After being in a serious accident, whether it’s a car crash, semi-truck wreck, or a slip and fall at a business, injured people often worry about how they will pay for their medical bills. People often mistakenly assume that the person at fault will have enough insurance to cover all their medical bills, lost wages, and other related damages. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. So, what happens if medical bills exceed policy limits? What should you do when there is not enough insurance coverage?
Our Florida personal injury attorneys are very experienced in dealing with all sorts of personal injury claims, including those where it does not appear there will be enough insurance coverage to cover the victim’s damages. Our attorneys can help to identify all the possible defendants, whether it’s people or businesses, so that you have access to all the available insurance coverage. Additionally, our personal injury attorneys are experienced at negotiating liens and medical bills, which can help you avoid financial disaster if the medical bills exceed policy limits.
You can contact our office at (321) 352-7588 for a free consultation, and we will discuss your potential options and help guide you through the next steps. You can also fill out a form on our website, and we’ll get back with you via email.
Types of Medical Bills After an Accident in Florida
There are many different types of medical bills one might incur as a result of an accident in Florida. These medical bills can pile up fast, especially if you had to go to the emergency room and if you need rehabilitation, like physical therapy. Some of the more common types of medical bills people incur after an accident are listed below.
Ambulance fees are often several thousand dollars. It’s not uncommon for someone to get transported from the scene of an accident to the hospital, and so ambulance fees are a common part of personal injury cases.
Hospital bills add up fast after an accident. When you go to the hospital for your injuries, especially if you have to stay overnight, those bills can be tens of thousands of dollars, even if you didn’t have surgery.
Laboratory and Imaging Bills
If you need to get various types of images taken as a result of your injuries, the bills can be huge. Most places charge hundreds of dollars for images. So, if you need x-rays, CT scans, or an MRI, you will likely a serious medical bill for those images.
Cost of Surgery
Surgery is incredibly expensive. After an accident, people often need to get surgery, and they often don’t get a surgical recommendation until they have tried other types of treatment, like chiropractic treatment. Surgery is generally reserved as a last option. However, sometimes, people need surgery immediately after an accident. It’s not uncommon for a knee surgery to cost $50,000 or more after an accident, and it’s not uncommon for a back surgery to cost $70,000 or more after an accident.
Physical Therapy Bills
The cost of physical therapy can add up significantly over time. Generally, people need physical therapy after a severe injury or after they received surgery as a result of an accident. The physical therapy can cost a lot of time and money, and it can be quite painful. Additionally, with all the physical therapy visits, it’s not uncommon for people to miss a significant amount of work, and this adds up quickly.
Bills from Family Doctors and Home Nurses
After an accident, the injured person may need specialized care. Sometimes, they can get the care they need through a qualified home health nurse or through their family doctor.
The Cost of Prescription Medication
In addition to all the medical treatment described above, people injured in an accident often need a variety of prescription medications. Sometimes, these medications are prescribed for pain, and other times they’re prescribed for treatment.
Understanding Insurance Policy Limits in Florida
Liability insurance will typically cover the damages and injuries you suffer as a result of another person’s negligent or careless actions. However, the injured person does not have access to an endless supply of money. Instead, the amount of money is limited, which is why the maximum amount of money available through an insurance policy is called “Policy Limits.” In other words, the “limit” of insurance coverage is the maximum amount of money the insurance company will pay, regardless of whether someone died or how severe the injuries are.
Let’s say that Driver A and Driver B get into an auto accident in Orlando because Driver B was careless. Let’s also say that Driver A suffered serious brain injuries and needed a $150,000 back surgery and $50,000 in various other forms of medical treatment. Thus, Driver A has a total of $200,000 in medical damages.
Driver B had bodily injury coverage to the tune of $50,000. Driver A had underinsured motorist coverage to the tune of $50,000. Driver B’s bodily injury insurance would cover $50,000, and Driver A’s own underinsured motorist coverage would cover $50,000. As a result, Driver A will still have $100,000 in outstanding medical bills, and neither Driver B’s bodily injury policy nor Driver A’s underinsured motorist policy would cover that $100,000 because the medical bills exceeded the policy limits.
