Florida Law sets out very strict requirements for auto insurance, including the requirement that all motorists carry a coverage called personal injury protection (PIP). This coverage is meant to pay for your medical bills, income replacement, and other specified losses if you are in a car accident – no matter who was at fault for the accident. This type of coverage is intended to decrease the number of lawsuits filed in Florida courts after car accidents and to ensure you have self-coverage whether or not the other driver has necessary insurance.
While there are some benefits of PIP insurance and it can simplify getting compensation for your medical costs in many cases, many auto accident victims receive claim denials or offers of settlements that are entirely too low for the losses they incurred in their auto accidents. In such cases, victims may have the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party to receive the full amount they need to cover all of their losses. In order to decide the right course of action for you, you should always discuss your specific situation with an experienced auto accident attorney who understands PIP laws.
When You Can File a Lawsuit
PIP coverage provides compensation for approved medical treatments, some of the wages you lost from missing work during your recovery, household services you need due to your injuries, and possibly other incidental costs. In some situations, this may be enough to cover your losses. For example, if you broke your arm in the accident, you may have visited the emergency room but then needed little further treatment if it healed easily. You may have missed a few days of work and needed pain medication for a few days and, overall, your losses may add up to about $2,000. In such cases, your PIP insurance should reimburse you for those losses with little issue.
In other situations, however, car accident victims suffer serious and maybe even catastrophic injuries that completely change their lives. They may need to be hospitalized for an extended period of time and may need surgeries and ongoing treatment for months or years. Their medical bills alone may rise into the hundreds of thousands. In addition, they may miss months of work and some victims lose the ability to ever earn a living in the future, which can also deprive them of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Finally, victims may suffer noneconomic losses including:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
PIP insurance has limits, which are often relatively low at $2,500 to $10,000 for many policies. Additionally, PIP policies do not cover intangible or estimated losses such as pain and suffering or future lost earning capacity. If your losses exceed the limits of your policy or involve noneconomic damages, you will have to look outside of your policy for full and fair compensation. Florida law allows you to file a lawsuit instead of filing a PIP claim if you sustained particularly serious injuries that resulted in life changes or permanent disabilities. If you were not at fault for your accident and you incurred extensive losses, you should always discuss the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit with an experienced attorney.
Contact the Clearwater PIP Attorneys to Discuss Your Options as Soon as Possible
At the Dolman Law Group, our skilled PIP accident lawyers understand how complicated personal injury protection insurance laws and policies can be. If your insurance is refusing to cover your losses or if you have sustained serious injuries, you should always discuss your options and legal rights to a lawsuit with an experienced Clearwater attorney who fully understands Florida law.
Furthermore, if you are unsure of the exact value of your losses (which is common), you should never accept any insurance offer without having one of our attorneys review it first to ensure it is adequate. Once you accept any settlement offer, you will not have the right to file a legal claim, no matter how serious your injuries and losses may be. Please call for a free consultation today at 727-451-6900 or feel free to use our online form to contact our office today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765