Personal Injury Protection (PIP), otherwise known as “no-Fault” car insurance, is required in the State of Florida, and Florida law requires that all drivers carry PIP insurance. The purpose of PIP coverage is to pay for injuries sustained in an accident, regardless of who caused the accident. Florida, like other states in the country that require PIP insurance coverage, has its own unique rules, laws, and regulations concerning PIP.
If you have sustained injuries in a Florida motor vehicle accident, it is essential that you seek legal representation. The skilled and experienced personal injury lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA will be able to make a PIP claim on your behalf and can help to ensure that you receive all of the monetary compensation to which you are entitled. Florida personal injury and PIP laws are complex, and a good personal injury lawyer can help to streamline the claims process for you.
PIP coverage in the State of Florida is very similar to PIP laws which are currently on the books in New Jersey and Michigan. In Florida, PIP covers medical costs, lost wages, and death benefits incurred as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident – regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
It is important to note that most medical costs will be covered by PIP, with the exception of acupuncture. Under Florida law, PIP coverage may be available to cover yourself or other residents in your household, such as spouses or children, who were injured in a motor vehicle accident.
The following types of services and treatment may be covered by PIP in the State of Florida:
- Medical services
- Medication costs
- Surgical procedures
- Hospital stays and expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Diagnostic services
- Ambulance services
Differences between Florida PIP Law and the Laws of Other States
Florida PIP law, unlike the laws of other states, provides that only 80% of your medical costs are eligible for PIP coverage. For example, if you sustain injuries in a motor vehicle accident and the cost of treating your injuries amounts to $10,000, your Florida PIP coverage will only pay for $8,000. Moreover, if your injuries are deemed ‘non-emergencies,’ you may only be entitled to benefits in the amount of $2,500.
If you sustain injuries in a Florida motor vehicle accident and you are disabled, PIP will cover 60% of your lost wages, subject to a $10,000 limit.
Florida PIP Death Benefits
If the PIP policyholder is killed in a Florida motor vehicle accident, PIP will cover the decedent’s funeral and burial expenses. The decedent’s survivor or next of kin is entitled to $5,000 in order to cover those costs.
Filing a Florida PIP Claim
Florida has very strict rules for filing a PIP claim, and a skilled personal injury lawyer will be able to assist you with filing your claim. You should always keep a PIP log, as well as copies of all of your medical records and bills pertaining to post-accident treatment, in case there is a question at some point in the process. Some of the most important PIP regulations imposed by Florida law include the following:
- Treatment for injuries sustained must occur within 2 weeks of the car accident to be eligible for PIP coverage and reimbursement.
- Insurers have up to 60 days to investigate the PIP claim for fraud, but in any case, must pay your damages within 30 days.
In order to obtain PIP work loss benefits, you must submit a “Wage and Salary Verification.” Your employer completes this form and documents your wages earned during the 13 weeks that directly precede your accident and injuries. You must also obtain a doctor’s note which details how you are disabled and why you are not able to return to work following your accident.
Costs Associated with Florida PIP Benefits
The minimum amount of required PIP coverage under Florida law is $10,000. In order to reduce the cost of your PIP insurance premium, you may be able to do one of the following:
- Opt for a higher deductible (the maximum of which is $1,000).
- Choose to exclude work loss from your PIP coverage.
- Choose to exclude household residents from your PIP coverage.
Overall, the best way to reduce your PIP premium is to choose a higher insurance deductible, since eliminating work loss from your PIP coverage only reduces your yearly rate by a very small amount.
Right to File a Lawsuit under Florida PIP Law
Most no-fault insurance states, like the State of Florida, only permit drivers to file a personal injury lawsuit when their injuries are ‘severely disfiguring,’ permanent, or resulted in death.
However, in less serious personal injury cases, Florida law does allow drivers to file a personal injury lawsuit if the medical treatment costs and damages exceed $10,000. For example, if you sustain injuries in a Florida motor vehicle accident, and your medical bills are $20,000, you are entitled to sue the other driver for the remaining $10,000 which is not covered by your PIP insurance. The lawsuit may also include a claim for emotional distress, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and other non-economic damages that resulted from the injuries you sustained in the accident.
Availability of MedPay Coverage under Florida Law
Medical Payments, or MedPay, is similar to PIP insurance. However, MedPay does not have economic benefits associated with it. In some cases, it may be a good idea to add MedPay to an insurance policy in Florida because the liability limits are low
MedPay could potentially add an extra $5,000 worth of coverage (for approximately $100 per year) for some drivers and could help pay for the 20% of medical costs which PIP insurance does not cover.
Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
If you have sustained injuries in a Florida motor vehicle accident, our knowledgeable staff of attorneys may be able to help you obtain the PIP benefits to which you are legally entitled under Florida law.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Clearwater personal injury attorney, please call us today or contact us online.