When you've been injured in an accident, the last thing on your mind should be how you're going to pay your medical bills. Unfortunately, that's often not the case. While you're depending on your healthcare providers to write you a clean bill of health, your healthcare providers are expecting payment on your mountain of medical bills. Don't let medical debt stand in the way of receiving proper treatment.
After being injured due to the result of a car crash, slip and fall, or being hit as a pedestrian, you're entitled to compensation for the medical expenses you suffered as a result. If you've recently sustained injuries in a personal injury accident, continue reading to learn who is actually responsible for your medical bills, how to claim medical expenses, and how an attorney can help.
What Are Personal Injury Medical Expenses?
Medical expenses are typically classified as compensatory damages, which reimburse a victim for money lost due to the accident that caused their injuries. General compensatory damages are available in almost all injury cases, including slip and falls, medical malpractice, auto accidents, and pedestrian accidents.
These types of damages are also referred to as economic damages, as there is a specific dollar amount tacked to them. For medical expenses, a victim can claim any type of medical-related cost that was endured as a result of injuries. If you are a victim of a medical mistake, do not hesitate to speak to a medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case.
Types of Medical Expenses
Medical expenses can pile up quickly, especially if your medical issues are ongoing and will require extensive treatment. When documenting injuries, it's important to include all expenses from the start of the accident, including your initial doctor's visit or ambulance ride.
- Hospital bills
- Ambulance fees
- Surgery costs
- Laboratory fees
- Physical therapy bills
- Family physician bills
- Pain management treatment
- Cost of prescription medication
In addition to past and current medical bills, you can also claim future medical expenses in a personal injury lawsuit. However, any future expenses you claim must be connected to the original injury. For example, if you suffered spinal trauma as a result of an auto accident and haven't had surgery at the time of trial, but expect to in the future, you can claim this as a future medical expense.
Who Is Responsible for Medical Bills After an Accident?
After an accident, the law does not require the person who injured you to pay your medical bills on an ongoing basis. You are, or more specifically your health insurance is, generally responsible for the payment of your medical bills as you incur them. However, the type of accident you suffered can affect the order in which your medical bills are paid, and if you will receive help for them.
Medical Expenses After an Auto Accident
Florida is a no-fault state and requires every driver to purchase a minimum of $10,000 worth of Personal Injury Protection (PIP), or no-fault insurance. No-fault insurance means that your own auto insurer will pay for your immediate medical bills and lost wages to a certain degree regardless of who was at fault for an accident. Your PIP coverage is limited to the amount purchased on your policy, so if you purchased the $10,000 minimum, you will only have $10,000 worth of immediate medical treatment coverage.
The purpose of no-fault insurance is to provide all Florida drivers with prompt medical treatment, regardless if they have health insurance or not. After your medical bills exceed your PIP coverage limit, you are responsible for paying them. If you have health insurance, your health insurer will take overpaying your medical bills. If you are on Medicare or a state-funded health insurance program through Medicaid, those entities will pay the bills. If you do not have health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, then you are responsible for working out payment arrangements with your healthcare providers.
- A bicyclist
- A pedestrian
- A passenger in another's vehicle
Medical Bills after a Slip and Fall
If you've slipped and fallen on another's premises, you are generally responsible for the payment of your medical bills, unless the premises owner's property insurance policy has "med pay" coverage. "Med pay" coverage pays a victim's medical bills up to the policy limit, which will vary from policyholder to policyholder. After that, the victim is responsible for paying their own medical bills, either through health insurance or through an arrangement with a medical provider.
Your medical bills will be a large part of how we establish damages and how we determine the amount we demand from the insurance company. Keep a record of all your medical bills, they will be needed as the main factor in substantiating and offering.
Damages from Other Personal Injury Accidents
Living in Florida, personal injury is not restricted to land. A victim can also be injured while out on a day of boating. In the case of boating accidents, boating insurance policies rarely have "med-pay" insurance coverage, meaning that you will likely be responsible for paying your medical bills from the beginning. This is the same for other personal injury accidents, such as being attacked by a friend or neighbor's pet or being burned while at their premises. It's likely that you will be responsible for your own medical expenses, utilizing your own medical insurance.
What Is a Victim Expected to Pay?
Regardless if your initial medical bills are covered through PIP coverage, your healthcare insurance, or an agreement between yourself and your healthcare provider, what is and is not covered will hinge on the policy/agreement itself.
- The deductible amount under their health insurance policy
- Co-payments required under a health insurance policy
- Any charges that are not typically covered by the policy
Additionally, if you have been injured in an accident and have filed a personal injury claim to recover the cost of medical bills, the healthcare insurers who paid for these medical costs may be able to file a medical lien once you've received a settlement. A medical lien is a demand for repayment for personal injury treatment and medical bills that can be placed against your settlement earnings. After fighting for your compensation, you don't want to be left owing doctors money when all is said and done. This is why hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is a critical decision.
How Do You Claim Medical Benefits?
You should report an accident to the insurance company within 24 hours of the event. In the case of an auto accident, you should alert the insurance company as soon as you're physically able. In most cases, you can either call the telephone number listed on your policy documents or you can access your online account to begin a claim. Alerting your insurance company after an auto, trucking, bicycle, pedestrian, or motorcycle case will begin an internal investigation within your insurer, and will also enact your PIP benefits to cover the upcoming tide of incoming medical bills.
For auto accidents in which you were not at fault as well as slip and fall, boating, and other personal injury accidents, contact the insurance provider of the business, owner, or at-fault driver. This is considered a third-party claim, as you're filing with the insurance provider of another person or business. Most insurance holders have coverage for third parties who are injured as a result of their actions.
You'll likely be required to provide information about the cause of the accident and the extent of your injuries. The insurance company will open an investigation of the claim, during which you may be asked to provide photos, names of witnesses, or an independent medical examination by a doctor of the insurer's choice. If you choose to work with a personal injury attorney, they will file the third-party claim for you, so you won't have to haggle with the opposing insurance company. This is a wise decision as your personal injury lawyer will be able to advise you on what is in your best interest to provide to the insurance companies.
How an Attorney Can Help: Before, During, After a Lawsuit
Hiring an attorney is a decision that benefits your case from day one. Once the claims process has begun, an attorney can collect all necessary paperwork and evidence to prove your damages. If you're battling against an insurance company, an attorney will bear the brunt of this work, taking all phone calls from the insurance company and negotiating settlements.
If your lawsuit goes to trial, a personal injury attorney will help calculate your medical expenses and collect all medical bills that support the amount you are claiming. A lawyer can also locate a treating physician or an expert witness to testify as to the reasonableness of the cost of your medical expenses. Hiring an attorney means you'll have a professional in your corner who has previous experience handling negotiations with medical providers. Your attorney will make sure that once you've settled your case, no bills are left unaccounted for.
Seeking Guidance for Medical Expenses
Have you recently suffered medical expenses as a result of a personal injury accident? You should never have to worry about seeking the medical treatment you need or get bullied into paying more than you're required. If you've been injured as a result of another's negligence, whether through a car crash, slip and fall, or other personal injury accident, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim.
Get started by filling out Weinstein Legal's free and non-binding personal injury settlement calculator. By including general information on your case, such as resulting medical expenses, lost wages, and projected future damages, you can receive an estimated settlement to see how much you could gain in financial compensation.
Then, contact the personal injury attorneys at Weinstein Legal to get a more comprehensive idea of what your case is worth. Our team will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your accident injuries.