What Insurance Pays for Medical Treatment Required Because of Injuries Sustained in an Accident

car accident attorneyIf you are in an automobile accident, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage of your auto insurance is your primary health insurance. All auto insurance must contain PIP coverage. This coverage pays up to 80% of your medical expenses up to $10,000. There is usually a $2,000 deductible which must be met first. If you are in an auto accident and you are hurt, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident or you may lose the PIP medical coverage.

If you are injured in an accident arising in the scope and course of your employment, your medical care is to be provided and paid by your employers Workers Compensation insurance. This is after your PIP coverage if you have been in an auto accident. If you are injured in a non-automobile accident and it happened during your work, then Work-Comp is primary.

If you have your own health insurance, then it becomes primary after PIP has paid out its benefits, assuming you were injured in an auto accident. If the injuries were not from an auto accident and therefore, there is no PIP coverage and if you did not sustain the injury at work, then your health insurance is responsible for your medical bills.

If you are drawing Work-Comp benefits, you cannot submit medical charges to your health insurer. Even if you do not like the care rendered by the medical providers given to you by the Work-Comp insurance company, you can not submit medical expenses to your health care insurer. They will not pay the bills.

In summary, PIP pays first for injuries in an auto accident. Next, Work-Comp pays next if hurt on the job. If not hurt on the job, then your own health insurance, if you have any, pays the medical charges.

Do You Really Have Full Automobile Insurance Coverage?

Tampa Auto accident lawyerWhen I interview new clients regarding an auto injury claim, I always inquire about their auto insurance coverages. This is important because the driver that caused the accident may have little or maybe no insurance that would compensate my client for their injuries and economic losses. It is estimated that a substantial number of drivers in Florida do not have bodily injury coverage with which to pay for injuries they cause by negligently driving and causing accidents.

Most clients tell me they have FULL COVERAGE when I ask. Unfortunately, they are mistaken and really only have bare bones coverage. The minimum coverage that you must have to own and drive a car in Florida is No-fault personal injury protection ( PIP) and property damage. The PIP coverage pays up to $ 10,000. for medical expenses and/or lost wages of the at fault driver. It pays for the client’s property damage but nothing for the client’s injuries, lost wages or medical expenses

If that is all the other driver has for insurance, there is nothing I can do to help compensate the client for their losses. The only exception is if the client himself has uninsured or under insured auto coverage. What this means is if the responsible party has no or not enough bodily auto insurance coverage to pay for your loss, you can look to your insurance to pay your claim. They stand in the shoes of the at fault driver and will pay for your loss up to the limits of your UMI coverage. UMI coverage protects you so you will be compensated whether or not the at fault driver has the necessary insurance coverage.

FULL COVERAGE means you have auto insurance to pay for some ones injuries if you are at fault in an accident and you have coverage yourself if the driver that injures you doesn’t have bodily injury coverage. UMI insurance costs somewhat more but it is a coverage that you wish you had if the other driver doesn’t have enough coverage. Protect yourself and your family. Purchase UMI coverage. Make sure you do have FULL COVERAGE.

Florida Safety Belt Law

car accident lawyer Tampa FLFlorida law on safety belt usage is set forth at Florida Statute 316.614. You can Google this citation and review the law in its entirety. Here are the most pertinent portions of the law.

Federal Law required automatic crash protection systems to be built in to all new cars as of July 17, 1984. Florida law supported the federal law requiring automatic crash protection by enacting Florida’s seat belt law.

Florida Law provides that it is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle unless the person is restrained by a safety belt. Furthermore, it is unlawful for any person 18 years of age or older to be a front seat passenger unless restrained by a seat belt.

Any person who violates this law commits a non-moving violation and is fined accordingly.

This law also has civil litigation provisions that can affect a recovery in a personal injury lawsuit for compensatory damages. If it is shown that a seat belt was not being used by an injured party at the time of the accident, the defense attorney can claim that the injury would not have occurred or would have been less serious if a belt had been used.

While the at fault driver may have been negligent for causing the accident and injuring you, it can be argued that you contributed also to your injuries and disabilities This will be argued during settlement discussions by the defense and make a settlement more difficult to achieve.

If the case has to be tried and the jury feels that you contributed to your injuries, the verdict will probably be less than what it might have been if you were wearing your seat belt.

The best advice I can give you is to ALWAYS use your seat belt. It is there to help protect you. It does reduce injuries and prevents death. If you are hurt in an accident, make sure the at fault driver and the insurance company compensates you for all of your damages. There is absolutely no reason not to use your seat belt.

Why You Should Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Over the years, my clients who have been in an automobile accident have come to me and have made a claim for injuries against the adverse party’s insurance carrier. Much to their chagrin, some clients find out that the other drivers had only minimal vehicular insurance, none of which would pay a client any funds for economic losses, i.e., lost wages, medical bills, etc., or non-economic damages, i.e., permanent pain and suffering as a result of the accident and the injuries.

When I have asked my clients what automobile insurance coverage they have, they usually respond that they have “full coverage.” That is a “misnomer.” Florida is a “no-fault” automobile insurance state. What this means is that if you drive on Florida’s highways, you only have to have a minimum coverage of $10,000.00 for personal injury protection benefits and $10,000.00 for property damage liability. This coverage only pays for medical expenses and lost wages for the driver of the vehicle, no matter who is at fault in the accident. In other words, your own insurance pays for your medical expenses and lost wages, and the other driver’s insurance company pays for their medical bills and lost wages. Therefore, if you are in an automobile accident and the at-fault driver only has this bare-bones coverage, his insurance carrier does not have to pay you anything for your economic or non-economic damages because the adverse driver did not have bodily injury coverage.

When the person responsible for an accident and your injuries does not have any bodily injury insurance coverage, or he does not have enough bodily insurance coverage to compensate the client for their total economic and non-economic losses, the only way to be compensated for your injury and financial losses is UMI coverage. UMI means either “uninsured motorist coverage” or “under-insured motorist coverage.

The only way to protect yourself and your family from sustaining financial loss when involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, or an under-insured motorist, is to obtain uninsured motorist coverage on your automobile policy. There is an additional premium charged for this coverage, but it is reasonable, and you should not be without it. Keep in mind that a substantial percentage of people driving automobiles in the State of Florida have minimal bodily injury coverage or no coverage at all. Therefore, the chances of your being involved in an accident with one of these people is great.

When you apply for automobile insurance, the agent and/or insurance company are obligated to advise you of your rights to secure UMI coverage. It is your option to either select UMI coverage or reject it. If you decide to reject this coverage, then the insurer must obtain a written rejection from you concerning the coverage. If they do not discuss UMI coverage with you, and do not obtain a written rejection from you, then you are entitled to uninsured motorist coverage benefits up to the limits of your bodily injury liability coverage provided by your policy if you are in an accident.

Another important consideration is called “stacking” of coverage. What that means is that if you own two or more vehicles insured under the same basic policy, you could elect to stack your uninsured motorist coverage for the number of vehicles so insured. Example: if you have a $10,000/$20,000 UMI policy, and you own two vehicles, if you purchase stacked UMI coverage, that means the total available to you in the event you do have a UMI claim is $20,000/$40,000. If you have three vehicles insured for $10,000/$20,000 bodily injury limits, then you have $30,000/$60,000 UMI coverage that inures to your benefit if needed. But again, all of these options increase your premiums, but the coverage is invaluable if the situation arises where you need it. UMI coverage is probably the coverage you will need the most if and when you have an automobile accident which is the fault of someone else and you had serious economic and/or non-economic damages as a result thereof.