What Should I Do if My Medical Bills Exceed the Insurance Policy Limits?
If your medical bills are more than the available insurance coverage, there may still be hope. Our attorneys are skilled at uncovering potential defendants and potential insurance coverage. Additionally, there may be other ways for you to obtain compensation for your medical bills. Below are some of the more common solutions when the medical bills exceed the policy limits.
Pursuing a Claim Against Other Liable Parties
In many personal injury cases, there may be more than one person or business that is liable for a person’s injuries. In Florida, if more than one person is liable for the accident, they can be assigned a percentage of fault. This is called “comparative fault.”
For example, if Driver A, Driver B, and Driver C all get into an accident and Driver B and Driver C are at fault, Driver B may be 30% at fault, and Driver C may be 70% at fault. If Driver A gets a $100,000 verdict, then Driver B will be responsible for $30,000, and Driver C will be responsible for $70,000.
Below are some of the more common types of cases where there may be more than one person liable.
As we discussed above, a multi-vehicle accident could obviously involve multiple liable parties. When more than two vehicles are involved in an accident, it’s often the case that two or more drivers are liable.
Semi-truck accidents almost always involve multiple defendants. A negligent truck driver is obviously liable, but the trucking company may also be liable for hiring or retaining that driver. Additionally, the truck may have been a cause of the accident as well, and so the truck manufacturer may also be liable. Similarly, if cargo falls off the truck and causes additional damage, the person who loaded the cargo may have also been negligent.
Negligent Security Cases
When a person gets shot at a business, like a bar or an apartment complex, this is the quintessential negligent security case. There could be many defendants in a negligent security case. Let’s say that a person was shot and killed at an apartment complex with a history of gate issues and criminal conduct. One defendant would probably be the apartment complex entity, whether it’s an LLC or a corporation. The apartment complex may have negligently maintained the security cameras. Another defendant could be the security company tasked with patrolling the apartment complex. Another defendant might be the company responsible for maintaining the gate that malfunctioned.
Trip and Fall in a Parking Lot
A trip and fall in a parking lot often involves multiple defendants. Let’s say a person was visiting a store and tripped and fell in the parking lot and broke his knee because there was a pothole in the parking lot. The store the person was visiting may be liable. Additionally, the owner of the parking lot may be liable. Finally, the company responsible for maintaining the parking lot may also be liable.
In addition to identifying other possible defendants, there may also be umbrella insurance coverage available. For example, big corporations and businesses often have an umbrella insurance policy on top of their liability coverage. The umbrella coverage will typically cover anything over the underlying liability coverage. Thus, you and your attorney should check to see if there is an umbrella policy that may be available before you settle your injury claim.
Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Policies
You may have uninsured motorist coverage (UM) or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) as part of your automobile insurance. If the other party’s insurance does not cover all your medical bills after a Florida car accident, your UM or UIM could kick in and cover damages over the other party’s insurance limits. The same is true of the other driver has no insurance at all.
Personal Assets of Negligent Parties
If there is no more insurance available, you may be able to sue the negligent party directly. If the defendant negligent party has a lot of money or assets, it’s possible for you to sue that person directly and seek a judgment. Once you get a judgment, you would need to seek to collect on that judgment, which can be difficult and time consuming. However, if the individual has enough money and assets, it may be worth pursuing.
Our Florida Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident because of someone else’s carelessness or negligence, our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you to get the compensation you deserve. We can help you to uncover all the avenues to recovery, and we can help you to maximize your claim. We’re here to help you when you’re ready.
Our firm offers FREE legal consultations with a Florida personal injury attorney. All you have to do is schedule your consultation at (321) 352-7588, or you can contact us on our website. At our law firm, lawyers do the consultations, not intake people or customer service representatives. What that means is that you will get to speak with an attorney at your consultation. What that really means is that someone who understands liability and the law will be helping you to determine your options and next steps forward.