Florida is one of a dozen states in the U.S. with a No-Fault Motor Vehicle Law. You’ve probably heard it couched that Florida is a ‘no-fault state.’ But what exactly does that mean? Simply put, in the event of a car accident, both the at-fault driver and the victim need to file claims with their individual insurance carriers—regardless of who’s at fault. At a minimum, all drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. The law is designed to make it easier for those injured in a car accident to seek medical care. But is it enough? Sadly, not in the many accidents that result in personal injury.
What Are the Limitations of PIP Insurance?
PIP insurance typically places limits on the amount spent on medical expenses. If your injury requires more money for treatment and rehabilitation or lost wages, you have to sue the at-fault driver for it. That often happens when injuries are serious enough not to meet the law’s ‘injury threshold.’ But here’s the catch: People often opt for PIP insurance only because it’s affordable. That doesn’t typically mean that they have personal assets you can seek damages.
What Exactly Does PIP Insurance Cover?
Up to the injury threshold mentioned above, PIP insurance typically covers medical treatment and lost wages. The minimum amount of coverage is $10,000. It may also cover any expenses you incurred as a result of the accident, as well as child care if your injuries prevent you from caring for your family. Additionally, PIP can cover any injured passengers riding with you in your vehicle at the time of the accident.
How Is the PIP Coverage Amount Divided Up?
After an accident, no-fault coverage would pay $10,000 (or more depending upon the policy) toward your personal recovery. This is usually divided up in this way: 80 percent of medical bills, 60 percent of lost wages, and 100 percent of replacement service costs, which are defined as any service needed because of a loss of ability caused by the accident. The minimum limit in Florida is 10/20/10, meaning that the insured would receive $10,000 of bodily injury coverage per person with no more than $20,000 paid per accident, and $10,000 toward property damage.
What If PIP Is Not Enough to Cover My Medical and Other Bills and Lost Wages?
If your injuries are serious, you can pursue a liability claim against the at-fault driver. So how does Florida define ‘serious?’
- bone fracture
- limited use of a body function or system (like paralysis)
- full disability for 90 days
- significant disfigurement
If your injuries fall into any of those definitions, you don’t have to settle for making a PIP claim under your own policy. You can hold the party responsible by filing a personal injury lawsuit, which allows you to petition the court for greater compensation than PIP allows.
If you’re involved in an auto accident, it’s important to seek medical attention and the advice of proven, trial-tested personal injury attorneys like those at Fernandez & Hernandez Attorneys At Law. We can work with your insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company to make sure you receive the damages you deserve. You can reach us for advice 24/7 by calling 813.755.9500. Hablan español.