Florida is one of the several states across the country that requires its drivers to maintain mandatory minimum insurance coverage for purposes of covering personal injury in the event of an action. Personal Injury Protection, better known as PIP, is Florida’s minimum no-fault insurance law.
What is PIP?
Under Florida’s PIP law, Florida drivers are required to maintain a personal injury policy that provides up to $10,000 of immediate medical coverage should the driver be injured in an accident.1 As stated earlier, the driver should receive compensation from PIP regardless of fault.
Who is Covered under PIP?
PIP is mandatory for all individuals who own and operate an automobile. Failing to maintain adequate PIP insurance is grounds for license suspension as well as additional fines for purposes of reinstatement. It is important to remember that suspension will affect an individual driver’s license, tags, and registration.
So long as the PIP is current and paid for, it will cover the owner of the automobile. Moreover, PIP insurance extends beyond the driver, covering children, members of the driver’s household, and certain passengers who lack PIP Insurance as long as they do not own a vehicle.2 A child who is injured on a school bus will be covered as will be a driver or household member involved in a cycling accident. It is important to note that non-family passengers who own a vehicle will be covered under their own PIP policy.
Does PIP Automatically Guarantee Me $10,000 of Medical Coverage?
Florida’s law regarding PIP insurance requires that drivers maintain a minimum of $10,000 for immediate medical coverage. Since insurance reimbursement is of the utmost importance at the time of an accident, it is not surprising that those involved in an accident want to know the amount of money to which they are entitled.
PIP coverage is itself a complex concept. Although a policyholder is entitled to up to $10,000 in coverage, he or she may not receive the full amount. For the most part, a policyholder will only receive the $10,000 if certain conditions are met, the most important being that the injuries sustained from the automobile accident are considered an emergency medical condition.
In order to receive any emergency medical coverage, the injured insured must seek qualifying initial medical treatment within 14 days of the injury-causing accident. Failing to do so can bar the injured from being reimbursed. If the insured receives qualified initial medical treatment, he or she will be eligible for a minimum of $2,500 in coverage. Upon a determination that the injured has sustained an emergency medical condition, he or she may be entitled to receive the full $10,000 in insurance coverage.
What Medical Services are Acceptable for Purposes of PIP?
Under the PIP statute, initial care and services provided within the first 14 days, after the accident, can be provided by an M.D., D.O., D.C., dentist, hospital, facility owned by a hospital, and emergency medical personnel. This list, despite the common misconception, also includes medical treatment administered by a chiropractor. It does not, however, include those services provided by a masseuse or an acupuncturist.
What Happens if My Losses Exceed My PIP Coverage?
PIP provides up to $10,000 dollars in medical coverage. It is no surprise for individuals to find that their PIP insurance money, even if they are the recipients of all $10,000, will be used quickly as most emergency medical conditions can cost in excess of $10,000.
Whenever an individual’s losses are in excess of $10,000, he or she has additional alternatives to recover damages. The most practical alternative is for insured to carry insurance policies in addition to the mandated PIP. Additional insurance coverage can help provide additional support for those expenses incurred in excess of the PIP, whether or not the entire $10,000 is awarded.
Injured parties may also use the courts in order to recover losses. Litigation offers injured parties the opportunity to use legal means in order to recover damages incurred. Additionally, Florida laws allow for the recovery of other damages such as pain and suffering that are designed to help compensate for the pain, stress, and trauma the injured party has undergone.
Do You Have Questions Regarding PIP? Contact the Dolman Law Group Today
Florida’s mandatory PIP coverage can be confusing and leave drivers with a headache. Understanding PIP coverage and its applicability to your accident are crucial. At the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida, our auto accident attorneys strive to provide you with a greater understanding of PIP coverage as well as to provide you with the legal advice necessary to ensure that you can receive just compensation. Call us today at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765