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Will My Insurance Cover Physical Therapy After a Car Accident in Clearwater?

Will My Insurance Cover Physical Therapy After a Car Accident in Clearwater?

You may be wondering, “Does my insurance cover physical therapy?” The question of who pays for physical therapy after a car accident is more complex than it might seem at first. Part of the reason for this complexity is Florida’s “no-fault” auto insurance system.

PIP Insurance and Florida’s No-Fault System

Most states apply an “at-fault” system to personal injury compensation for car accidents. Florida, however, is one of a dozen states that applies a “no-fault” system to car accident compensation. Under Florida’s no-fault system, every driver must purchase $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.

In the event of a car accident, drivers typically look to their own PIP insurance to cover their medical bills, not the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. Normally, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.   

PIP Coverage for Medical Expenses

PIP will pay 80% of your ‘“reasonable and necessary” medical expenses up to policy limits—$10,000. You can purchase more than. $10,000 in PIP coverage, but $10,000 is the legal minimum. 

“Reasonable and necessary” expenses and physical therapy

Your PIP insurer does not have to pay any of your medical expenses, including physical therapy, unless they are “reasonable and necessary.” Your expenses are not “reasonable and necessary” just because a doctor or a hospital billed you for them.

Typically, physical therapy expenses are “reasonable and necessary” if your doctor recommends them. In some cases, your lawyer and the opposing party may negotiate as to the issue.

“Serious” Injuries and Florida’s No-Fault Escape Clause

Suppose you require long-term physical therapy that will cost a lot more than $10,000. Further, suppose that you can’t even afford to pay the 20% deductible.

 In that case, you will need to find a loophole in Florida’s no-fault system. Fortunately, one is available for ”serious” injuries. “Serious” injuries involve:

  • Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
  • Permanent injury other than scarring or disfigurement; or
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.

You can also escape Florida’s no-fault system if you die from your injuries. In that case, however, wrongful death compensation will go to your probate estate (and eventually to your estate beneficiaries). There are other exceptions to the no-fault rules as well.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If your injuries are “serious,” as defined above, you can file a personal injury lawsuit and claim 100% of your medical expenses, not only 80%. You can also seek non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.

The At-Fault Driver’s Liability Insurance

Shockingly, Florida does not require its drivers to purchase bodily injury liability insurance, except under certain circumstances (the driver had a previous DUI accident, for example). 

So, even if you escape Florida’s no-fault system, the defendant might lack any liability insurance with which to pay your claim. If they also lack personal financial resources, you might be stuck with the limitations imposed by your PIP insurance.

Settlement vs. Litigation

If you’re like most people, you’d rather negotiate a settlement than go to trial. Your bargaining power will depend on how much money you would probably win if you did go to trial. Keep in mind, too, that settlement negotiations can still take place even after a lawsuit is filed.

Contact a Clearwater Car Accident Lawyer Today

Hiring an experienced Clearwater, Florida, car accident lawyer is likely to greatly improve your odds of receiving the compensation you deserve. A lawyer is especially likely to be useful if your injuries might qualify for one of the no-fault loopholes described above. 

Of course, the lawyer you speak with may or may not agree to take your case. Due to the contingency fee system that most personal injury lawyers use, however, if they agree to take your case, you can be nearly certain that they believe they can win it.

Contact the Clearwater Car Accident Law Firm of Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Clearwater today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.

We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 223-6200

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 493-4418

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 314-5988

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 910-5060

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805
(863) 251-6196

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