Who Will Pay for Your Medical Bills After an Accident?

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in any type of accident, you are likely wondering how you are going to pay for medical care and treatment. On this blog, we often discuss personal injury settlements, but we wanted to focus our attention to a common issue that many of our clients inquire about—who is responsible for paying for the cost of receiving medical treatment immediately after an injury. In this blog post, we will explain who is responsible for your medical bills and how medical bills are ultimately are paid on an ongoing basis in Florida. Generally, the injured party is typically responsible for the payment of medical bills as they are incurred. Simply stated, even in cases where an individual is clearly liable and at fault for your injuries, you cannot obligate them to pay for your medical treatment on an ongoing basis. Instead, your only way to

be compensated is via personal injury settlement or jury verdict if you decide to file a lawsuit for damages. However, there is an exception in Florida for injury resulting from motor vehicle accidents. This is because Florida is a “no fault” state which is discussed in further detail below. In cases where you suffer injuries and there is no insurance coverage available whatsoever, the injured party is responsible for any and all medical expenses. In these cases, if you can’t afford to pay for the medical treatment, you may have to consider having the debt discharged through bankruptcy.

Car Accidents- No-Fault States vs Non-No-Fault States

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in Florida, your auto insurance provider will be responsible for paying a percentage of the costs of your medical treatment regardless of who was at fault for the accident. That is why Florida is a “No Fault” state. However, there is a statutory cap on the amount your own auto insurance company is required to pay. The dollar amount differs from state to state but in Florida, the limit is $10,000. Only if there is permanent injury and the medical, wage and out-of- pocket expenses exceed the available no-fault coverage, is the injured party supposed to be able to seek damages. This means that once your medical treatment costs exceed $10,000, you will be responsible for payment. Florida law requires that your auto insurance carrier provide you with notice of all benefits provided by your no-fault coverage and how the benefits will be coordinated with other insurance benefits within 21 days after receiving notice of your claim. If you have health insurance, you can make a claim with your health insurance carrier and ask them to pay for your medical treatment. The same applies for those of you who are on Medicare or Medicaid. If you are injured in a car accident in a state that is a “Non-No-Fault” state, you will be responsible for paying for medical treatment and bills unless you or the parties involved have Med Pay Coverage which is not a statutory requirement in Non- No-Fault states.

Premises Liability Accidents

In Florida, anyone who suffers injuries after a slip and fall or trip and fall is generally responsible for paying for their own medical treatment. However, it is always important to check and see if the owner of the premises has insurance with medical payments coverage available. One of the most important factors to consider when deciding whether to sue for premises liability (or any other personal injury) is whether the party you are intending to sue actually has the ability to pay out any damages. If a defendant has no assets or other financial means, the cost and effort of suing may not be worth it. When it comes to premises liability, the main source of recovery is generally the defendant’s property insurance policy or, if the property is a commercial property, a business/commercial or other general liability policy. Normally, if the property owner does not own the home outright, it will have a mortgage. This means that the property owner likely has property insurance coverage for the property since most the lenders require borrowers to have property insurance in place for their homes. Even in cases where the owner of the property owns the property outright, it is very common for owners to still maintain insurance for the property. Once you determine that there is an insurance policy, it is important to figure out how high the policy limits are for the insurance policy. This is because although there may be an applicable policy that covers your injury claim, if the policy limits are lower than your total damages, you may need to find additional sources to cover your personal injury claim and ultimately, your medical expenses. In cases, where a Medical Payment Coverages or “MedPay” provision applies, it serves as a type of accident insurance. Medical payments clauses in liability policies has been classified as a type of third-party beneficiary health insurance. As a consequence, the obligation runs to the injured person, or to the person rightfully incurring medical expenses rather than to the person insured against liability, the provisions being in the nature of a third-party beneficiary contract. The way it works is that a residential or commercial property owner pays the insurance company premiums (subject to possible exclusions) to be protected from potential money damages from an injured party. If there is a claim for damages, the insured business owner or homeowner can either resolve the claim by paying without notifying the insurance company or can submit the claim to the insurance company for coverage. To keep it simple, money is paid to the insurance company in return for the promise and benefit of indemnification to the insured business owner or home owner. Under most med pay provisions, an insured property owner can either pay for a person’s accidental injuries and seek indemnification or can ask that the insurance company pay the injured party’s medical bills directly. Alternatively, if the insured property owner chooses, they can refuse to pay the injured party for her medical bills, leaving the traditional tort liability avenue available for the injured party to pursue,

Jaime Suarez

An experienced legal personal injury defense professional in Miami, who is dedicated to helping accident victims with personal injury cases involving automobile accidents, brain and spinal cord injuries, slip and fall accidents, prescription errors, wrongful death, and accidents at work.