You Must Seek Compensation After a Florida Car Accident
You can financially plan for many things in life: marriage, children, and even emergencies. However, most people do not plan on being involved in a life-altering car accident; nor do they plan for the mounting medical expenses that serious injuries can cause. The average cost of a three-day hospital stay is over $30,000, and fixing a broken leg can cost close to $8,000. Further, these costs do not include follow-up physician visits, medications, physical therapy, pain management costs, or necessary medical equipment. Combine these expenses with your pain and suffering and lost wages, and the final bill can be outrageous.
So it’s clear that the cost of a car accident can add up quickly, negatively affecting you and your families financial situation. But can your mounting medical bills affect other areas of your life?
Florida No-Fault Insurance
In order to encourage those injured in a car accident to seek swift medical attention and avoid litigation for minor injuries, Florida has adopted a “no-fault” insurance law. Under Florida law, operators of motor vehicles are required to carry “personal injury protection” insurance (aka PIP) of at least $10,000. This insurance acts as the primary payer if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident. Your personal health insurance would then kick in only if your no-fault insurance company denies your claims or if you exhaust your benefits. No-fault insurance covers your expenses regardless of liability, which is great, but since most drivers only carry the state minimum of $10,000, it’s likely that your benefits will be exhausted if you simply have to stay overnight at the hospital.
Common Medical Expenses After a Car Accident
After a serious car accident, you might be surprised how quickly expenses can add up. You should be prepared to receive bills from the following health care providers:
- Ambulance company
- Hospital facility
- Hospital radiology
- Hospital physicians
- Medical equipment
- Private physicians
- Private radiology
- Chiropractic care
- Physical therapy
A single MRI can cost close to $1,000. So if you injure multiple areas of your body in an accident, you may require multiple MRIs over the course of your treatment. Furthermore, car accidents often result in spinal cord and neck injuries, such as whiplash, sprains, strains, dislocation, and herniated disks. These injuries can be difficult to treat, and rehabilitation can require three to five physical therapy visits per week, including chiropractic and pain management care. Even with continued treatment, severe herniation can require spinal fusion surgery, which costs over $100,000 and requires an average of $70,000 in rehabilitation expenses. If you have exhausted your no-fault benefits and do not have sufficient medical insurance to cover your costs, how can nearly $200,000 in unpaid medical expenses affect your life?
Unpaid Medical Bills and Your Credit
As the majority of medical facilities do not provide advanced billing services, do not be surprised if you begin to receive calls from collection agencies while you are in the process of negotiating or waiting for payment of your medical debt. Some medical providers are quick to send overdue payments to collections, and the collection agencies may be even quicker to report your debt to the credit agencies.
Although credit agencies have a mandatory waiting period before allowing medical debt to affect your credit, and paid-off medical debt will cease to affect your credit, nearly 43 million Americans have medical debt on their credit report. Even if you are entitled to payment of your medical bills from an insurance company or lawsuit, this does not stop the debt from affecting your credit score while such payments are pending. Poor credit can result in a multitude of personal difficulties, including:
- Trouble renting an apartment
- Inability to get a mortgage
- Getting turned down for a job
- Getting turned down for a personal loan or car loan
- Increased insurance rates
Again, even when you are entitled to payment of your medical bills through a third-party source, this can take time without the aid of an experienced personal injury attorney.
You Are Entitled to Expedient Compensation for Your Injuries
If you were injured in a Florida car accident and you were not deemed liable, you are entitled to full compensation for your medical expenses. This includes compensation from your own no-fault insurance company, compensation for the liable driver’s insurance company up to the policy limits, and compensation from the liable driver personally. Provided your treatment is deemed medically necessary from independent physicians, even your out-of-pocket expenses, such as over-the-counter medications and medical transportation expenses, can be recovered in a personal injury action.
Not only can you recover your medical expenses, but you can also recover for pain and suffering and lost wages. It is important to document all expenses incurred, even for a bottle of ibuprofen if it’s related to the treatment of your accident injuries. Additionally, if the injuries you suffered left you unable to perform daily household activities such as cleaning and driving, you can also seek compensation for having to pay someone to perform these tasks for you. You should never settle for less than what you deserve after a serious Florida car accident.
Hire a Florida Personal Injury Attorney to Fight for You
It is essential that you contact a Florida personal injury attorney after a car accident, even for minor injuries. One visit to the emergency room can result in thousands of dollars of unexpected medical expenses. This applies even if you believe your injuries are not severe, since many spinal and traumatic brain injuries may not develop until a few days or even weeks after the accident.
Personal injury cases and Florida insurance laws are complex, and there is a lot of information that everyday citizens should not be expected to know. However, the law is here to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve after an accident. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we are here to fight for every penny you deserve. We are your premier personal injury attorneys in the greater Tampa Bay area. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation about your car accident.
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- Call Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at (727) 451-6900
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Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765