How Should I Handle My Medical Expenses After a Car Accident?
Once you have been hurt in a car accident, you may be reeling from the astronomical expenses of modern healthcare. Data from the Department of Health & Human Services shows that in 2017, there were a total of 144.8 million emergency department (ED) visits, adding up to costs of over $76.3 billion across the United States.
The question of “who pays for my medical expenses after a car accident?” has a different answer depending on your specific accident scenario. For the most part, Florida’s no-fault (PIP) insurance coverage kicks in first, followed by any liability coverage provided by third parties. Once all forms of auto insurance have been exhausted (or if none are available), then the injured party will have to pay using any available health insurance and then cover the rest out of pocket.
Car accident injuries are expensive, and they can lead to other costs, including lost income while you recover. In order to maximize the chances that you won’t be left in deep debt after a collision, refer to a Tampa car accident lawyer for assistance, representation on possible claims, and guidance on what forms of insurance coverage could apply to your situation.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
In most situations, PIP acts as the “first payer” when you have been in a car accident. This form of “no-fault” insurance covers you no matter how your injuries occurred, and PIP carriers are usually pretty straightforward when it comes to granting coverage for emergency medical costs related to a collision.
The only real flaw in PIP is that it doesn’t cover enough, leaving injured persons with unpaid expenses. PIP only provides coverage for:
- 80% of reasonable and necessary medical costs in the event of an emergency
- $2,500 in medical coverage in a non-emergency
- Up to 60% of lost wages
- Only $10,000 in coverage, total
- No coverage for pain and suffering, unlike third-party liability (BIL) insurance
As you can see, you will have uncovered costs after your PIP insurance is done paying, even if you don’t technically break the $10,000 limit. In these cases, you will be motivated to search for a third-party liability insurance provider who can cover your remaining costs.
Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) Insurance
BIL insurance is a form of liability coverage that is provided when another driver is at fault for your injuries. Florida’s no-fault insurance system requires you to have a qualifying “serious injury” or to have exceeded your $10,000 PIP coverage before you are eligible to file a third-party claim. Another wrinkle is that, unlike every other state in the U.S., Florida does not legally require all drivers to have BIL insurance! Only commercial drivers and those with certain types of accidents on their driving history are required to have BIL coverage.
BIL will provide the remaining coverage needed to pay for your medical bills, in most cases. These claims can take a while to resolve — sometimes years when the at-fault driver must be taken to court — but a third-party claim can be a major lifeline when it comes to avoiding medical debt after a major car accident.
Health Insurance (Private, Group, Medicare, etc.)
Your own health insurance coverage may be needed in the event of a delayed claim or when no other forms of insurance are available. In many cases, you may need to use your own health insurance coverage (if you have any available) in order to cover the initial costs of healthcare. Then, once you have received other coverage for your claim, your health insurer may recover (subrogate) some of the costs they spent initially covering your accident, and you as the claimant can keep the rest.
Filing under your own insurance is undesirable, but it can’t be avoided, in many situations. Alternatives do exist, including signing an agreement with your healthcare provider to delay billing until your PIP and third-party claims are paid. However, these agreements may limit your ability to seek the maximum amount of your available damages, so always consult with a car accident attorney in Tampa before signing anything if you aren’t sure how to cover your costs.
Find Compensation for Paying Your Bills With Tampa Car Accident Lawyers
Darrigo & Diaz can be your legal lifeline when you are in a situation where you have been hurt, have high medical costs, and aren’t sure what to do in order to pay them. Many times, you have third-party claims available, but you will need to fight with insurers to prove that their policyholder was negligent and, therefore, liable for your injury costs.
Start the conversation today during a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Our services are provided at no cost to you until we are able to recover a settlement for your accident damages. Schedule your free appointment today when you call (813) 774-3341 or contact us online.