Due to Florida’s insurance laws, that answer can be tricky. Typically, in a Florida personal injury case, the person who caused the accident is responsible for paying your medical bills. In legal terms, we call the person who caused the injury a “tortfeasor.” If you are in an accident and have medical bills, regardless of whether you are injured in a slip and fall, dog bite, trucking accident, motorcycle accident, car wreck, or some other accident, the person who is responsible, the tortfeasor, is required to pay your medical bills. However, in automobile accidents, Florida’s No-Fault law applies and your insurance will pay some or all of your medical bills.
Because Florida is a “no-fault” state, if you are in a car wreck, your automobile insurance is generally responsible for the first $10,000.00 of your bills. Florida law is complicated due to its Motor Vehicle No-Fault law which requires car owners to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (otherwise known as “PIP”) insurance that covers medical, loss of work, and death benefits to someone injured in a car wreck. For medical bills, the coverage is 80%, so if you have $5,000 in medical bills, your PIP insurance will pay $4000 and you are required to pay $1000. To further complicate matters, unless you see a doctor within 14 days of the accident, you are not entitled to any coverage. Additionally, unless a doctor diagnoses you with an emergency medical condition, then you are only entitled to $2,500 of PIP coverage.
You are not required to prove who was at fault to obtain the benefits from your PIP insurance. So, even if you caused the accident, your PIP carrier will pay your medical bills. You simply need to show that you were injured in an automobile accident, and, if the treatment is related and necessary for injuries suffered in the car crash, then Florida law states your insurance company must pay them. This coverage also applies if you are in someone else’s car when you are injured.
Under PIP, after the policy amount has been used up, then the person who caused the accident is responsible for the rest of the medical bills. For example, if you are in a car wreck and you have $15,000 in medical bills, in most cases, Florida’s no-fault insurance law provides that PIP is responsible for the first $10,000, and the at-fault party (tortfeasor) is responsible for the remaining $5,000 in medical bills.
Florida motor vehicle law does, mostly, follow the rule that the person who causes the accident must pay medical bills with the exception of the first $10,000. There are some exceptions to this law, so it is important to consult with a lawyer if you are injured in an accident. Florida personal injury laws are tricky, and unless you speak to a lawyer who is experienced in handling personal injury claims, you may be missing some coverage or benefits which can help you. Please feel free to contact me if you are in a car wreck in Florida and have questions about your insurance coverage.
Following graduation from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Eric Stevenson held a number of positions including Assistant State Attorney in the First Judicial Circuit of Florida. Eric has been practicing with partner Christopher Klotz since 2015 litigating personal injury and car accidents in Alabama and Florida.