After a car accident in South Florida, seeking medical attention is one of the most important things you can do. Your initial assessment should be conducted at the scene of the accident by paramedics. If needed, they’ll take you to the hospital for further treatment.
Even if they don’t take you to the hospital, you should go to your doctor within the next couple of days to have any potential injuries more closely evaluated. EMTs who arrive at the scene of the accident are professionals, but they don’t have all the tools needed to fully evaluate injuries, like MRI and X-ray machines.
Whether you go to the emergency room or your general practitioner, medical bills can quickly pile up after a wreck. At Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, our Miami car accident attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve. But even the quickest cases can take no less than a few weeks to complete.
In the meantime, your bills will still be piling up. The good news is, there are ways you can make sure your medical treatment gets paid for, even before you get your settlement. Here are just a few ways to do so:
In the State of Florida, drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Though this law was expected to be repealed last year, it’s still in place. You’re required to have at least $10,000 in PIP coverage. This type of insurance will help cover your medical bills after a car accident, whether you’re at fault or not.
However, there are some nuances in Florida’s PIP insurance laws. One such nuance is that only 80 percent of your medical bills will be covered by PIP. So if you have $5,000 in medical bills, PIP insurance will only cover $4,000 of it — and that’s if your injuries are considered an emergency. If your injuries aren’t considered an emergency, you can only claim up to $2,500 in benefits.
It’s also important to note that PIP doesn’t cover every type of treatment. For example, if you believe alternative treatments like acupuncture are the solution, you should be prepared to pay for it out of pocket, because PIP isn’t going to cover it.
If PIP doesn’t cover your medical bills completely, there are other options available for the remainder.
If you have health insurance, it can usually be used for your medical treatments after a car accident, just like in any other injury situation. Of course, you will still be responsible for any deductibles and copays, but otherwise, you should be able to use your health insurance policy without much issue. This includes Medicare and Medicaid, as well as private insurance.
Your medical insurance can only be used to cover bills that are covered by your policy. So, for instance, if you take an ambulance ride, but that’s not covered by your policy, you may have to pay for it out-of-pocket. However, if you know you have a settlement coming, you may be able to work with the hospital to make small, minimum payments before you pay the full amount out of the settlement.
In some instances, your insurance provider may require reimbursement after you receive a settlement. They may also go after the other driver’s insurance company for reimbursement if you’re found not at fault. But all of this is secondary to the fact that, if you have insurance, you can use it to cover your bills. That’s why you have insurance, after all!
This is obviously the least desirable way to pay for medical bills, but there are times you may have to pay out-of-pocket. For instance, if you have little or no health insurance, or the other driver’s insurance company refuses to pay because fault hasn’t been established, you could be on your own.
The good news is, you may be able to negotiate a hold agreement with healthcare providers until you get your settlement. This allows to to make small payments (or no payments at all) while you’re waiting for your settlement, without sending the issue to collections agencies.
In some cases, you can also secure a loan to cover your medical bills. However, unless you can get a personal loan at a great rate, it may be better to avoid this scenario. Predatory lenders may offer car accident settlement loans, in which you agree to give them a large part of your settlement, but the interest on these loans is often very high.
If it comes down to it, you may be better off trying to borrow from friends or family, especially if they know a settlement is on the way. However, an experienced car accident lawyer in Miami can negotiate with the insurance companies to help you get a full, fair settlement quickly so you can avoid borrowing money altogether.
Being in a car wreck is a stressful experience. Between car damage, missing work and dealing with the pain of your injuries, the last thing you want to worry about is a stack of medical bills that you can’t possibly overcome.
At Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, we know how difficult this time in your life can be. Our Miami car accident lawyers are here to help you get the compensation you deserve, as quickly as we can. However, if we don’t think the settlement you’re offered is fair, we’ll let you know. This could mean more weeks of fighting the insurance companies — but there’s a much better chance it will increase the amount of compensation you get.
Call us today at (786) 224-4330 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll review the details of your case and any settlement offer you’ve received. If we believe the offer is fair and we can’t get you more compensation, we’ll let you know so you can move on with your life. But if we believe we can get you a greater settlement, we’ll let you know that, too.
So don’t delay; you risk nothing by calling us!