Last Update: 8/21/19
In a traffic accident, damages involve both personal bodily injuries as well as damage to property (like your car that was involved in the crash, and all your belongings inside). Of course, your first concern is getting medical care and making sure that everyone’s being treated for their injuries and is on the road to recovery. After that, you can deal with the financial consequences of what’s happened and how to cover the expenses that result from that car accident.
You’ll need to find ways to pay for those medical bills as well as getting your car fixed, replacing your laptop or video camera that was in the car at the time of the crash, as well as getting money to meet your monthly bills if you’re not able to work (”lost wages”).
Insurance coverage in a Florida car crash
After an auto accident, there are several different kinds of insurance coverage that apply to pay for your damages. PIP, MedPay, BCBS, Workers’ Compensation, and the insurance coverage of the at-fault driver are all potential payees of your accident damages. Your policies, those of your employer, and those of the other driver in the crash can all be involved in your accident coverage.
Is your own medical insurance your primary protection?
When you enter the hospital right after the crash, the first thing that the administrators are going to do is locate your medical insurance, taking down the group and policy identification numbers from the card you’ve got in your wallet or purse. This is your policy and it’s going to be there so that you don’t have a problem getting medical care when you need it.
First, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage kicks in to pay up to its maximum limits (PIP does not have to be paid back if you later sue and recover damages from the at-fault driver). Next, your health insurance will be protection for you right after the accident, which is especially important if you enter the emergency room without the ability to deal with paperwork because you’re unconscious or in pain.
If you don’t have health insurance, then Medicare or Medicaid may also step in at this juncture, to pay for your emergency treatment and accident care.
At the end of the day, the medical coverage you’ve taken the time to buy for yourself is the primary coverage that will be used when you’ve been in an accident.
Will my insurance company be reimbursed? What is Subrogation?
Your personal health insurance (as well as Medicare or Medicaid) will expect to be reimbursed for the claims covered for you when you have been paid damage claims by those responsible for the accident.
As you recover from the accident, you’ll also be proceeding with making your legal demands against those who were negligent and caused the crash. When you settle with them, or when you win at trial, then you will receive payment from the at-fault party (or parties) when usually includes a large payment based upon their insurance policy.
At this point, those insurance companies who provided you with coverage — your group insurance, your personal medical insurance policy, Medicare, or Medicaid, will look to that total damage award like they are creditors. In fact, they will have placed medical liens into your court case record if you have filed a lawsuit, just like other creditors do down at the courthouse.
Legally, this is called exercising their “right to subrogation” or reimbursement for the claims that they paid initially.
What happens if you don’t pay them back?
If the insurance company with a right to reimbursement or subrogation isn’t paid, then expect them to take further action. At a minimum, you may have your policy canceled or see your premiums increased.
What Should You Do?
A good piece of advice if you have been harmed in a car accident, is to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover.
Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person to answer your questions.
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.