Few things in life are more stressful than getting into an accident, especially one that leaves you with serious injuries. But if you don’t have health insurance, an accident can be devastating even if your injuries aren’t severe. A short trip to the emergency room has left some people with ruined credit and driven others to bankruptcy.
If your injuries were caused by another person’s negligence, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, which can give you the chance to recoup some of the financial losses.
But this poses issues of its own. Lawsuits can be time-consuming, and even if you win, the bills might already be in collections. Due to Florida’s no-fault law, they aren’t even an option unless your injuries are severe.
The good news is that there are resources to help you stay financially solvent during this time. Living without health insurance is a challenge, but it’s not hopeless.
Surviving an Accident Without Health Insurance
While health insurance is a crucial defense against unforeseen medical expenses, it’s not the only resource that can help you after you’ve been injured. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, one or more of the following may apply:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Because of Florida’s no-fault law, survivors of a car accident can’t sue the other driver unless severe injuries were sustained. Instead, injuries are the responsibility of the injured party’s insurance company. Drivers in the state of Florida are required to carry at least $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP), and in the event of an accident, they can count on PIP to cover 80% of your medical bills, up to their individual policy limit.
- MedPay coverage. This is an option on some Personal Injury Protection plans. If you have MedPay coverage as part of your PIP, you can cover the 20% gap that PIP leaves you with.
- Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) coverage. In some cases, Personal Injury Protection and MedPay have been exhausted, but the settlement doesn’t even cover the cost of an emergency room visit. 100% of $10,000 is still too little if your injuries are severe. If the other driver carries bodily injury liability insurance, you can file a claim with the carrier for additional compensation, and possibly avoid going to court.
- Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. This is similar to Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) coverage, but whereas BIL protects a driver from the other driver’s injuries, UM is something you buy for yourself. It provides coverage when you’re seriously injured by a negligent driver, but that driver doesn’t carry BIL.
- Letter of protection. This is not an insurance claim, but rather, a formal agreement that you reach with a medical practitioner while your claim or case is still pending. With a letter of protection, you can receive medical treatment that you otherwise couldn’t afford without health insurance. In exchange, you promise to pay for this treatment with any future compensation you get.
If you’re struggling to make ends meet after an accident, we may be able to help. Katherine has years of experience negotiating with insurance companies, which can greatly increase your odds of a favorable settlement. Call, email, or text us for a free consultation!