Part of your medical bills and property damage compensation after an auto accident comes from your Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which every Florida driver must have. The PIP covers 80% of your medical bills up to $10,000, as well as 60% of your lost wages. But, no matter who is at fault for the car crash, you are still stuck with paying the deductible if you make a claim under your own PIP coverage. Fortunately, when the other party is at fault, you can have their insurance pay for 100% of your property damage.
But what happens to the 20% of your medical bills and 40% of lost wages that aren’t covered by your PIP?
Your own health insurance will cover most of your bills from an auto accident. If you don’t have health insurance, some doctors will work on a lien system, which means they will be paid for medical care out of the settlement of your car accident claim. But setting up a lien requires working with a lawyer. A personal injury attorney will often be able to recommend doctors best able to help you in either situation.
You can also deal directly with the Bodily Injury Claims Adjuster from the other party’s insurance company, submitting your medical bills after you’ve paid them, with the hope of reimbursement. Considering it is the Bodily Injury Claims Adjuster’s job to find reasons to pay as little as possible towards your medical care, this is a very risky move. Saying the wrong thing to a claims adjuster could cost you thousands of dollars. Seek legal advice and proceed with extreme caution.
The PIP insurance adjuster of your own insurance company is responsible for paying your medical bills and lost wages that are covered by the PIP. To get your PIP benefits, you and your employer will have to fill out forms to verify your lost wages for the insurance company.
For the 40% of lost wages not covered by your PIP, you might not be able to recoup them. Your best protection is buying extended coverage from your own insurance company before you get into an auto accident. However a personal injury attorney can help build a case to help you get compensated for your work time that was lost due to your injuries and medical care.
Fixing Your Car, or Replacing it
If the other driver is at fault, then his insurance should pay either the amount required to get your car fixed, or the amount your car was worth before the accident if the vehicle is totaled.
The Property Claims adjuster of the other person’s insurance company will inspect your vehicle and write a preliminary repair estimate. It is in their interest to make this estimate as low as possible. You can protect yourself by asking your own insurance company’s adjuster to create an estimate, or seeking a preliminary estimate from an independent repair facility. With your independent estimate, you’ll at least know whether the Property Claims Adjuster is low-balling you. However, the complete damage to your vehicle won’t be known until a mechanic looks inside. It’s at that point when the Property Claims Adjuster decides whether your car is reparable, or whether repairs would cost more than the vehicle’s pre-accident value. Once this is decided, they should cut you a check relatively quickly so you can get back on the road.
As the victim of another driver’s negligence, you can expect that driver’s insurance company to cover the cost of a car rental while your vehicle is being repaired, or until you receive your check for a totaled vehicle. If you don’t use a rental car, you are still entitled to the same amount of money to cover the loss of use of your vehicle.
The pain, suffering, inconvenience, lost wages, and the time you spend working with insurance adjusters who don’t want to help you cannot be repaired, or replaced. But, having a knowledgeable advocate on your side through this process may help you get the most possible compensation, and protect you from further financial injury.
If you have a case where you feel that you, a family member or friend, have been harmed due to the negligence of another driver , please call Christophor Ligori & Associates at 813-223-2929 for a free consultation.