No one ever wishes to suffer from a personal injury accident. Unfortunately, however, the US still records significant numbers of mishaps annually. This means that Port St. Lucie, Florida, also has its fair share of accidents and injuries. Therefore, having a Port St. Lucie personal injury attorney is crucial.
Attorneys are vital because personal injuries often result in hefty medical bills. If victims don’t seek treatment, they may never return to their pre-accident state. Unfortunately, the high cost of medical treatment scares some accident survivors from receiving adequate treatment. This is why it’s crucial to know who pays the medical bills after a personal injury accident.
Who Pays Medical Bills After a Port St. Lucie Personal Injury Accident?
State laws determine who bears liability in personal injury claims. In fault-based accident states, the at-fault party is responsible. However, Florida operates under a no-fault system. Therefore, accident victims cannot proceed against the at-fault party for their injuries. However, Florida accident survivors have alternative means of recovering compensation. We explain some of them below.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance
Florida law mandates motor vehicle owners to purchase personal injury protection insurance (PIP). Policyholders can recover from medical bills under this insurance after an accident. Notably, PIP insurance isn’t fault-based. Therefore, whether or not accident survivors are responsible for a collision, they can still recover from their medical expenses.
Minimum Limits of PIP Insurance
Personal injury protection insurance has application limits. Motor vehicle collision victims can recover up to $10,000. This covers losses due to bodily injuries from a car accident. However, victims can only earn this amount when a medical practitioner determines an emergency medical condition.
Suppose a victim didn’t have an emergency health condition from the accident. The victim might then only recover $2,500 for medical bills. Port St. Lucie car crash survivors may even receive disability and death benefits of $5,000 under PIP insurance. Once crash victims reach their PIP insurance limits, the liability for their medical bills shifts back to them. They can then rely on other forms of insurance or pay out-of-pocket.
Who Can Benefit from PIP Insurance?
One advantage of PIP insurance is its broad applicability. In fact, not only car accident victims can benefit from this coverage. Apart from the policyholder, vehicle passengers and household members of PIP policyholders can recover. Pedestrians injured on the road can also look to their family members’ PIP coverage for medical bills.
Additionally, PIP insurance is a primary insurance package. The hospital will first bill the insurer before looking for other sources. Fortunately, PIP insurance comes through quickly, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long for payment.
Limitations to Personal Injury Insurance
Sadly, PIP cannot always cover all personal injury victims. Instead, victims may have to look for alternative means to cover their medical bills. The good news is that these limitations only apply in a few cases. Particularly, examples include:
- When the personal injury victim was injured in a bus or other public transportation
- When the accident happened in a taxi or other ridesharing vehicle
- Massage and acupuncture procedures
PIP won’t pay the bills for permanent bodily injuries or pain and suffering. Instead, you may have to institute a personal injury lawsuit to recover for those medical expenses. Furthermore, PIP only pays about 80% of reasonable medical bills. Lastly, if accident survivors don’t receive treatment within 14 days, they may lose their right to compensation.
Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay)
Port St. Lucie residents can also add MedPay to their auto insurance. It’s another no-fault insurance package that can cover drivers and their passengers regardless of fault. MedPay can even protect pedestrians injured in an accident, including the policyholder. Notably, this insurance coverage is optional.
Although Florida residents aren’t required to purchase it, it is best to have this additional coverage in case of devastating accident injuries. MedPay even has broader applicability covering:
- Hospital and doctor visits
- Ambulance services
- Emergency medical technician fees
- Health insurance deductibles and copays
- Cost of some medical equipment
- Medical rehabilitation expenses
- Professional nursing services
With MedPay, you don’t have to worry if your medical bills exceed the $10,000 limit under PIP insurance.
PIP and Medpay may be insufficient for some injury types. The worse an accident survivor’s injuries, the higher their medical bills. Therefore, they can also pay for their treatment through health insurance policies. There are several types of health insurance to choose from. These include short-term and long-term health insurance.
You may even opt for accident insurance only. Whichever the case may be, healthcare insurance is often more comprehensive than PIP and Medpay. Therefore, the relevant insurance companies will pay your medical bills. Unlike the two insurance policies above, health insurance can cover any personal injury accident.
The At-Fault Party
Indeed, Florida is a no-fault accident state. However, the at-fault driver may still be responsible to cover medical expenses in some cases. Remember that PIP insurance doesn’t cover permanent injuries. Therefore, Florida law allows accident victims with permanent injuries to file lawsuits against the responsible parties.
Florida law defines permanent injuries as wounds such as:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
An injured party can bypass PIP insurance and sue the at-fault party in all these cases. Injured parties can also file insurance claims or lawsuits where their non-permanent injuries exceed their PIP insurance.
Notably, you have four years to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your right to compensation. The time starts running from the day the accident happened.
Letters of Protection
Port St. Lucie personal injury victims often need to start paying their medical bills once they get to the emergency room. However, the earliest insurance payouts may come two weeks later. They can face having to pay the bills out-of-pocket or delay treatment when they can’t afford the expenses. The danger of delayed personal injury treatment is why doctors accept letters of protection.
A letter of protection is a document a personal injury attorney sends to a treating physician. This letter promises that the medical practitioner will receive payment for the patient’s medical bills from subsequent settlements, insurance payouts, or judgments. If the doctor accepts this letter, they can treat patients upfront and accept payment later.
Let’s Help You Get Your Medical Bills Paid
Have you or a loved one been in a personal injury accident? Are you worried about who will bear your medical expenses? At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, our best Port St. Lucie personal injury attorneys can help you seek recovery from medical bills. Our skilled attorneys have significant experience handling personal injury claims for accident victims seeking compensation for their medical and other expenses.
Call us today at (561) 800-8000 for a FREE consultation.