Medical bills after a car accident in Florida are always paid by auto insurance companies. How much the insurance companies will cover, if you are required to pay anything, or which insurance will pay is based on various factors. These factors include the optional coverage you have. The most important factor that will determine who pays for the medical bills after a car accident, is the status of Florida’s no-fault insurance laws.
Florida’s legislature passed a bill that was vetoed and did not become a law. However, if it becomes a law, it will change Florida’s whole auto insurance system. The dynamics of an individual’s obligation to pay for medical expenses after a car accident will also change.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of children, teens, and young adults in Florida, and among the top ten causes of death for all ages. Over 30,000 people are killed in crashes each year in America. In 2005, fatalities caused by road accidents resulted in $41 billion nationally in medical, health, and work loss costs. It is important to remember that road accidents are preventable. It should be kept in mind that the number of fatalities and their associated costs can be minimized through the implementation of effective programs and policies.
Following are some things to consider about Florida’s no-fault insurance system and the way it addresses medical bills.
Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Laws:
Thirty-eight states require drivers to buy insurance in case they are involved in a car crash. In these states, a driver’s liability insurance takes the hit and pays for accident victims’ property losses and medical costs when the driver is at fault in a car crash.
In Florida, and eleven other no-fault states, victims of the accident must file a claim with their insurer to recover damages and the medical expenses incurred, despite who was at fault.
Suppose that two cars crash at a traffic signal when a black car runs a red light, obstructs the stop sign, and hits a white car. In a fault-based state, the insurance company for the black car must take care of the medical expenses for the driver of the white car and the passengers in both cars.
However, in a no-fault-based state, the insurance company for the black car pays the medical costs for the driver and passengers in the black car. The insurance company for the white car’s driver pays the bills for that car’s passengers and driver.
No-Fault Insurance Limits:
The state’s no-fault insurance has two limits:
1. The 80% Rule:
Insurers are only required to pay 80% of the medical bills under Florida’s no-fault law. If you purchase the minimum policy with $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, this means that out of the first $12,500 you incur on medical costs, $10,000 will be paid by your insurer.
2. Policy Limits:
The law requires all vehicle owners to purchase $10,000 of personal injury protection benefits. This policy limits the insurer’s liability for any wages lost or medical costs. However, the amount of coverage is restricted to $10,000 and the insurer will not be obliged to pay any excess amount.
The Driver at Fault:
According to Florida law, you can file a suit against the driver at fault if these two conditions are satisfied:
- You suffered permanent injury
- Your damages exceed the limits of your PIP coverage
Florida law releases you from the no-fault system if both of these conditions are satisfied. This permits you to sue the driver at fault and recover the damages sustained.
Procedure for Claiming Medical Costs after a Car Accident in Florida:
You will be required to begin with a claim for PIP benefits under Florida’s no-fault law. If such benefits do not cover all your medical bills, you should consult with an attorney having sufficient expertise in dealing with a car accident in Florida. They will establish whether your injuries meet the permanency requirements for a lawsuit.
If you are eligible for filing such a lawsuit, you will notify the insurance company of the driver at fault to determine if the driver was covered by the insurance. Such liability coverage will take care of your medical bills. However, the state does not require drivers to buy vehicle insurance, as the state follows a no-fault insurance system. In this case, filing a lawsuit is the only option left to recover the unreimbursed medical bills.
Contact Florida Lawyers 360:
We at Florida Lawyers 360 consist of a team of professional lawyers, who will cater to all your legal needs after a car accident in Florida. Call us today to get a free evaluation of your case.