Who Pays the Medical Expenses After an Auto Accident?
Many of our clients who have been injured in an auto accident caused by someone else’s negligence express concern about who will pay for the medical expenses associated with treatment of their injuries. Is it the insurer of the negligent driver that caused the accident or the injured person’s insurance? If it is the injured person’s insurance, is it their health insurance or their automobile liability insurance that will pay those expenses? Will the accident victim themselves be responsible for payment of their own medical bills or any portion of those bills even though they had no role in causing the accident in which they were injured? These are common questions that our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys often field from clients.
PIP Insurance and its Impact on Medical Expenses in Florida Auto Accidents
Under Florida law, the first $10,000 in medical expenses and other economic damages and losses suffered by an accident victim in an auto accident are paid by the injured person’s personal injury (PIP) coverage, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. This means that, even if another driver hit and injured you, then it is your own insurance that will kick in to cover the first $10,000 of your medical bills and car repair bills and other damages you suffered as a result of an auto accident. Once your medical expenses and other economic damages as a result of the accident have exceeded the $10,000 PIP threshold, then the other driver’s insurance kicks in to cover the remainder of your damages. If the other driver is either uninsured or underinsured, then the uninsured/underinsured (UM) coverage under your own policy would kick in to cover whatever additional damages over the $10,000 threshold you have suffered.
The General Rule for Medical Expenses Associated with Another Motorist’s Negligence in an Auto Accident
If you have medical expenses for treatment related to injuries you suffered in an auto accident or accident that was caused by someone else, then you will not personally be responsible for payment of those expenses. Those expenses will be covered by insurance, a portion by your own PIP insurance as discussed above and the remainder by the negligent driver’s insurance. However, even if the other driver that caused the accident that injured you does not have insurance, then you can look to your own insurer for payment of the expenses associated with treatment for your injuries. In either scenario, those expenses associated with the treatment for injuries that you suffered through no fault of your own will be paid by someone’s insurer. Your concern should not be whose insurer pays those bills; your only concern should be getting the treatment that you need for injuries that you suffered through no fault of your own.
What Is Subrogation?
This is a legal term referring to the right to seek reimbursement from another source for payments that have been made, most often by an insurer. Most insurance policies have buried somewhere in their fine print that the insurer has the right to go back and seek reimbursement for medical (or other) claims the insurer pays that are ultimately determined to be the responsibility of another insurer or someone else. This does not mean that your own health insurer would not pay a claim for surgery related to an accident that you suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence. Instead, it would mean what insurers sometimes refer to as “pay and chase,” that your health insurer would pay a claim for treatment associated with injuries you received as a result of someone else’s negligence in an auto accident. However, your health insurer may then turn around and seek to recoup that money from the insurance carrier for the motorist that hit you and caused your injuries. In that scenario, your health insurance carrier would have a subrogation right against either the insurance carrier for the driver that hit you or your own auto insurance carrier if the driver that hit you was either underinsured or uninsured. However, the recovery of that money and the enforcement of that subrogation right would be between the insurers, and you, as the insured, would not have any role to play in that scenario. All of it would take place between the insurers.
Seek the Assistance of An Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a Florida auto accident, it is of vital importance that you retain an experienced Florida personal injury attorney to assist you in receiving maximum compensation for your injuries suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence as soon as possible after the incident. At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A. our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal practice representing victims of all types of motor vehicle accidents in Florida. Therefore, if you, a family member or a loved one has been injured in a Florida auto accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.