Who pays for my medical bills and pain and suffering if I am in a car accident?
If you are injured in a car accident, you are entitled to compensation for your medical bills and loss of income or earning capacity, as well as compensation for your pain and suffering. Florida is a “no fault” state which means that regardless of who caused the accident, your own personal injury protection insurance (PIP) will pay for the first $10,000 of your medical bills and lost wages. PIP will pay for 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages until the $10,000 of coverage has been paid. This is true for individuals who have the standard PIP coverage, but some people may have more than $10,000 of PIP, and some may have a deductible. What your PIP covers will depend upon what type of PIP coverage you have. The negligent driver who caused the accident will be responsible for your medical bills and lost wages that exceed your PIP benefits, as well as compensation for your pain and suffering, future medical bills, future lost wages, and future pain and suffering.
Florida does not require motorists to have bodily injury liability (BI) coverage. If the negligent driver does not have BI coverage or does not have enough BI coverage to compensate you for your damages, hopefully, you have purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) as part of your car insurance policy. If you have UM/UIM coverage, such coverage will compensate you for your money damages and pain and suffering. If the negligent driver does not have BI and you do not have UM/UIM, the negligent driver is still personally responsible to pay you for your damages. Generally, most personal injury law firms will decline to represent clients injured in accidents when the negligent driver/car owner has no BI insurance coverage and if the injured client has no UM/UIM coverage. That is because it is very likely that in the absence of such BI coverage, the uninsured driver/car owner is uncollectible. As we discussed in our previous entry “What do you mean, I don’t have full coverage??”, UM/UIM coverage is extremely important!