Under the Florida no-fault law, your accident related medical bills are paid under your personal injury protection (PIP). Typically, PIP pays 80% of your first $10,000 in medical bills. After PIP is exhausted your physicians can treat under your health insurance or a “letter of protection”.
If you are treated under your health insurance, the insurer will have a lien against any settlement proceeds. If you treat under a “letter of protection”, this means that your lawyer promises to pay your physicians from your settlement. Either way, you will net less money from your settlement if your bills exceed your PIP coverage…….or not. Let me explain why it is not always best to avoid treatment to keep your bills lower.
If you suffer an injury in an accident caused by the negligence of another, your first goal should be to try to recover physically by following your doctor’s reasonable treatment recommendations. If you choose not to follow your doctor’s advice it will be difficult to persuade an insurance adjuster or jury that you were injured. I have had clients who have suffered great pain and not seen a doctor because they wanted to keep their bills low. Unfortunately, the case lost value because the adjuster did not believe there was a serious injury and they ended up netting very little from their settlement.
Alternatively, you do not want to over treat by running to the doctor even when they feel there is not much that can be done to help. By running up excessive medical bills, you are not necessarily enhancing the total value of your case but you are reducing the amount you will net from your settlement.
So, how do you decide how much or how little to treat?
I recommend that you ask your lawyer which doctor to see for your accident. A good personal injury lawyer will know the best doctors who will not over treat for you accident and can provide the best care possible. Also, stay in touch with your lawyer throughout your treatment and ask about the status of your medical bills.
By getting appropriate medical treatment, not too little and not too much, you can achieve the best result and hopefully settle for what your case is truly worth. If you have questions about your accident case, call the lawyers and Ludin Law at 727-572-5000.