Auto Accident Settlement
How Should I Handle My Medical Expenses After a Car Accident?
When you are injured in a car accident, the first thing you should do after reporting the accident and documenting the scene is to receive prompt healthcare. Regardless of whether or not you feel hurt, you owe it to yourself to get a full diagnosis. If you are visibly hurt, do not hesitate to go to the nearest emergency medical care facility.
The one question you may have, though, is “how do I pay for my medical care after a wreck?”
There are several main options. First, you should have a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy available. It will pay for 80% of medical care in an emergency and up to $1,500 worth of care in a non-emergency. You will then need to use any available Medical Payment (MedPay) policy or your personal health insurance policy to cover the remaining costs. A personal injury settlement can provide money for your injuries, too, but you will first need to settle your bills using your own available insurance since reaching a settlement can take some time.
Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd is available to assist you when you are unsure of your options. We can help you identify liable parties and make the right decisions given your situation. We also help you document your damages and deal with insurance companies — who may be reluctant to pay.
Call (866) 460-1990 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-risk case review.
PIP Pays First
One convenient part of Florida law is that you always have $10,000 of PIP coverage available in the event of an accident. This coverage applies no matter why the accident happened or who was at fault.
However, PIP insurance is limited, and it only covers a partial amount of your medical costs (80% in the event of an emergency). It also does not provide compensation for your own pain and suffering. In the event you have high medical expenses or expenses you cannot cover even after using PIP, you can work with a Florida car accident attorney to determine whether you have other options.
Filing a Liability Claim Against Another Driver (or Third Party)
When you have more expenses than you can pay for, your next best option is to evaluate if someone else could be responsible for your wreck. And by responsible, we mean negligent.
Proving negligence requires four main showings:
- Someone had a duty of care to avoid causing you and others harm
- They committed a breach of duty, either by breaking a law or failing to exercise the expected amount of care
- That breach in duty was the proximate cause (direct cause) of an injury
- The injury led to damages, or costs, that can be recovered through insurance or a lawsuit
Many people could have been negligent and, thereby, caused your accident. One of the most common examples is another driver that was speeding, not paying attention, or was under the influence.
Your accident could have also been caused by a vehicle defect, which would make the vehicle manufacturer responsible.
In situations where the road itself or the property you were on contributed to an accident, you may be able to hold a property owner or government agency liable.
The important thing is to have an experienced Florida car accident attorney review your case. If they feel one or more parties could have contributed to your accident, they will start an investigation to reveal if someone breached their duty of care and directly caused your injury. You can then file an insurance claim against all negligent parties.
If the parties or their insurers refuse to settle, you can then file a lawsuit and try to force them to compensate you through a court order.
You Will Have to Cover the Costs of Medical Treatment While Waiting for a Settlement
Unfortunately, settling a third-party liability claim can take some time. In some cases — especially those that go to trial — it could even be years before you receive your first settlement check!
Healthcare providers will expect you to pay your bills in the meantime. If you have a Medical Payments (MedPay) policy, Medicare, private health insurance, group insurance through your employer, or some other form of self-insurance, then you can use this policy to cover the costs of your treatment.
Once you have received your settlement, you have effectively been repaid for any medical costs you paid out of pocket. Your medical insurance provider will likely expect to receive repayment for their own contributions through a process called subrogation. You are allowed to keep the remaining part of the settlement that doesn’t go to insurers or other costs.
One alternative option is to sign an agreement with your healthcare provider to wait on payment until you receive a settlement. However, you always want to have an attorney review these types of contracts before you sign. A common provision of the contract is that you are forced to settle for the first offer you may receive — an offer that may be far lower than what you need to repay all your damages.
Work With Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorneys
Getting healthcare and paying for your bills in the aftermath of a wreck will always be stressful. You can reduce the level of stress and uncertainty when you work with a Florida car accident lawyer who can manage your case. Your attorney will advise you on the best steps to take, and they will form a legal strategy for you to seek the maximum compensation available using all potential options.
Give Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd a call when you have been hurt. We can give you advice on your situation, and if you choose to have us represent you we can manage your case from end to end.
Being involved in a wreck and getting hurt is bad enough; don’t let dealing with healthcare bills add to it. Schedule a free, no-obligation case review today when you call (866) 460-1990 or contact us online.
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