In Florida, the no-fault auto insurance law has been in place since 1972. This law requires a driver to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage as part of their auto insurance. The PIP coverage covers the insured person’s bills irrespective of the party at fault in an accident. This means that your insurance coverage pays the medical bills and other financial losses up to the policy limits in case of an accident.
In Florida, all motorists must purchase a minimum of $10,000 PIP coverage. The primary purpose of PIP insurance is to cover the insured’s medical expenses. However, it also provides coverage for other non-medical expenses.
The Scope of PIP Insurance
The benefits of PIP insurance coverage apply regardless of who is responsible for a car accident. The scope of the PIP coverage extends beyond the policyholder. As outlined by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the PIP insurance also covers:
- The insured’s children and not just for the accident that involved the insured’s vehicle but even for crashes that occur when the children are in a school bus
- Members of the insured’s household
- Passengers present at the time of the accident as long as they do not own vehicles and have no PIP insurance coverage
- The PIP coverage also protects the insured when they are a passenger in another vehicle
- The insurance plan covers the insured if they suffer injuries in an accident as a pedestrian or a bicyclist.
The PIP insurance may cover more than the medical expenses for the injuries suffered in an accident. It may also cover:
- Lost wages
- Rehabilitation costs
- Funeral costs
- Replacement costs
The PIP insurance coverage may not always be enough to cover the injuries suffered in a severe accident. To get additional compensation, the policyholder would have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
You can only bring a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party if you exhaust the PIP coverage. Therefore, your damages would have to exceed $10,000 for you to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Injuries that Span Beyond the PIP Coverage
For you to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible for the accident, the injuries suffered must qualify as serious. Injuries that can help you shed the limitations of Florida’s no-fault insurance laws are:
- Significant disfigurement or scarring
- Severe bone fractures
- A permanent limitation of the use of a part of your body
- Permanent or significant use of a bodily function
- Permanent injuries
- Loss of life
You are not limited to making a PIP claim under your insurance policy if your injuries fall under the above categories. Through a personal injury lawsuit or third-party car insurance claim, you can hold the party at fault responsible. Upon filing a personal injury lawsuit, you can seek compensation for all categories of economic and non-economic losses.
In many car accidents in Florida, it is common for damages to extend beyond the PIP insurance coverage. Medical treatment is costly and can easily blow out of proportion. PIP coverage should not be your only option for recovery. With the help of an experienced Florida car accident attorney, you can file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for all expenses associated with your injuries.
Carrying the PIP insurance ensures that you are covered in case of an accident. Even if the other driver is uninsured, you will get compensation for your injuries up to the policy limit. PIP insurance also helps to reduce the time and effort spent in handling insurance disputes. You will access money to cater to your medical expenses faster.
PIP insurance coverage eliminates the frustration of handling an injury claim. You will only deal with your insurance company and not that of the other driver.
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Florida
For you to own and register a four-wheeled vehicle in Florida, you have to carry:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – the minimum coverage limit is $10,000
- Property Damage Liability (PDL) – this will kick in if you damage another person’s property or vehicle in the accident
The PDL coverage not only covers the damage to other vehicles and property but also the damages of property in the vehicle at the time of the accident. If you collide with a fixed object and damage it, the PDL will cover the object too.
Changes to Florida’s No-Fault Laws
From January 1, 2013, Florida’s no-fault insurance law underwent important changes:
- After an accident, motorists have to seek treatment within 14 days
- Unless you demonstrate an emergency medical condition, there is a cap at $2,500 for PIP coverage
- Follow-up care must be through a medical referral or approved by a medical provider
- Acupuncturists and massage therapists are no longer included in approved medical providers
- A cap at $2,500 for chiropractic treatment
Get the Help of an Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney
A personal injury lawsuit is the best option when your injuries go beyond your PIP coverage limits. If you have been injured and have depleted your PIP coverage, one of our experienced Fetterman & Associates personal injury attorneys can help you. Contact us today for a free and no-obligation case evaluation.