How To Pay Medical Bills After Car Accident

by Tina Willis Law - Orlando on May. 23, 2016

Accident & Injury Car Accident Accident & Injury  Wrongful Death 

Summary: Pay the least for medical bills after a car accident and put more money in your pocket.

How To Pay Your Medical Bills & Recover The Most Money After Any Orlando Car Accident

As an Orlando car accident lawyer, one of the most common questions I hear after any car, truck or motorcycle accident is how someone will get their medical bills paid.  

Most people do not realize but another question they should be asking is how they get their medical bills paid AND recover the most money possible, in their own pockets, after any Central Florida car accident.

(As a side note, to get the most money possible, you must understand the critical importance of receiving comprehensive medical treatment after any car accident.)

There are a handful of possibilities for paying medical bills.  Often these overlap.

Florida PIP "No-Fault" Insurance -- What Does This Pay?

First, everyone in Florida is required to carry  $10,000 in "no fault" PIP insurance.

(Note: this applies to FLORIDA ONLY.  The laws for auto insurance requirements vary from state to state.)

In Florida, PIP automatically pays 80% of the first either $2500 (if there is no "emergency medical condition," as determined by a medical provider), or 80% of the first $10,0000, if there is an emergency medical condition. The "no fault" aspect means that you typically do not have to file a lawsuit to get this amount of PIP benefits, which your own insurance company must pay.

Important tip! For PIP coverage to apply, the injured person MUST receive treatment within 14 days of the accident.  But, even if you didn't treat within 14 days, in some cases you still might be able to recover from the at-fault driver's bodily injury policy, at the end of the case (and after a lawyer proves your case).

(Note: the PIP rules are different for Orlando motorcycle accident cases.)

Who Pays After PIP Coverage Is Gone?

For the 20% not covered by PIP, and any amount over the $2500 or $10,000 covered by PIP, the injured person must rely on either health insurance OR basically treat with a doctor on credit, until their case is resolved.  

This confuses many people.  Let me explain:

Essentially the at-fault driver's auto insurance policy will not pay for your medical treatment until and unless any case against them is concluded.  This means at the very END when your lawyer has either settled the case, or taken the case to trial, and received a jury verdict in your case.  

Until the at-fault driver's insurance company writes a check to resolve your case, you absolutely must have treatment (otherwise your case will not be worth anything).  So, we have to find a way to get your medical bills paid.

Plus, you have to remember, bodily injury coverage is not required in Florida.  Therefore, if the at-fault driver only has PIP coverage (which only covers their own injuries), and you do not have uninsured motorist coverage on your own policy, then there may be no money for you to recover.  That happens sometimes.  Basically in those cases, there is no money to collect, so you can't recover anything.  

For that reason, we always hope there is some bodily injury or uninsured motorist coverage.

How Do You Get Treatment Before The Case Settles, If You Don't Have Health Insurance?

Most of the time, in a clear liability auto accident when the at-fault driver has sufficient bodily injury coverage, finding a way to get treatment for an injured person is not a problem.  

But there are cases when no doctor will treat on credit, which makes life difficult for those without health insurance.  Those usually involve cases when the at-fault driver doesn't have sufficient bodily injury coverage.

For example, if the at-fault driver only has $25,000 in bodily injury coverage, and you need surgery costing $100,000, but do not have health insurance, then a doctor probably would not provide that surgery on credit.  In those types of situations, we thoroughly explore creative options for trying either alternative treatment, or finding some way of helping the person get health insurance.

In any event, when your case is resolved, then any auto insurance coverage the at-fault driver had for bodily injuries, and any uninsured motorist coverage you might have purchased on your own auto insurance policy, will be used to pay back any medical providers who treated on credit, or to pay back whatever your health insurance company paid for your accident related treatment.

How Much Money Can You Recover From Your Car Accident After Medical Bills Are Paid?

You get the balance after your bills are paid, plus some other money for any lost wages, future meds, and pain and suffering.

This creates a whole host of issues that many clients don't totally understand -- and an Orlando auto accident attorney may or may not have explained.  

But injured people are entitled to four main categories of damages after any car accident: (1) past and future lost wages caused by the accident; (2) past and future medical bills caused by the accident; (3) past and future pain and suffering caused by the accident; and (4) property (vehicle damage) repair.  

Also, even though the law requires us to repay your medical providers, we are typically able to negotiate the actual bills with the providers down to a lower level, putting more money in your pocket at the end of the case.  Additionally, we help you recover future medical, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  That's all money in the clear for you.  In other words, even though part of your recovery must repay medical providers and/or health insurance company, you still get enough from the other categories of legal damages to make pursuing the case worth it to you.  

The amount of the final recovery depends to a great extent on the severity and permanence of your injury, as well as your chosen treatment, and other factors unrelated to your medical condition (like whether it is clear who caused the accident, and the amount of insurance coverage available from all sources).

If you are receiving too many cell phone calls from creditors due to medical bills, you may have a legal claim against the callers.  If so, you should contact Florida TCPA lawyer Don Petersen for a free consultation.

My website has answers to many other common questions after Orlando car accidents, including other important ways to get the most money possible from your car, truck or motorcycle accident case.

If you need an Orlando personal injury lawyer, please call us to discuss your case personally with me.  If you live outside Florida or Georgia (where I am also licensed), then I might be able to help you find an attorney IF you were very seriously injured.

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