Florida is known as a “No-Fault” state. This means Florida follows a “no-fault” system when it comes to paying medical bills following a car accident. If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Florida, you probably wonder who pays your medical bills. The answer is not cut and dry.
Who pays my medical bills after a Florida car accident?
All Florida drivers must carry minimum Personal Injury Protection insurance benefits, referred to as “PIP” in their policies. When a crash occurs, each person involved in the collision turns to their policy to pay the costs of medical care and other losses, regardless of who was at fault. If you are the registered owner of a vehicle in Florida, your PIP coverage will pay your medical bills up to your coverage limits. The minimum PIP coverage in Florida is $10,000. Many PIP policies have a $1,000 deductible, meaning you must pay the first $1,000 of medical bills before your PIP benefits begin. If an attorney represents you, the treating physicians may waive the deductible to start treating you right away.
Will PIP pay all of my medical bills?
No. PIP will only pay 80% of the medical bills. Your bills may be adjusted between the insurance company and the physician based on a standard fee schedule that dictates how much any given medical treatment may cost. Sometimes these fee schedules are reasonable, but sometimes not. The good news is that if your physician accepts PIP benefits, they cannot bill you for the difference.
Who pays the other 20% of my medical bills?
In short, you do. Let us explain. Most drivers involved in a car accident in Florida suffer what is known as a permanent injury and receive an impairment rating from their treating physician. Sometimes referred to as a “threshold injury,” these types of injuries are defined as ones that result in permanent loss of bodily functions, significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement, or death. If you suffered one of these injuries, you may recover from the driver who caused the accident or hit your car. This impairment rating may be as low as 1% or rise to 99% (99% impairment is reserved for accident victims who must spend the rest of their lives as a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic. A 100% impairment rating is when the victim passed away due to their injuries, which means the family may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate. Your physician will monitor your progress and issue a rating depending on the injuries you have sustained in the car accident.
Seeking medical attention after a car accident
There is a dirty little secret the insurance industry does not want you to know. In 2013, Florida law changed and now requires anyone who believes they may have been injured in a car accident to seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. If you don’t, your own insurance company will not cover your medical bills.
If you wait to see if you will heal after the accident and wait more than 14 days, you are out of luck. You would be fully responsible for your medical bills or lost wages. The insurance industry claimed it would reduce costs and premiums. However, have your family or friend’s automobile insurance rates decreased since January 1, 2013? Even worse, your insurance agent is not required to tell you about the change in the law and how it will prevent you from having your insurance pay your medical bills.
Therefore, if you are involved in a car accident and think you are injured, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Do I have to go to the emergency room after a car accident?
Not necessarily. If you are hurt seriously, you need to seek immediate medical attention. However, you do not need to go to the ER to be considered “injured.”
Getting compensation for injuries after a Florida car accident
Due to the short length of time victims of car accidents have to file a PIP claim, it is vital to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Then, call the auto accident attorneys at Cressman Law Firm to ensure you get reasonable compensation for your injuries—not what the insurance company thinks you should get. Please request an appointment online or call us at 407-495-2337.