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What if My Medical Bills Exceed the Defendant’s Auto Policy Limits?

You’re in a car accident. Once the dust settles, you start to think about what you need to do next. You do the right thing and seek medical care for your injuries right away. Then, you wonder how you’re going to pay for your medical treatment. Since the other party is at fault for the accident, you assume that their insurance can take care of your medical bills.

However, when you look at the other driver’s insurance policy, you find that your bills exceed their auto policy limits. Now what? Fortunately, there are things that you can do to find resources to pay for your expenses. Here’s what you can do if your medical bills exceed the defendant’s auto policy limits.

Insurance Policy Limits and Medical Bills After a Car Accident

If your medical bills exceed the defendant’s auto policy limit, the defendant is still legally liable for the full amount of your damages. You can seek compensation directly from them or from an umbrella insurance policy if they have one. 

Also, if your medical bills still exceed the defendant’s auto policy limits, you can look to your own uninsured and underinsured motorist policy, or your health insurance. You can negotiate to settle your medical bills from the funds that you receive from the defendant’s insurance.

RELATED: Understanding the Costs of a Florida Car Accident

What Happens if Medical Bills Exceed Policy Limits?

What happens if medical bills exceed policy limits is that the victim can look to other places to receive the compensation they deserve. The victim has the right to seek compensation that represents the full amount of their losses. They are not limited by the fact that the defendant has a certain auto policy limit amount.

If medical bills exceed policy limits, the victim can seek payment from any other source that may be available, either through the court system or independently.

Can You Sue for More Than the Policy Limit?

Yes, you can sue for more than the policy limit. A victim can sue for the total amount of their damages. That amount may be more or less than the maximum amount.

In addition, the victim can seek compensation from multiple defendants if there is more than one party responsible for the accident. The victim can sue for more than the policy limit and then work to recover their judgment from any sources that are available.

What to Do if Medical Bills Are More Than Policy Limit

If medical bills are more than the policy limit, you can seek payment from all of these sources:

 

  1. Additional defendants – There may be more than one defendant in the case. A car accident might involve more than two vehicles. If only two cars are involved, a driver may be operating for a commercial purpose. When medical bills exceed the policy limit for one at-fault party, it’s essential to make sure that there isn’t another party to name in the case. 
    For example, if the driver is a commercial driver, it may be appropriate to name the driver personally, as well as the company that they work for. If multiple parties are liable, the law might apportion liability between the defendants, or each defendant might be jointly liable for the entire judgment. Ensuring that all appropriate parties are named in the case can help you collect your judgment when medical bills exceed the auto insurance policy.
  2. Other assets of the defendant (umbrella policy) – Even if the defendant has a low limit to their auto insurance policy, every defendant is legally obligated to pay the full amount of the case. If the damages exceed their policy limit, they are personally liable for the rest.
    For example, say an accident victim goes to court. They receive a judgment of $100,000. The defendant has a policy limit of $75,000. The defendant is legally obligated to pay the additional $25,000.

 

Some people have extra insurance called an umbrella policy. The policy is separate from auto insurance, and it might pay the remaining amount. If your medical bills exceed the defendant’s auto policy limits, you can look to their personal assets or their umbrella policy for payment.

  1. Uninsured/underinsured motorist policy – Once you’ve exhausted the defendant’s insurance, you can look at your own insurance. You may have elected to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. This insurance is for the exact situation of when a defendant cannot pay your medical bills in full from their own resources. 
  2. MedPay (In Florida) – Florida allows drivers to opt for supplemental car insurance called MedPay. If you have it, the insurance can cover some of the gaps left by the defendant. It may cover co-insurance or co-pays that can quickly add up.
  3. Health insurance – If you have health insurance, it may pay for your medical bills related to the car accident. Your Tampa car accident attorney can help you understand how the defendant’s insurance and your health insurance might interact. Health insurance can be a viable option to cover some of your medical expenses if they exceed the defendant’s auto policy limits.
  4. Negotiating with medical providers – When you’re unable to cover all of your expenses from the sources that might be available, you can negotiate with medical providers. The care providers that you have may be willing to accept a negotiated settlement in exchange for your care.

Although it’s not ideal, the care providers may want to receive something for the treatment rather than have bills go unpaid, and they may be happy to see a settlement that puts dollars in their pocket quickly. Your car accident attorney can handle the negotiations on your behalf.

Tampa Car Accident Attorneys That Can Help When Medical Bills Exceed Auto Policy

Are you in a situation where your medical bills exceed the defendant’s auto policy? We can help! Our Tampa car accident attorneys can explore all of the possibilities to ensure that you collect the funds that you deserve.

Whether it’s investigating what defendants to name in the lawsuit or researching insurance policies from all sources that might apply, we have the training and experience to represent your interests. Contact our team of Tampa car accident lawyers at (813) 333-6666 today for your free consultation.

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