explain your options for pursuing additional compensation. A lawyer who can examine your policy and create a strategy around your claim will not leave you high and dry with unexpected expenses or doubts surrounding what compensation you deserve.
Medicare and Medicaid Benefits
Medicare and Medicaid respectively provide health insurance benefits to older adults and low-income individuals, respectively. If you are a Medicare or Medicaid recipient, these government programs may also cover some of your medical bills after a car accident. However, they may limit their coverage depending on your car accident injuries.
Like health insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid may recover the amounts it paid if you receive compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If you receive benefits through either of these programs, you should not assume they will completely cover your healthcare costs following an accident, and if they do, understand that navigating these complex reimbursement claims can challenge you. Our experienced car accident lawyers can protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Another scenario to consider is an uninsured or underinsured at-fault driver. In such cases, you might struggle to recover compensation for your medical bills and other damages from the at-fault driver. To protect yourself in these situations, you can purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage through your auto insurance policy.
Underinsured motorist coverage provides protection if the at-fault driver does not have any auto insurance, while underinsured motorist coverage comes into play if the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits cannot cover your damages. If you have either of these coverages, your insurance company will step in to cover your medical bills and other damages up to your policy limits.
While these coverage benefits may seem like an infallible safety net, Florida law does not required them. You may not consider additional coverage until after a car accident injury. As a result, many continue to risk of getting into a motor vehicle accident and sustaining injuries without underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. Should this happen to you, you must speak with an experienced auto accident attorney.
Why You Need an Attorney After a Florida Car Accident
Our decades of experience helping car accident victims regain financial losses following severe injury testify to the many benefits a lawyer can provide in these cases. We have seen firsthand how insurance companies diminish or deny benefits to injured policyholders and we have helped countless individuals recover much more than their insurance providers prepared to offer.
Navigating the painstaking and complex claims process following an accident can involve questions of liability, obtuse policy language, the valuation of damages, and, sometimes, courtroom proceedings.
Our law firm is undaunted by these challenges and has the resources and experience to pursue your claim’s positive resolution at any cost.
By retaining an attorney from Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers, we can:
- Explain your claim and your insurance coverage
- Investigate and identify sources of liability and evidence to support your case
- Negotiate with the insurance company toward maximum compensation
- Navigate the legal process, including ensuring that all outstanding bills and liens are fully paid
- Represent you in a car accident lawsuit, if necessary
- Support and communicate with you throughout the entire process
Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers Aims to Maximize Your Claim
At Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers, our experienced legal team is dedicated to helping you navigate your journey to financial recovery and protecting your rights every step of the way.
If a car accident injured you or a loved one, call us at (727) 845-5972 or contact us online today for your free, no-obligation consultation. Our lawyers will happily answer any additional questions you have about the claims process, your legal rights, and what our firm can do for you.