PIP (Personal Injury Protection) in Florida
Florida uses a form of auto insurance called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to compensate people for injuries and other losses after a crash. It’s also referred to as no-fault insurance because accident victims are paid benefits regardless of who is responsible for the wreck.
PIP coverage is required for all motor vehicles registered in Florida. It provides up to $10,000 for medical expenses. But when a car accident results in serious injuries, the medical expenses alone can exceed these policy limits. For this reason, it’s important to understand how to maximize your PIP benefits and learn other possible avenues for compensation.
Insurance companies are often hesitant to pay PIP benefits to deserving claimants. Talk to a Florida car accident attorney at Brooks Law Group today. Our knowledgeable lawyers have been representing clients in PIP and other personal injury claims for years. We’ll fight for you to be treated fairly and obtain the best possible outcome.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Florida, contact us today for a free consultation.
What Is PIP?
Personal injury protection is available to Florida policyholders who suffer injuries after a collision. Benefits are payable to the policyholder regardless of whether they were the driver or passenger in their own vehicle or in someone else’s.
PIP coverage may include compensation for a variety of expenses, including:
- Medical bills: The cost of medical expenses can quickly escalate after an auto accident. PIP provides coverage for any treatment, surgeries, dental treatments, medication, ambulance services, and medical supplies, including wheelchairs and prosthetic devices.
- Lost wages: As victims recover from their injuries, they are often unable to return to work. PIP will replace a portion of that lost income.
- Household assistance: It may be difficult or impossible to take care of basic life functions after a car accident. PIP benefits can include coverage for substitution services, such as a home cleaner.
- Funeral expenses: Death benefits may be paid to family members if a crash is fatal.
Limitations On PIP Claims in Florida
Although Florida PIP covers up to $10,000 in medical costs, policyholders are not guaranteed to receive the full amount. For example:
- There’s a deadline: You must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident or you will lose your rights to PIP compensation forever.
- Medical bills aren’t paid in full: PIP will pay for just 80 percent of treatment costs for car accident injuries.
- Compensation for non-emergency injuries are even more limited: PIP will only cover up to $2,500 in medical expenses if a doctor says that the injury is not an emergency medical condition (EMC). If treatment costs exceed that amount, the difference must be paid out-of-pocket by the victim unless his/her health insurance company agrees to cover it.
- There is only partial wage replacement: PIP coverage for lost wages is up to 60 percent of a person’s lost income, with a $10,000 maximum.
- Death benefits are capped: Personal injury protection in Florida allows for up to $5,000 for funeral and burial costs.
- Some treatments are not covered: Certain services, including acupuncture and massage therapy, are not covered by PIP.
If you’re facing significant expenses beyond what PIP will pay, it’s still possible to file a lawsuit for additional compensation in Florida. You’ll need to speak with an experienced Florida car accident attorney at Brooks Law Group to determine your legal options.
What Are The Advantages of PIP?
PIP is intended to eliminate the need for lawsuits and negligence claims. That means payouts can come much faster. Injured individuals can receive benefits within 30 days after filing a claim, instead of waiting up to a year or more for a decision to be made on a lawsuit. That is the biggest benefit of PIP coverage.
Unlike Florida, states that follow a fault-based system for auto accidents require victims to pursue a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Once the claim is filed, the insurance company will perform an investigation to decide whether to pay out the claim or dismiss it altogether. Even if a settlement is offered without a dispute, it’s likely much lower than the victim deserves. This is often why victims seek the help of a car accident attorney.
It’s also possible that the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits are not enough to fully cover the victim’s losses. In this case, he/she would need to file a lawsuit directly against the negligent driver to pursue compensation. All of these processes take time. Meanwhile, the injured party is still on the hook for any crash-related expenses.
PIP claims may be faster, but remember that you may still need to hold the negligent party accountable through a lawsuit. Medical expenses can skyrocket to more than $10,000 within a day of treatment if the car accident injuries are severe.
Possible defendants in a Florida car accident lawsuit could be:
- The at-fault driver(s)
- An auto parts manufacturer, if a product defect caused the crash
- A government or municipality
- An employer, if the at-fault driver was performing work-related duties at the time of the crash
If you’re unsure of whether you’re getting the full amount of PIP benefits you deserve, you should seek immediate help from a Florida car accident attorney.
How Do I Access PIP Benefits In My Florida Car Accident Claim?
Most importantly, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the car accident. Fail to do so, and there’s no way to access your PIP benefits to recover crash-related expenses.
Your insurer has 60 days to investigate the claim if they choose. This is the company’s way of determining whether you are committing insurance fraud. However, you are still supposed to be paid within 30 days even if your claim is under suspicion. If your PIP compensation is past due, contact Brooks Law Group so that our trusted attorneys can help enforce your rights and get you prompt payment.
If you are claiming lost wages under PIP, you are required to submit a wage and salary verification. This is a form your employer fills out that outlines the wages you received during the 13 weeks before your accident. Our car accident attorneys can make sure that the document is filled out correctly and submitted properly to the insurance company so that you will still receive partial income while you heal.
PIP vs. MedPay
In Florida, you have the option to purchase medical payments coverage (MedPay) in addition to the mandatory personal injury protection coverage. MedPay is a way to increase the amount of medical coverage that you have after an accident since PIP only covers 80 percent of the medical costs of your injuries. MedPay may also cover your PIP deductible, but that depends on the language in your specific policy.
You can elect up to $5,000 worth of MedPay coverage after an accident. That would increase the total amount of coverage available for medical expenses to $15,000 ($10,000 in PIP benefits and $5,000 in MedPay). However, having MedPay can have implications for other aspects of your case. If you carry MedPay insurance along with PIP, a lawyer at Brooks Law Group can meet with you in a free consultation to discuss your best options for compensation.
How Can Brooks Law Group Help Me?
Even though Florida is a no-fault state, it isn’t always easy to obtain full and fair PIP benefits. Although you won’t necessarily have to do battle with another driver’s insurance company, you will still be dealing with your own. No matter how sympathetic they sound, your insurance adjuster will be looking for ways to lessen your payout. At Brooks Law Group, we won’t let that happen.
Our job is to provide top-quality and aggressive legal representation to you. We will:
- Meet with you privately to discuss your case and analyze your insurance policy
- Explain the no-fault system in Florida and review your PIP benefits
- Explore whether other insurance coverage (e.g., uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage) might be an alternative source of compensation for you
- Negotiate with the insurance company so that you receive full and fair compensation in a timely way
- Discuss whether to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party in the car accident
- Build a strong and customized case on your behalf
- Keep you regularly updated on the status of your case
- Answer any questions that you may have
- Take your case to trial, if necessary
The good news is that most car accident claims in Florida can be resolved in a settlement. A trial is an option of last resort, but the trusted attorneys at Brooks Law Group have the skills and resources needed to fight aggressively for the best outcome in your case.
Struggling to Get PIP Benefits in Florida? Our Auto Accident Lawyers Will Fight for You
Your recovery should be your top priority after a car accident. If you’re having trouble getting the compensation you’re entitled to after a wreck, let Brooks Law Group stand up for you. Call or contact us right away to schedule a free consultation.