Who Will Pay Your Medical Bills After an Auto Accident in Florida?
Car accidents that involve serious injuries can entail hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. For the majority of Floridians, paying medical bills out of pocket would be a herculean task, especially when those costs are stemming from an unexpected auto accident.
So, who will pay your medical bills following a car crash in Lakeland or elsewhere in Florida? It is advised to consult with a skilled auto accident attorney in Florida in order to answer that question after a thorough review of your particular situation.
Typically, who will be responsible for your medical expenses after a car accident depends on the severity of your injury, who was at fault for causing the collision, your auto insurance and health insurance limits, and a multitude of other factors.
No-Fault Auto Insurance and Compensation for Your Car Accident Injury
Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage will kick in first regardless of who was at fault. In other words, anyone who has auto insurance and is injured in a car crash must first turn to their own insurer to cover their medical expenses.
Thus, no matter whose fault contributed to the accident, injured victims can obtain compensation for their medical bills up to policy limits regardless of fault. This is why all drivers in Florida are required to carry auto insurance coverage, though it does not change the fact that the state has the highest number of uninsured motorists.
However, your PIP coverage may not be sufficient to cover all of your medical bills following an auto accident in Lakeland or other parts of Florida. Your PIP coverage will cover only 80% of your medical expenses, but cannot exceed $10,000 (the minimum required amount of PIP coverage in Florida).
Note: Typically, the remaining 20% of medical bills are paid by the victim’s health insurance. Also, your health insurer may cover your medical expenses that exceed $10,000 after your PIP coverage has been exhausted.
But who pays the remaining 20% of your medical bills? And who will cover your medical expenses if they total more than $10,000?
Filing a Third-Party Claim Against the At-Fault Motorist
If your injury was severe enough, $10,000 would only cover the first few weeks or months of your medical treatment. Luckily, you can cover any medical bills that exceed $10,000 by pursuing a third-party claim in Florida.
However, this option is available only if the other driver involved in your crash was at fault. In this case, you can file a third-party insurance claim against the at-fault party’s insurer to make them pay for your remaining medical bills.
In Florida, you can file a third-party insurance claim if your injury is classified as catastrophic or “serious.” Under the Florida Statute Section 627.737, individuals can only file a third-party claim when they suffered:
- Significant and permanent loss of bodily function;
- Permanent and significant scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent injury other than scarring or disfigurement
In Florida, you will be allowed to obtain compensation via a third-party claim against the at-fault motorist only if your injury is considered “serious.” Also, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Either way, it is vital to consult with a Lakeland car accident attorney to discuss your situation and discover your options. Contact The Turnbull Firm to determine who will pay for your medical bills. Call at 863-324-3500.