Several months into the process, my personal injury clients will often ask me about how their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits will affect their bodily injury claim and any possibly lawsuit my office may file on their behalf.
For the uninitiated, PIP, or No-Fault Insurance, is a type of mandatory car insurance in Florida. PIP’s purpose is to cover any medical expenses (and occasionally funeral expenses, lost wages, and/or other damages) that an insured incurs as the result of an automobile crash. The reason PIP is referred to as No-Fault coverage is that there is no prerequisite that any particular party be liable for the insured’s injuries for the insured to collect these benefits. Additionally, due to the liability-free nature of No-Fault insurance, a PIP claimant’s insurance premiums are not to be increased because the insured filed a PIP claim.
In the event that a claimant’s damages from an automobile crash exceeds their PIP limits, the tortfeasor’s (the driver that caused the accident) bodily injury policy (should there be any) and the injured party’s uninsured motorist insurance (should the insured choose to pay for such coverage) may cover these excess damages.
PIP BENEFITS PROVIDE CARE WITHOUT A DETERMINATION OF FAULT
It is this scenario which many of my clients often ask me about. Imagine that you are involved in a motor-vehicle crash wherein you are injured. Your first trip might be to a hospital, whether taken there by ambulance with emergency medical technicians, or on your own. Once there, you will be examined, checked out, and (most often) discharged with instructions to follow up with a physician. Should your pain continue, you’ll likely head to see an orthopedist, or a chiropractor, or a physical therapist. One of these providers will treat your symptoms and possibly order more diagnostic studies. At some time during your medical treatment, you might think that it is time to consider your rights with regard to the accident, and hire an attorney who can protect your interests. Your medical providers will continue to treat you and send their bills to your PIP insurer. As stated above, most people are typically able to receive up to $10,000.00 in PIP benefits from their automobile insurance coverage.
So, once you’ve hired an attorney, they will likely make a claim with the tortfeasor’s automobile insurer (assuming that person had bodily injury coverage) for your present and future damages (both economic and non-economic). It is at this time, that your attorney will enter into ongoing negotiations with the insurer. Medical records will be provided to the insurance company to prove your injuries and substantiate your claims. Any recommendations from your doctors regarding your future care, will also be provided, to allow the insurer to properly estimate your future medical expenses related to the accident. The insurer will put a value on your claim, and make an offer to you in an attempt to settle your claim without the need for your lawyer to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
PIP BENEFITS ARE PART OF YOUR TOTAL COMPENSATION FOR AN INJURY
This is where the existence of PIP benefits, and how much of said benefits you availed yourself to, comes into play. Insurance adjusters, when evaluating a claim, take what is known as a set-off from the valuation of your claim. If you have $10,000.00 worth of PIP coverage within your automobile insurance policy, your offer has likely been reduced by $10,000.00. In theory, this makes quite a bit of sense. You will conceivably receive at least $10,000.00 in benefits in the form of medical payments to your providers. However, if at the time your case settles, if you haven’t exhausted your PIP benefits, your offer still contains that set-off nonetheless.
CONTACT TAMPA BAY AREA PERSONAL INJURY AND CIVIL TRIL FIRM DOLMAN LAW GROUP
The Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has years of experience dealing with the insurance companies, varying insurance policies, and those who are in need of filing insurance claims. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an automobile accident and are in need of high-quality representation by a personal injury attorney, call the Clearwater personal injury protection lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today. We can help you navigate the complex path in maximizing your insurance company claim. Our phone number is 727-451-6900. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 N. Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765
Phone: (727) 451-6900