Hi, I’m Nick Ortiz. I'm a personal injury attorney in Pensacola, Florida. Today, we're here to address the question of who pays your medical your medical bills after an accident. This is a major concern, because what you don't want to have happen is have your doctors and other medical providers send your medical bills that aren't paid to collections, which may ultimately ruin your credit and which may ultimately cause some people to file for bankruptcy. So, today we're going to talk about the order in which you want your medical bills paid, why that order, and then we're going to address your concerns that the at-fault driver should be the one paying your medical bills.
First, you should be aware that Florida is a no-fault state. If you want to know more information about what no-fault means, check the description down below. We'll provide a link to another video going over what no-fault means (Click HERE to learn more about what no-fault means). We are a no-fault state, which means that you are required to have personal injury protection coverage under your insurance (PIP, for short). So, when you go to see a doctor or hospital, you want to tell them that your treatment is in connection with an accident and that they should be billing your insurance company under your PIP coverage. Your coverage should be for up to 80% of your medical bills, minus any deductible, which also means that you might have a 20% co-pay. Also, keep in mind that your PIP only carries up to $10,000 in coverage, so they'll pay 80%, up to $10,000. That may go towards paying your medical bills and any lost wages, and the lost wages would be paid at 60%. What about the other 20%? If you have health insuranc, then you want your health insurance to pay for the other 20%. Or, you may also have an optional coverage under your auto insurance called Medical Payments Coverage (Med Pay, for short). If you happen to have purchased Med Pay, then that may cover the other 20% not covered by your PIP.
Now, where do you look to find this PIP coverage? If you're the driver, then it should be under your own insurance. If you're a passenger and you own an auto, then it would be under your insurance. If you don't own an auto as a passenger, then it would be under the driver of your vehicle's insurance. The order of payment is very important, because if you bring a claim against the at-fault driver, then you do not need to reimburse your insurance company for any payments under the PIP part of the coverage that they paid. However, if your health insurance pays for anything, then you do typically have to reimburse them out of your settlement, under what's called subrogation, for any payments that they made. So, if your health insurance pays first, you may be obligated to pay them back more, but if the bulk of your bills are paid by PIP, then you don't have to pay them back and you may only have to pay back less under the subrogation clause.
Again, I know what many of you are thinking, and that is, "why should my health insurance and my auto insurance be paying for my bills when somebody else may have caused the accident? And that's a legitimate concern. You still have the right to bring a claim against the at-fault driver in the state of Florida. You just want to bring that claim once your treatment is complete or mostly complete, when you've reached maximum medical improvement. Your claim against the other driver will include all your out-of-pocket losses, which include all the medical bills that you had to pay, your health insurance had to pay, and your medical payments had to pay as a result of this accident. It will also include a claim for any future treatment that you may need in connection with the accident. Now, what can you claim against the other driver? That depends on whether you've suffered a permanent injury in the accident. If you have not suffered a permanent injury, then you can make a claim against the other driver for any out-of-pocket expenses that you have and medical bills that have not been paid. If you have a permanent injury, then in addition to your medical bills and your wage loss, then you can also make a claim for pain and suffering, and other of what we call non-economic damages. As this can sometimes be complicated, I've put together a free resource for you. It's an ebook called The Top 10 Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Florida Car Accident Claim. You can download a free copy today at www.freecarcrashbook.com or if you want to talk to someone right away then I encourage you to give us a call at 850-308-7833. We look forward to hearing from you.