It stands to reason that many people who have been involved in Florida car accidents utilize a hospital emergency room to receive their first medical treatment following the crash. Our clients are almost universally pleased with the medical care they receive in emergency rooms, however, most of them are also astounded when they start receiving multiple, sometime very large, medical bills following an emergency room visit.
As an Orlando accident attorney who has represented thousands of car accident victims who have been seen in emergency rooms across Florida, here are three (3) things anyone involved in a Florida car accident needs to know:
- In Florida, any medical treatment related to an automobile accident should be primarily paid by the injured person’s own automobile insurance company, under his or her (or their resident relative’s) Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. (NOTE: Florida law regarding PIP has recently changed effective January 1, 2013. These changes are dramatic, and will significantly alter how accident-related medical bills have been handled in Florida for the past 30 years. Stay tuned to this website for more specifics.)
- You will likely be receiving bills from several different businesses related to your one emergency room visit. Most hospitals subcontract their medical work to separate medical groups of doctors and/or technicians. It is not unreasonable that you would receive separate bills from the hospital (for use of its bed and medical supplies), an emergency physicians group, a radiology group, a pathology group, a medical lab, and perhaps others like neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, or neurosurgeons if specialists are called in. Again, PIP should be the primary payor of these bills.
- In the event that insurance does not pay 100% of your medical bills, you need to know that medical bills are highly negotiable. I suggest you read this very interesting article in the Los Angeles Times about emergency room bills. As the story suggests, there is very little rhyme or reason to what hospitals and other medical professionals elect to charge patients. Many times hospitals will accept much less than their total outstanding bill if they can be assured that they are going to be paid something tangible in the short term versus perhaps never receiving payment in the future.
As mentioned above, stay tuned to this website for additional tips on dealing with outstanding medical bills. If you have any questions regarding an emergency room visit following a Florida car accident, or about Florida car accidents in general, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Bob Hemphill at 407-644-4444, or get your FREE copy of Kim’s book, Asleep At The Wheel.