When you are hurt in an car accident, several different types of insurance coverage can become involved in the payment of your medical bills and lost wages. The following questions are the ones most frequently heard from our clients in the past and we therefore list them, along with answers, in the hope that this will help you understand your rights in what can be a most confusing area of the law. If you are a resident from a state other than Florida your auto policy should have a paragraph stating that it will cover you as if the policy is a Florida auto policy.
In Florida we have a “No-fault” law. That does NOT mean that fault doesn’t matter when you are involved in a car accident or are hit by a car when you are a pedestrian or on a bicycle.
The law simply means that some of your medical bills and lost wages will be paid by your own insurance company, even if the other party was at fault. No-fault also provides payment for prescriptions, physical therapy, and even mileage for visits to the doctor, pharmacy, or physical therapy. The payments may be subject to a deductible, which you must reach before the benefits will begin.
The “No-fault” law also may impact whether you are entitled to additional benefits from the other party. An attorney can tell you whether you meet those additional requirements.
If No one looks injured and there is minimal damage to both vehicles, please use these helpful steps to make your car accident as painless as possible:
Following these quick and simple steps could save yourself tons of time and money in the long run!
A: Yes. Under Florida’s No-Fault Insurance you have been required to buy an insurance coverage called Personal Injury Protection (PIP), and that PIP coverage pays 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages when you are involved in an car accident regardless of who is at fault. Even, if the other person involved in the accident was clearly the one at fault (for example, they rear-ended you), your car insurance is still the first insurance coverage required to pay your medical bills and your lost wages.
A: If you have health insurance, then your health insurance company will pay the 20% of your medical bills that your PIP coverage does not pay. You should begin to submit your medical bills to your health carrier as well as to your car insurance carrier. At first your health insurance carrier will call to say that your auto insurance should take care of this. You should tell them that this is partially true but that your PIP will only cover 80%. They will understand and after you have exceeded any deductible you have on your health insurance, they should begin to pay the other 20% of the bills you incur.
A: If you do not have health insurance, then you are going to be personally responsible for the other 20% of the medical bills incurred until the end of the case. When the case is settled or a judgment obtained, that remaining 20% will be part of the damages recovered from the person who hit you. If you qualify for Medicare, then your bills should be submitted to Medicare for payment of the other 20%, not covered by your PIP.
A: In addition to PIP you can purchase from your car insurance carrier a coverage called ” Medical Payments Coverage“. This is a supplemental coverage to your PIP. It will pay the other 20% of your medical bills that PIP does not pay up to the limits of the medical payments coverage. It is a particularly important coverage if you do not have other health insurance that will pick up the remaining 20% of your medical bills.
A: Once you have submitted your application for No-Fault Benefits and placed your health insurance carrier on notice of your claim, you or in some instances your doctor, should forward your medical bills to these insurance companies as they are incurred. Your car insurance company has 30 days from the time they receive your medical bills to make payment to your doctor or other health care providers. Sometimes, due to the volume of claims handled, the bills are not paid as promptly as they should be. If a problem develops with your insurance carrier failing to promptly pay your bills you should tell us so that we can deal with the insurer to make sure the bills are promptly paid.
A: When a settlement is made, this office will negotiate with your health insurance company to pay them back what they paid out, but at a substantially reduced rate. This is only fair because you have had to incur the time and expense of hiring an attorney and pursuing the claim. It may also be that you will not recover 100% of your damages because the other person involved in the accident may not have enough insurance. We deal with your health insurance companies in these situations to make sure that any repayment to that company is fair and equitable to you.
A: If a denial of benefits is made you should contact our office immediately. It has been our unfortunate experience that many times insurance companies will prematurely and unjustly seek to cut off benefits for medical, chiropractic, or other health care. We try to work this out for you with the company. If we cannot, we will sue the company for reinstatement of your benefits and if we are successful, the insurance company will be required to pay the costs and my attorney’s fees for wrongfully interrupting your coverage.
A: This is a question no one can answer with any degree of accuracy. Most companies do not drop their insured’s coverage on the basis of claims made under the PIP and medical payments portion of their policy. However, this will depend to some extent on previous history with regard to car accidents and claims. If you are seriously concerned that your company will drop you, then it is our suggestion that you drop them first. Go out and purchase another car insurance policy with another company and drop your coverage before they drop you. That way, you can truthfully tell any other insurance company that you have never been cancelled or refused insurance in the past and at the end of the case if you wish to go back to your original company and purchase insurance, you can if they are willing to sell it to you.
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