When a car accident happens that results in injuries, it’s important to understand who is liable for the costs of those injuries. In the United States, insurance laws are made at the state level, and in Florida, we are one of 12 states with no-fault insurance laws. This means that if you are injured in a car accident, regardless of who was at fault for it, you would first seek benefits for your damages under your own insurance policy. This policy is called PIP, or personal injury protection.
What is PIP Coverage, and Who Needs It?
All registered drivers in Florida, or drivers who operate vehicles here for over 90 days a year, are required to carry $10,000 in PIP insurance. PIP will help cover things like your medical expenses, emergency room care, ambulance transportation, follow-up doctors’ visits, lost wages, prescriptions, and other costs associated with your injuries.
The intention of PIP insurance is so drivers have access to immediate coverage without having to prove liability or litigate the matter to get paid. An injured driver will file a claim with their own policy and deal directly with their own insurance company and adjuster. And while this provides more ease in most cases, there are times when an injured party will still potentially want to hold another driver accountable.
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Some Disadvantages of Florida PIP
There are some downsides of PIP insurance.
An injured party is required to seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. This is usually not a problem, but there some accident injuries take awhile to become evident.
In addition, PIP insurance will cover emergency conditions, but these will be limited by the professional providing the care. While medical doctor and traditional healthcare is covered, chiropractor coverage is limited. Massage therapy and acupuncture are no longer covered at all. Furthermore, PIP coverage does not compensate an accident victim for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
When You Can Hold Another Driver Liable For Your Injuries
Unfortunately, $10,000 in PIP coverage doesn’t go very far, especially in cases of serious injuries. When costs exceed the amount of available PIP coverage, Florida then allows injury victims to sue an at-fault driver for damages.
Depending on whether the other driver is proven at fault for the accident, they may have to compensate the injured party for their damages, either through their liability insurance or through their personal assets.
What Happens if the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured?
According to a 2021 study by the Insurance Research Council, one in five drivers in Florida is uninsured. This is a staggering figure. Consequently, this suggests that many will find themselves in an accident with one of these drivers. When a driver is seriously injured and the at-fault party has no insurance, they are left to pay for their expenses that exceed their PIP coverage out of pocket.
Florida drivers have the option of purchasing uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage will help pay for costs that PIP may come up short on and protect the covered individual for any vehicle they own, even covering them as a pedestrian. Fortunately, uninsured and underinsured coverage is relatively inexpensive and provides a great deal of peace of mind.
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Getting Compensated Through Any Insurance Can Be Difficult in Florida
Getting the insurance benefits you need for your injuries can be difficult no matter which coverage or policy you are looking to. The insurance industry is notorious for finding ways not to pay claims, whether it attempts to downgrade the seriousness of injuries, or just denies the claim itself. It’s unfortunate that injured parties find out that they can’t rely on their insurance company right when they need it most.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Florida and are struggling to get the benefits you need from your insurance, or you are now forced to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, the experienced Boca Raton car accident lawyers at Ged Lawyers, LLP are here to make it right. Call us at (561) 562-4170 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.