WHAM!! You are rear ended while waiting at a stop light. You jolt forward in your seat and instantly feel some pain in your neck and back. Who is going to pay for your medical costs?
First, there are a few things you should know about car insurance in the state of Florida. I'm not an insurance adjuster or an attorney, but these are some of the things I know from a health care providers perspective.
PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION (PIP) COVERAGE
Florida is a No-Fault State. PIP coverage is no-fault insurance that pays 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages, no matter who is at fault for the accident. The most that can be paid under PIP for medical bills and/or wages is $10,000.00.
PROPERTY DAMAGE (PD)
Property damage coverage protects you if you negligently damage someone else's property with your car. It does not protect you from a claim made by a person you injure due to your negligence.
Thus, PIP and PD insurance are the only coverages that Florida law requires you to buy. There are two other types of coverage to consider as well that I won't discuss here, but you should ask your insurance agent about Bodily Injury and Uninsured Motorist coverage.
MED PAY COVERAGE
Med Pay coverage supplements your PIP benefits which pays only 80% of your medical bills and 60% of lost wages out of the $10,000 PIP limit.
Med Pay coverage does two things: it pays the 20% of medical bills PIP does not pay; and it lets you save your PIP coverage to pay your lost wages. This is important if an accident causes you to miss a significant amount of work. With Med Pay, your insurance company must reserve your PIP coverage for your lost wages and pay your medical bills out of the Med Pay coverage, until the Med Pay is exhausted.
Med Pay coverage is usually inexpensive. Be sure to inquire about the cost of Med Pay. I highly recommend you get this coverage.
What should I do if my insurance company offers to "settle" with me for $xx,000.00?
Let me tell you a quick story about a very nice man. He was hit by another vehicle and had neck pain. He came in our office to treat and was feeling better. Before we could order an MRI and see the results, his insurance company offered him a settlement for his injuries and lost time at work. It was a nice chunk of change and since he was building a house he accepted the offer.
A week later we get his MRI results which show several herniated discs in his neck. I knew right then that his insurance coverage was not going to cover all the care that he was going to need. Sure enough, by the time his insurance coverage was out, he was still in pain and needed more treatment, but at this point there was nothing that could be done.
Do not sign a settlement offer until after you have had a full exam and MRI if necessary. This is a reason to hire an attorney: to make sure you are protected and you get your health back! Ask Dr. Steflik for a trusted referral to an attorney and we would be happy to help you find someone you can trust.
Hopefully this helps you understand some of the complicated world of car insurance.
As always, call and we are happy to discuss with you and answer any questions you might have.
Coastal Integrative Healthcare
315 N Ridgewood Ave
Edgewater, FL 32132