In Florida, every car owner must carry $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage liability insurance (which pays for property damage you may damage in an accident). However, in order to get the full benefit of the insurance you pay for, it’s important to know what PIP is and how it works.
PIP is a type of “no-fault” automobile insurance that helps pay for you and sometimes your passengers’ medical bills if you are injured in a car accident, regardless of who caused the accident. PIP insurance is required in Florida except for motorcycles and other vehicles with less than four wheels.
Your PIP insurance covers your medical bills at 80% up to the $10,000 limit regardless of who was at fault for the accident. The other driver’s PIP covers his/her injuries.
The intention behind PIP was to provide injured drivers (and passengers) $10,000 in medical coverage without having to establish fault through the court system.
WHAT DOES PIP/NO-FAULT INSURANCE COVER?
After a covered accident, PIP insurance pays for expenses related to your injuries such as:
- hospital bills, medical bills, prescription medications and medical devices,
- lost wages due to the accident and your injuries,
- replacement services such as housekeeping, lawn maintenance, childcare, etc. that you are not be able to perform due to your injuries,
- $5,000 in death benefits (per person) if the car accident resulted in a death
Beware. There are strict time limits that you must abide by in order to get your full PIP benefits. You must receive medical treatment from a medical doctor within 14 days of the crash to establish an emergency medical condition as a result of the crash. Your medical providers must submit your medical bills to the PIP adjuster within 30 days of the date of your medical treatment. The insurance company can avoid paying your medical bills if these deadlines aren’t met. If you feel injured after a crash, don’t “tough it out”. If you wait longer than 14 days after a crash to seek medical treatment, your $10,000 in PIP benefits will automatically be reduced to $2,500.
DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY TO GET PIP BENEFITS?
You do not need an attorney to access your PIP benefits. PIP is supposed to protect you from the unexpected medical bills and stress of lost wages after an accident. However, if your insurance company is disputing your PIP claim or not paying your medical bills, most medical providers will go to bat for you.
Please keep in mind that PIP may not be your only recourse. If there is negligence of another driver that caused your injuries, you are entitled to bring a personal injury claim against the other driver and, potentially, your own insurance company under your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. In this instance, I would advise you consult with an experienced accident attorney so that you fully understand your rights and how to protect yourself.