Florida is one of a dozen states in the U.S. that operates under a no-fault law when it comes to filing claims for injuries or damages following an accident. For many drivers, the law and PIP policies can be confusing, especially for individuals who are new to our state. Understanding the laws behind no fault insurance and the requirements issued in these policies is important for all Florida drivers.
Florida law requires drivers to carry what is known as Personal Injury Protection or PIP. While other states may require drivers carry insurance policy for others, PIP is intended to protect the policyholder. The law requires all Florida drivers carry at least $10,000 in PIP coverage. This amount is intended to pay for the injured policyholder’s medical costs if he or she is involved in an accident.
Whenever a Florida driver is involved in an accident, he or she must file a claim with his or her own insurance policy, regardless of who is at fault. This $10,000 in coverage is meant to cover the claims or damages sustained because of this accident.
No fault insurance laws have a lot of loopholes or other requirements which make them confusing to the average policyholder.
The policy limit essentially restricts how much he or she can receive in medical damages. Only if the person is very seriously injured could he or she receive more than the $10,000 amount. Florida’s PIP coverage limit what the injured party receives to 80 percent of his or her medical expenses. If the injury is not considered an emergency, the person will be restricted even further to only $2,500 in benefits.
Additionally, only the traditional forms of treatments are covered under PIP policies. Typically, medical costs covered by PIP include the following:
- Ambulatory services,
- Diagnostic medical services,
- Doctor’s visits and medication,
- Surgical expenses and other hospital expenses,
- Rehab expenses.
Even if the injured party’s doctor recommends nontraditional treatments, such as massages or acupuncture, this treatment will normally not be covered under PIP, meaning the injured person will be paying for these services in full. Car accident injuries often require extensive chiropractic care, as well, but these types of visits are only covered if directly referred by a physician. Even if a referral is made, the covered amount is usually limited to $2,500 in total compensation.
PIP coverage will also pay for the injured policyholder’s lost wages to a limited extent. Florida PIP pays for 60 percent of the person’s lost wages. This figure covers services he or she would normally provide at home but cannot due to the injury, including laundry, house cleaning, taking care of pets, and other household chores.
In the event the person’s injuries require more coverage than what the policyholder’s PIP will provide, Florida law allows the injured party to sue the other party in the event the person’s injuries are considered permanent, severely disfiguring, or result in death. Florida law also permits drivers to file a lawsuit if the injury is not necessarily considered severe but requires medical treatment that exceed the $10,000 limit.
Time is of the essence when it comes to filing a PIP claim. To receive coverage under the PIP policy, the injured party must first seek initial treatment within 14 days of the accident. If he or she waits past that 14 day mark, he or she may be unable to receive any compensation at all for injuries. This timeline can become complicated considering the fact that many car accident injuries can take weeks or months to manifest and appear.
Due to the complex nature of PIP claims and the timeline involved, it is important that the injured individual seek the assistance of counsel as soon as possible. An experienced auto accident attorney can help guide the person through the process, ensuring that his or her rights to receive full compensation are protected.
If you have questions on this topic or have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Florida, it is very important to consult with an experienced Miami auto accident attorney immediately. Florida auto accident victims have only 14 days to seek initial medical attention to receive insurance benefits after an accident, so it is important you are seen by a doctor as soon as possible following the accident. Spencer Aronfeld is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer, and he and the lawyers at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers understand Florida’s complex personal injury laws and since 1991 we have fought hard to protect the legal rights of the injured and their families- and hold auto insurers like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO and others accountable for the pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages suffered by our clients. Contact us today and speak with an experienced Miami auto accident attorney toll free 1-866-597-4529, local 305-441-0440, or by email. We offer a free initial consultation at your home, office, hotel, or hospital.
Call us today, we are ready to help!