The increasing hustle and bustle of the roads in West Palm Beach is becoming a serious concern for citizens. In the past few years, numerous people have been victims of car accidents on these busy roads. Considering the rising number of car accidents, West Palm Beach car accident lawyers believe everyone should learn how to handle such situations.
The Medical Costs after a Car Accident
Car accidents can cause various injuries, ranging from minor cuts and scrapes to severe concussions and spinal damage. Seeking medical attention for even a minor injury can cost you significantly.
Every step after a car accident adds up to your total medical expense, like calling an ambulance, visiting the emergency room, getting diagnosed, receiving treatment, and going back for follow-up appointments.
Your medical costs sky-rocket even more when the injuries are severe. This is because severe injuries may involve specialized treatment, a stay at the hospital or a rehabilitation center, special adaptive equipment, etc.
Most victims who feel fine after a car accident decide not to seek medical care. However, some internal injuries do not show their effects immediately because the adrenaline rushing through their veins at that time covers the pain. Delaying a medical check-up causes possible underlying medical injuries to become severe over time, costing victims more that if the injuries were diagnosed early.
Who Pays for the Medical Costs After a Car Accident?
The most critical concern for car accident victims is the payment of their medical costs.
Paying out of your own pocket is unfair if you are not at fault. Hence, it’s essential to know all the available options to cover your medical costs after a car accident.
Who will pay how much of your medical bills depends upon two factors:
- The kind of insurance coverage you have
- Whose negligence caused the accident
- The severity of your injuries
Let’s look at the options available to car accident victims in Florida to cover their medical costs. Your car insurance can encompass several types of coverage.
1. Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Florida follows a no-fault policy in car accident cases. It requires the car accident victims to pay their medical expenses out of their own PIP coverage first, regardless of who was at fault.
The auto insurance laws in Florida mandate every car owner to have personal injury protection coverage. The minimum amount you have to buy for this coverage is $10,000. However, you can obtain $10,000 only if you get diagnosed or treated within fourteen days of the accident. If you fail to prove any emergency medical condition resulting from the accident, your compensation will be reduced to just $2500.
Personal Injury protection was introduced to speed up the payments for car accident victims. They do not have to go through the process of filing a claim or a lawsuit.
However, medical costs after a car accident might rise above $10,000. Does that mean the victim has to pay the excess costs out of their own pockets? No! Several other potential sources can help you cover excess medical costs when the limits on your insurance coverage run out.
2. Medical Payments Coverage
Another type of coverage offered by auto insurance companies is Medical Payments Coverage, also called Medpay. This coverage is specifically designed to help car accident victims with their medical expenses.
In Florida, having this coverage is not required by law. However, including this elective coverage in your auto insurance policy can help you cover the excess medical costs after a car accident.
Use Medical Payment Coverage to supplement your Personal injury protection coverage so that you don’t have to pay anything out of your own pockets. However, you will have to pay back the amount if you receive compensation from a third party.
3. Underinsured Motor Coverage
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is designed to meet your bodily injury expenses and property damage if the at-fault driver is not insured or does not have sufficient insurance. Car owners are not required by law to buy this coverage, but it provides you several benefits if you are in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
4. At-Fault Driver’s Auto-Liability Coverage
When your medical costs exceed the limits of your own auto insurance coverage, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance coverage.
An auto-liability coverage aims to pay for the expenses incurred by the other party when you are at fault in a car accident. This coverage is divided into two parts:
- Bodily Injury Liability: This part of auto-liability insurance helps you cover the medical expenses of a person injured in a car accident because of your negligence. It’s not mandatory in Florida to carry a bodily injury liability coverage unless you have driven under the influence or violated any traffic laws.
- Property Damage Liability: This part of auto-liability insurance helps you pay for the damage incurred to someone’s property in an accident caused by your negligence.
However, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance only if you have sustained severe injuries, including permanent and significant disfigurement or scarring, permanent injury, significant and permanent loss of a bodily function, and death. You can consult West Palm Beach car accident lawyers to discuss if this option is available in your case.
5. Filing a Car Accident Personal Lawsuit
You can also bring your car accident case to the court personally if your medical expenses exceed their insurance coverage limits too. If you win the lawsuit, you will be compensated through their wages or property. If multiple parties are at-fault, you sue all of them to get full coverage for your medical costs.
With so many options available, choosing the right one to get full coverage for your medical expenses can be difficult. Personal Injury Lawyers are highly experienced in car accident claims. They can answer all your queries regarding your legal rights as a car accident victim. Contact them to book a free consultation and case evaluation with them if you have been the victim of a car accident recently.