After the shock and confusion that often accompanies involvement in a serious car accident begins to wear off, your thoughts may turn to obtaining compensation for your losses. If you are seriously injured in a traffic crash, your economic losses may go far beyond damage to your vehicle. You may be dealing with medical expenses well into tens of thousands of dollars and a significant amount of lost income.
In many cases, the protection offered to consumers by Florida’s no-fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance system is simply not enough. In addition, because PIP coverage does not provide victims with compensation for non-economic losses like loss of quality of life or physical and emotional pain and suffering, it is important for victims to explore all of their legal options after being injured in an accident.
What is PIP Coverage?
PIP coverage is a type of no-fault insurance that provides accident victims with benefits if they are involved in an accident, regardless of whether they were at fault for the crash. In return for guaranteed coverage, drivers give up the right to sue other drivers for their losses, except in certain cases. PIP coverage provides drivers with $2,500 in benefits for their injuries unless they have an “Emergency Medical Condition” (EMC), in which case they will be eligible for $10,000 in benefits.
What Kinds of Injuries Could Entitle Victims to Recover Beyond the PIP Policy?
Not surprisingly, many insurance disputes revolve around whether an accident victim’s injuries qualified as an emergency medical condition. More important, however, is what you can do to cover your losses in the event that your medical expenses and other losses that are in excess of $10,000. After all, if you require hospitalization or emergency surgery after a motor vehicle accident, your ills could very easily be into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Furthermore, if you develop a long-term disability because of your injuries, it could literally result in millions of dollars of medical expenses throughout your lifetime.
So, are accident victims with losses in excess of $10,000 simply out of luck? Thankfully, no. Under Florida law,1 car accident victims can bring a personal injury action in the event that their injuries involve one of the following:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
Because of this aspect of the law, your injuries need to be sufficiently severe in order to be able to even file a claim in the first place. If they are, however, you can recover significantly more compensation that you would have been able to recover through PIP, so it is always a good idea to speak with an attorney to determine whether filing a personal injury lawsuit is an option. Some of the injuries that may entitle you to file a claim include the following:
|· Traumatic brain injury
· Spinal cord injury
· Broken bones
|· Soft tissue injuries2
· Crush injuries
· Nerve damage
· Internal injuries
Do You Need an Attorney?
If you think you may be entitled to compensation beyond PIP coverage, it is critical to talk to an attorney as soon as you can. The kinds of injuries or conditions that entitle you to file a lawsuit are not clearly defined by law, which means that the assistance of an experienced attorney can have a significant impact on the way your case is resolved. Because the damages in a personal injury lawsuit can be several times the benefits you could recover through PIP, it is always advisable to explore whether you have the option of filing one.
Call a Clearwater PIP Attorney Today to Discuss Your Options
If you have been seriously injured in an accident, it is very likely that you will very quickly reach the policy limits of your PIP coverage. For this reason, it is very important to make sure that you explore all of your legal options by talking to a skilled Clearwater personal injury protection attorney as soon as you can after you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. At the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we are committed to representing the legal rights of people that have been injured in an accident as strive to get each client we represent the maximum amount of compensation possible. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at 727-451-6900 or send us an email through our online contact form.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765