1 – Personal Injury Protection coverage or PIP
The most common way people get their medical bills paid after a Lakeland car accident is through personal injury protection, which is referred to as “PIP” here in Florida. This is a system that was devised in the late ‘70s that allows for up to $10,000 of your medical bills to be paid after a car accident, no matter whose fault the car crash was. So, it could be your fault if you are operating a motor vehicle and crash into a tree, but you’re still entitled to get up to $10,000 of medical treatment through your personal injury protection coverage. What really confuses people here in Florida is that you could be sitting at a red light and get rear-ended by a knucklehead staring at their cell phone, and you still have to use your auto insurance to pay for your personal injury protection coverage. It doesn’t make a lot of sense that somebody else caused the accident, but you have to use your auto insurance to pay for your bills, but that’s why they call it a no-fault coverage. The personal injury protection coverage will apply to you no matter whose fault the accident is.
There are certain statutory requirements for PIP. For example, right now, you have to treat within 14 days of the accident to be entitled to personal injury protection benefits. There are a lot of other nuances to the PIP statute as well that you really need to speak to a lawyer about.
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2 – Medical Payments coverage or MedPay
Another way people get their medical bills paid after a car crash in Florida is through medical payments coverage. This is coverage that you can purchase in addition to personal injury protection. While personal injury protection is a mandatory coverage, medical payments coverage is not mandatory, and not everybody purchases it on their auto policy. Usually, in Florida, we see $5,000 Med Pay policies. The great thing about Med Pay policies is that they will pay the 20% your personal injury protection doesn’t pay. It will also pay if you have a deductible. The MedPay policy can really help fill in the blanks of the things that personal injury protection doesn’t.
3 – Health Insurance
The third way medical bills get paid after a car crash in Florida is from health insurance.Health insurance is probably the most common way that the bills get paid after the PIP is exhausted. The weird thing about using your health insurance in Florida is that you can’t use it until your PIP is exhausted. So, your PIP is primary, and after your PIP is exhausted, you can use your health insurance to pay for your medical treatment because of a car crash. A lot of times, I talk to my clients, and they really are frustrated by the fact someone else caused an accident, and their health insurance is paying. There’s confusion in thinking that the other person’s auto insurance should be covering their treatment rather than their health insurance. It’s almost always in your best interest to get medical treatment from your health insurance. You are usually going to get more treatment for less money because you’re going to get the benefit of your health insurance’s deals with medical providers. This means that instead of paying retail for the medical treatment, you’re going to be getting the wholesale bargain that these big health insurance companies strike with hospitals and doctors. So, health insurance is by far the best way to get treatment once your PIP is exhausted.
4 – Worker’s Compensation
The fourth way people get treatment after a car crash here in Florida is when they have a worker’s compensation claim. This only applies to people who are hurt on the job. But if you’re hurt on the job, you can get your medical treatment through your worker’s compensation carrier and still make a claim against the people that caused your accident. Your worker’s compensation carrier might have a lien on your case if it was with a third party. Worker’s compensation does not have liens on uninsured motorist settlements.
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5 – Winning the Case
The fifth way you can get your medical bills paid after a car crash in Florida is by winning your case. If you have a pile of medical bills after a car crash and you win or settle your case, you will have to pay your medical bills out of that settlement. So when we, as lawyers, are working through settlements, we always talk to people about money in their pocket. This is because it can be really misleading to say your case settled for $100,000, but then I only hand a check to my client for $50,000. The client would justifiably be a bit confused unless I was very clear with them in the beginning that even though the case is settling for $100,000, there will only be $50,000 leftover after paying medical bills. So a lot of the times we talk to clients about what they’re going to have in their pocket, to the best of our knowledge after the settlement and all the dust clears. I like to describe it as the amount that they can put in their checking account after we’ve cleaned up the mess.
Those are the five ways you can get your bills paid in Florida after a car crash. If you have questions about any of this, give us a call at1-800-ASK-DAVE. We’re here to help!