What happens if you are involved in a car accident but do not have medical insurance to cover the cost of treatment for your injuries? This unfortunate situation happens all too often.
You are sitting at a red light and the driver behind you fails to stop, or you’re driving down the street and someone pulls out in front of you. Following the accident, you begin to feel pain in your back and neck, but are afraid to go to the doctor because you do not have any medical insurance. You may wonder to yourself, “Who is going to pay for this medical treatment?”
Eventually, yes, you may win compensation for your medical bills and other damages once you settle a personal injury claim or win you the lawsuit, but this may take months and you need to pay your bills now.
You do not need to feel afraid about not having medical insurance after a car accident. Go to the doctor.
Today, there are millions of Americans without medical insurance, and the car accident attorneys at Michles & Booth are here to help you.
What happens if I’ve been injured in a car accident and do not have health insurance?
If you do not have health insurance and are in a car accident, you might be able to rely on your own car insurance coverage regardless of who was at-fault for the traffic collision and take advantage of one or all of the following:
- Your Personal Injury Protection coverage through your own car insurance
- Your Medical Payments coverage through your own car insurance
- Or, Letters of Protection, if your healthcare providers accept them
So in essence, your own car insurance policy will protect you and pay for some or all of your medical treatment if you are in a car accident.
Filing a Personal Injury Protection Insurance Claim
After being injured in a motor vehicle accident, your first line of defense for paying for medical treatment is your own car insurance coverage.
The good thing about Florida law is that fault does not need to be established in order for your Personal Injury Protection, or PIP benefits, to apply and begin paying for your medical treatment.
PIP is also called no-fault coverage. The no-fault law in Florida means that in the event of a car accident both parties turn to their own auto insurance policies to make claims regardless of who is at fault.
So yes, even if you are at fault for the accident, you can still rely on your PIP benefits to cover your outstanding medical bills.
PIP is a requirement in Florida and each individual with car insurance must have it on their policy. This helps those injured obtain medical care promptly regardless of proving who was at fault in the accident.
Florida has strict rules to follow when filing a claim for PIP.
The most important is that treatment for any injuries must occur within two weeks of the car accident to be eligible for PIP reimbursement. In other words, your claim will not be accepted if you do not treat for medical injuries within two weeks of your accident date.
Furthermore, Florida automobile insurance laws require vehicle owners to have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage. This PIP coverage will cover up to 80% of medical bills including out-of-pocket prescription cost, dental expenses if needed, and rehabilitative services up to your coverage amount.
The other 20% will fall into the patient’s responsibility. However, there is a chance that the 20% will be covered by the at-fault party’s bodily injury coverage if they selected it, or other types of insurance through your own car insurance such as Med Pay coverage or Underinsured Motorist coverage.
Emergency Medical Condition
Another nuance to PIP is that in order to receive your maximum PIP insurance a physician must determine that you have suffered what is called an Emergency Medical Condition.
If a physician determines that your injuries do not meet the level of an Emergency Medical Condition, then your car insurance company is only required to pay $2,500 in PIP benefits for your medical treatment. In other words, your PIP benefits are capped at the $2,500 amount if you do not suffer what is called an Emergency Medical Condition.
Emergency Medical Condition, in Florida, is defined as a medical condition that requires immediate medical attention and could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to the patient’s health. If a physician determines you do have an Emergency Medical Condition, then you will receive your full maximum amount of PIP benefits.
If you have any questions about what qualifies as an Emergency Medical Condition, I highly suggest that you come and talk to us here at Michles and Booth for a free consultation.
Get your questions answered.
Also, we can help you determine who is covered under your PIP benefits and any other benefits through PIP that you may qualify for.
For example, the owner of a vehicle is covered by PIP in any motor vehicle accident, whether he is injured as a driver, as a passenger, as a pedestrian, or even as a bicyclist. The vehicle owner may also elect, but is not required, to extend PIP coverage to members of his family.
Furthermore, PIP will also cover 60% of your lost wages up to your coverage amount, $5,000 worth of death benefits if a death occurs, and mileage reimbursement to and from your doctors. Come and speak with us today to learn more.
Medical Payments Coverage
Another benefit that one can rely on if they are injured in a car accident and do not have health insurance is Medical Payments Coverage, or Med Pay.
Med Pay is not required in Florida, but is very helpful to select when selecting car insurance coverage. Med Pay coverage applies no matter who is at fault and covers the cost of reasonable and necessary medical care provided to the insured as result of a car accident.
As mentioned earlier, this coverage will help pay for the extra 20% that PIP coverage does not pay.
Med Pay coverage is often limited to a specified time period following the accident, which is usually three years.
The coverage is also limited by the amount chosen by the insured and can range anywhere from coverage amounts of $500 to coverage amounts of $10,000.
With Medical Payment Coverage you are covered if injured as someone else’s passenger or you’re even covered if you’re taking public transportation or injured by another driver while walking or bicycling.
Come and talk to us today here at Michles and Booth to see who is covered by Med Pay and the advantages it has.
Under-insured or Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Another coverage that one can select when selecting their own car insurance coverage is Under-insured or Uninsured Motorist Coverage, also known as UM Coverage.
UM Coverage is part of a car insurance policy that helps pay for your medical bills or car repairs if you are hit by a driver who doesn’t have car insurance, or if they have car insurance, they do not have enough policy limits to pay all your bills.
If they do not have enough coverage or they do not have any insurance, then your UM policy will come into play.
While you are not required to select this type of car insurance coverage, it is extremely important to have, especially today with so many uninsured drivers. UM coverage will pay medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering resulting from bodily injuries.
I would highly recommend listening to our other webcast involving UM coverage to learn about who is covered and what type is recommended, whether stacked or unstacked.
What happens if I do not have health insurance OR car insurance?
A problem that does arise, however, is if you do not have either car insurance or health insurance.
In these situations, your outstanding medical bills can still be covered, but only if you were not at-fault for the accident and the at-fault party has bodily injury coverage.
The other party has to have caused the accident. Without medical or car insurance, your medical bills will be paid for from the at fault party’s bodily injury coverage.
We hope that this article has helped you learn about the different options available for paying medical bills that arise when injured in a car accident. If you have any questions, whether you have been in a car crash or want to be prepared in the event that you might be, we are here to help.
Please feel free to stop by or give us a call for a free, no-obligation consultation.