If your medical bills exceed policy limits, you may pursue compensation through a legal claim against the defendant. You may look for other motor vehicle insurance policies, and health insurance coverage or negotiate for medical care at reduced rates. Call Maderal Byrne & Furst PLLC at (305) 520-5690 to talk about your legal options with a car accident lawyer in Coral Gables, FL.
Car Accident Policy Limits and Medical Bills
Florida law requires motor vehicle owners to have car insurance. However, the amounts required are minimal, and they are limited.
Drivers must carry Personal Injury Protection of at least $10,000 and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage. But Florida law doesn’t require most drivers to have Bodily Injury Liability (BIL). That means, if someone hits you, and they’re at fault for the accident, there’s a good chance they won’t have liability insurance to cover it.
With PIP minimums starting at $10,000, you may quickly exhaust your car accident policy limits. What can you do when medical bills exceed policy limits? Fortunately, there are several things you can do to find additional resources for your medical care costs.
What Happens if Your Medical Bills Exceed Policy Limits?
If your medical bills exceed policy limits, you are personally responsible for paying, even if the accident is not your fault. However, you may seek compensation through a legal claim, additional insurance policies and negotiations with medical care providers.
9 Steps to Take If Your Medical Bills Are Higher Than Your Policy Limits
MedPay is optional, additional insurance that you can purchase along with your Florida no-fault benefits. Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay) provides additional payments for medical expenses relating to the accident including amounts that may not be covered by your PIP benefits.
MedPay is a no-fault insurance, so you shouldn’t have to prove that another party is at fault for the accident. Check to see if you have this coverage and determine your policy limits.
Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage
Florida does not require non-commercial drivers to carry bodily injury liability insurance. There’s a good chance that the party at fault for the accident won’t have liability insurance to cover damages. However, you may have purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that can help.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage applies when the other party doesn’t have insurance, or they don’t have enough to cover liability damages.
Coverage can be a welcome relief when your medical bills exceed policy limits.
Umbrella insurance is meant to protect a person’s assets against unforeseeable liability, including car accidents. If the other driver has umbrella insurance, it may provide compensation when their car insurance is insufficient.
Check to see if the party at fault has an umbrella policy that applies if they are liable for car accident damages.
Defendant personal liability
Even if there is no insurance to pay a judgment, the defendant may still be liable to you in damages. Florida Statutes § 627.737 creates personal legal responsibility in tort for economic and non-economic damages when a victim suffers a serious or permanent injury, significant and permanent scars, disfigurement or death.
A person can’t limit this liability by having insurance. If the party responsible has personal assets, you may seek to claim damages through a personal judgment against them. A lawyer can help you evaluate the situation and find sources of compensation.
Other legally liable defendants
More than one party can be at fault for an accident. For example, the driver may have committed a traffic violation that makes them at fault, but the design or condition of the road may have also played a part. There may have been a vehicle defect that contributed to the accident. An employer may be legally responsible for poor hiring or training practices.
Fully evaluating the case for other legally liable defendants can reveal sources of compensation when medical bills exceed policy limits.
If you have health insurance, you can apply it to your car accident medical bills. Even though there may be PIP, MedPay and third-party compensation that may apply, your health insurance should apply, too.
There may be deductibles and co-pays, but health insurance may provide some coverage when you have exhausted car accident insurance limits.
Negotiating with medical care providers
You may be able to negotiate with medical care providers for reduced medical care costs. They may agree to provide care at discounted rates. Ask about discounts, charity care and income-based rates, if applicable. Payment plans may be available.
Review your bills carefully
Be sure to review your medical bills carefully. Look for itemized costs.
Scrutinize the billing codes used for the services you receive. Medical bills can be complex and confusing, but you may find errors or use the appeal process to reduce your medical expenses.
Seek Medicaid eligibility
If you receive Medicaid, your benefits may cover your car accident medical bills. If you have a disability, or if your car accident injuries result in a disability, you may qualify to participate. Many children who receive Supplemental Security Income payments automatically qualify for Medicaid, and other children may qualify, too. When a car accident results in severe injury, disability programs may be explored including Medicaid eligibility.
The possible courses of action – and what you should do – vary from case to case. Our legal team can evaluate your specific situation and give you suggestions that are specific to your case.
Contact a Lawyer If Your Damages Exceed Your Insurance Limits
You may qualify to bring a tort claim under Florida’s no-fault law. Compensation may come from the defendant’s car insurance, umbrella policy or personal liability. There may be multiple defendants named in a claim. In addition, you may have insurance policies that can help with medical expenses.
As experienced car accident lawyers, the team at Maderal Byrne & Furst understands it’s concerning when medical bills exceed policy limits. We explore every opportunity for you to recover compensation for your medical bills and other damages. To get help from a lawyer today, call (305) 520-5690 or message us now.