Personal injury protection insurance is an extension of standard car insurance that goes above and beyond what a standard auto policy covers. PIP insurance covers a range of expenses, including medical bills, lost wages, and funeral expenses that arise after a car accident.
What is Personal Injury Protection Insurance?
PIP is widely known as no-fault insurance. It allows injured drivers to seek compensation through their own insurance company regardless of who is at fault for an accident. PIP is currently only mandatory in 13 states, including Florida. Florida drivers must carry at least $10,000 in PIP coverage, although some drivers opt for higher coverage limits.
What Personal Injury Protection Insurance Covers
If you’re injured in an accident, your PIP policy covers 80% of your medical bills after you reach your deductible. This includes prescription costs, rehabilitative care, physical therapy, and dental costs that are caused by an accident. In a fatal car accident, PIP coverage gives $5,000 in death benefits to the next of kin. This type of coverage also provides mileage reimbursement to and from medical appointments.
One of the main benefits of PIP insurance is coverage of lost wages. PIP pays 60% of your lost wages up to $10,000. This coverage can also be used to pay for services that you would typically do on your own but must outsource after an accident. Common services include housecleaning, laundry, and pet care.
How to Use Personal Injury Protection Insurance
To prevent the misuse of PIP insurance, each state has set laws governing its use. In Florida, an injured person must seek treatment within 14 days of an accident. If you wait any longer to seek care, your claim will be denied. Those filing for lost wages after a vehicle accident must have their employer fill out a wage and salary verification form. This form uses the last 13 weeks of earnings to determine how much compensation you get from your PIP policy.
Limits of PIP
It’s important to note that you may reach the limits of your PIP policy long before you stop accruing expenses, particularly if you have the lowest level of coverage allowed. The limit is also lower if you do not have an emergency medical condition. If your insurer determines that your condition does not require immediate attention, they only provide $2,500 in coverage.
If you reach the limit of your PIP policy, there are still options to consider. PIP coverage does not waive your right to sue. If you incur more than $10,000 in medical expenses and you are not at fault for an accident, you may be able to file a personal injury suit against the other driver to recoup your losses.
Protect Your Rights After a Car Accident
You only have a short time frame in which to file a PIP claim after a car accident. If you’re injured in a car accident, consult a personal injury attorney who can work with your insurance company on your behalf and explore other legal avenues if your medical bills exceed $10,000. Contact the West Palm Beach office of Fetterman & Associates at 561-845-2510—we’re here to help.