Who Is Going to Pay My Medical Expenses Following My Car Accident?
By Team at Zimmet & Zimmet, In Personal injury
All licensed drivers in Florida must purchase a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) car insurance policy. After an accident, injured drivers turn to their PIP policy first before pursuing compensation elsewhere. This is based on Florida’s no-fault auto insurance laws.
Your PIP policy covers up to 80% of your medical costs and 60% of lost wages, with a maximum of $10,000. In Florida, you must have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage before registering and operating your vehicle on the road.
Unfortunately, in more serious car accidents, this initial $10,000 may not be enough to cover all your costs and losses. At this point, it’s smart to work with a car accident lawyer from Zimmet & Zimmet to seek other sources of compensation. One option is to cover medical costs with your health insurance, and another is to seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy.
It’s only natural to be in pain and overwhelmed with the legal process after a Florida car accident. Our accident attorney and entire legal team are here to help you with your claim and help you recover the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
Understanding the No-Fault Insurance Laws in Florida
Florida is one of the few no-fault states in the U.S. Thirty-eight states require all drivers to purchase liability insurance. Liability auto insurance pays for the medical costs and property damage of others in an accident.
There are 11 no-fault states, including Florida, where auto insurance works differently. With a no-fault insurance law, as a victim, you must file a claim with your insurer to recover compensation for medical costs after a car accident. This is true no matter who is determined to be at fault.
An example of how this works can be seen if two cars collide at an intersection because one car runs through a red light. In fault-based states, the insurer for the driver of the vehicle that ran the stop light is liable for injuries and damages the other driver and passengers suffer. However, in a no-fault state, the driver of the vehicle that hit another car pays for medical costs for themselves and their passengers. The driver of the other vehicle pays for theirs.
Limits on Florida No-Fault Insurance
No-fault insurance in Florida has two things to know:
All car owners must have $10,000 in PIP coverage. It provides payment for medical costs and lost wages for everyone in their vehicle when an accident occurs. The policy cap limits the insurer’s liability for lost wages and medical bills. The insurer will not pay if the costs exceed the $10,000 limit.
The 80% Rule
According to Florida’s no-fault law, insurers only have to cover 80% of the medical costs reported. If you purchase the minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage, your insurer will pay the initial $10,000 out of $12,500 in medical costs. You essentially have a 20% co-pay on all medical costs PIP covers.
What PIP Covers After a Car Accident
PIP insurance coverage was created as an extension of your auto insurance policy. Its purpose is to cover the medical costs you incur. Some of the expenses PIP insurance covers include:
- Professional and non-emergency medical care
- Lost wages (if the accident and injury made it impossible for you to return to work)
- Death benefits
- Additional accident-related costs
Here is a breakdown of what is and isn’t covered by PIP insurance. You can also speak to an auto accident attorney if you have questions about PIP insurance coverage.
Professional Medical Care
PIP will pay for most accident-related medical costs. When you purchase your PIP policy, you can choose if you will include other people in your household. The eligible services that PIP pays for include:
- Surgery and hospital costs
- Medical services
- Ambulance services
- Equipment and medications
- Rehabilitation costs
- Diagnostic services
PIP doesn’t cover other services, like massage or acupuncture. You can cover these costs or file them with your health insurance coverage.
In some car accidents, serious injuries occur; however, the severity isn’t understood without immediate medical care. It’s important to note that PIP will only cover up to $2,500 of non-emergency car costs.
Economic Hardship and Lost Wages
PIP coverage in Florida handles up to 60% of your lost wages if you can’t return to work because of accident-caused injuries. There’s a $10,000 limit on the compensation. The payment includes the cost of help for tasks you can no longer do on your own, such as pet care, housework, laundry, and others.
If a PIP policyholder dies from a car accident, the insurance covers the funeral and burial costs. This is in addition to the costs incurred before their death.
Other Types of Insurance
If you have remaining medical bills from the car accident that PIP coverage doesn’t pay, you may wonder how to cover them. After all, if you suffered a serious injury, these could be in the thousands (or more). You aren’t without options. There are other types of insurance you can use to cover these costs.
Med-Pay Coverage (Medical Payments)
Florida auto insurers provide customers with optional med-pay coverage. This insurance is designed to cover unpaid medical costs after a car accident. You only have this coverage if you add it to your policy.
If you choose to add med-pay to your policy, your insurer will provide the med-pay benefits, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. Your PIP benefits are used first, and then the optional med-pay coverage is used.
If you have health insurance coverage, your insurer will cover the costs that med-pay and PIP don’t cover. With med-pay coverage in place, ensure it is used before turning to your health insurance. Unlike health plans, med-pay doesn’t have any copay or deductible.
Suing Another Party After a Florida Car Accident
Florida uses a no-fault system to help reduce personal injury litigation. However, if your costs exceed your PIP coverage, you can work with a car accident attorney to sue the at-fault party for damages.
You can file a lawsuit for the accident-related costs your PIP did not cover. You can also sue for economic damages, such as post-traumatic stress, anxiety, mental anguish, and pain and suffering (to name a few).
Proving Fault in Florida Car Accidents
If you hire a car wreck attorney to help you pursue compensation from the at-fault party, you must provide evidence that proves they are responsible for the accident to ensure your claim is successful. Some evidence your injury attorney will likely use to prove this includes the accident report, medical documentation, and pictures from the accident scene of your damages and injuries.
Understanding Comparative Negligence in Florida
Florida operates under comparative negligence. This means damages are awarded and reduced based on your percentage of fault in the accident. If costs exceed PIP coverage, the additional costs will be covered by the person who is most at fault for the accident.
Get Help with Your Florida Car Accident Claim
As you can see from the information here, there are several ways to have your medical costs paid after a car accident. If you find yourself in this situation, get in touch with an accident injury lawyer from Zimmet & Zimmet to help with your legal claim. With the help of an experienced and reputable attorney, you will be one step closer to recovering the compensation you deserve.