Is the At-Fault Driver Responsible for All of my Medical Bills Related to a Florida Automobile Accident?

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Fire Rescue Paramedic Red Emergency VehicleIn Florida, there are automobile accidents in virtually every community on a daily basis. Many of these accidents result in serious personal injuries to innocent victims. When a person is injured as a result of a Florida automobile accident, I am often asked as a Jacksonville automobile accident attorney whether the at fault driver is responsible for ALL of the medical bills. The simple answer to this question is “No”. Many find the answer to this question to be confusing. Then there is a second question asked as follows: Why should I, as an innocent victim of an automobile accident, be responsible for my own medical bills? Well, the information below will help answer this question.

Florida has a set of No-Fault laws in place to deal with two basic issues:

1. Insurance Payment of Medical Bills under Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

When a person owns a motor vehicle in the State of Florida, there’s a minimum amount and type of insurance that the owner is required to purchase that consist of two basic types of coverage:  PIP (Personal Injury Protection) and Property Damage. Florida personal injury protection policies cover up to $10,000 in medical bills and pay medical bills reasonably related to an automobile accident at a rate of 80% of the bills. When a person is involved in an automobile accident, the medical bills are submitted to PIP for payment and processing. The PIP coverage utilized is associated with the policy purchased by the victim’s insurance policy or  the insurance policy of a household member of the victim. Yes that’s right when you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and it is not your fault, the medical bills are processed under the victim’s PIP. If the victim does not own a motor vehicle, that the victim may be covered under the automobile insurance policy of resident relative OR the automobile insurance policy of the vehicle occupied by the victim.  As you can say the burden of coverage shifts away from at-fault driver and owner and over the insurance coverage for the victim under his or her policy, a resident relative’s policy, or the policy of the vehicle occupied by the victim.  As you can see, the PIP laws are quite confusing.  A Florida Personal Injury Lawyer can assist an accident victim with PIP issues as well as other issues that arise in the aftermath of an automobile accident.

2. Compensation for Pain and Suffering (Requirement of a Permanent Injury or Scarring)

In order to qualify under Florida law for pain and suffering type of injuries or damages, Florida law requires that an accident victim suffer a permanent injury (usually as determined by a qualified medical provider) or permanent scarring.  Again, this is another part of the law that does not seem fair in the State of Florida.  If a person goes through several bad months but has a full recovery with no lingering injuries or affects, under Florida law, it may be quite challenging to obtain compensation for the pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and inconvenience caused by the accident related injuries.

Going back to address the initial question, is that at-fault driver responsible for ALL my medical bills?  Again, the answer is “No”.  However, the medical bills that are not covered or paid for by PIP can be submitted to the at fault driver, owner, and / or the insurance company for the at-fault driver and owner.  PIP is just the first tier of coverage but PIP benefits must be pursued when they are available.

Due to the complexity of Florida No Fault laws, PIP issues, and permanency, it is often helpful for a person to consult with a Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer for advice, guidance, and when necessary legal representation.

Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. has been representing accident victims and their families since 1957.   We understand the importance of work, family, and individual rights to compensation.  At Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. we are On Your Side – At Your Side.

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