How to Recover Medical Expenses After a Car Accident in Florida
Car accidents frequently lead to injuries that require serious medical care. Depending on the severity of your injuries or the injuries of a loved one, you could be burdened with enormous medical bills in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.
You can recover medical expenses in a Florida car accident by filing an insurance claim and suing the party responsible in court. Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means that your insurance will pay for some of your medical expenses regardless of who was at fault in the car accident. However, Florida’s no-fault insurance will not pay for all of your medical expenses under any circumstance. You will need to file an insurance claim with the at-fault party. However, insurance companies are not in the business of paying out full damages. There will likely be disputes over how much you are owed. You must file a lawsuit in court to challenge the insurance company’s position. Our attorneys can help you get the financial compensation you deserve.
Call our Ft. Lauderdale car accident lawyers at The Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, at (954) 751-4258 today for a free case review.
How No-Fault Insurance and PIP Coverage Pays for Medical Expenses in Florida
Florida is a “no-fault” state that requires all drivers to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Your PIP insurance will pay for some of your medical expenses when you are involved in a car accident in Florida. However, PIP insurance will never cover 100% of your medical expenses and maxes out at a rather small dollar amount. Moreover, PIP insurance only covers economic damages; non-economic damages like pain and suffering are not covered. Ultimately, it is very likely that you will need to go to court. With the help of our Florida car accident attorneys, you can get the full compensation for your injuries you need.
In Florida, PIP must cover 80% of medical treatment and 60% of lost earnings up to policy limits. The minimum policy limit for this type of insurance is $10,000, but you can usually pay for higher coverage.
Problems with No-Fault Insurance in Florida
While no-fault insurance has some benefits, it can create difficulties for drivers after a car accident in Florida. The primary benefit is that your insurance is required by law to help pay for your medical expenses, regardless of whether you were at fault during the car accident. But there are several downsides.
Insurance costs are generally higher since insurance companies know they will have to pay out in any accident, not just accidents where their driver was at fault. Moreover, the $10,000 limit is quickly met if injuries are severe and have a lengthy recovery time.
Another problem is that PIP insurance only covers up to a certain percentage of medical treatment, meaning that some of your medical bills will always be left without coverage. Additionally, PIP insurance will not cover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or mental anguish. Finally, PIP insurance does not cover property damage. If your vehicle needs repairs after a car accident, you will need to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance.
Filing a Claim for Medical Expenses Against the At-Fault Driver in Florida
After PIP coverage is maxed out, you will have to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the other driver, claiming that they were at fault for the accident and that their liability insurance needs to pay for your injuries. This point is generally when lawyers get involved. While no-fault insurance will pay for some of the compensation you deserve, you will need to get a lawyer and file a claim to get full compensation plus any potential other damages.
Recovering Damages for Pain and Suffering
Florida has restrictions on when you are able to be awarded damages for pain and suffering. The law prohibits recovery for abstract, intangible injuries like mental anguish or pain and suffering unless certain criteria are met. While it is easy to figure out how much a hospital stay is worth (there is a medical bill saying how much it cost you), it is difficult to put a dollar amount on how much a broken bone hurts or, the value of a life lost in a car accident. The value of these damages must be argued in court.
Florida law allows recovery for pain and suffering under specific circumstances. Those circumstances are permanent loss of an important bodily function, a medically proven permanent injury, disfigurement, and death. In the instance of death, this refers to a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased.
Recovering Compensation with Uninsured Drivers
If the other driver is uninsured, you will need to file a claim with your own uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage will pay for your medical expenses in the event that the other driver does not have insurance. Your insurance company might choose to file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver to recover what they paid you from your policy. After all, the insurance company is not in the business of paying out policies without a way to get money back. If that were the case, they would go out of business. You may be involved in this lawsuit if it takes place. Alternatively, the insurance company could opt not to pursue a claim against the uninsured driver, particularly if they don’t have many assets and are “judgment proof.” Your attorney can help you through the process of filing an uninsured motorist claim and potential lawsuits afterward.
Call Our Florida Car Accident Attorneys Today for a Free Case Review
Reach out to our Miami car accident lawyers at The Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, at (954) 751-4258 today for a free case analysis.