Every state has its own car insurance requirements. Some require bare bones coverage, while others have higher coverage requirements. If you plan to own a car, it’s important you know exactly what kind of insurance the state mandates you carry, as well as additional coverage that’s available to you.
In Florida, one of the minimal requirements for car insurance is no-fault Personal Injury Protection insurance, or PIP. Though there was a battle in the state legislation to eliminate PIP requirements in 2018, the bill ultimately stalled, so this form of insurance is still required for Florida drivers. However, a new law is attempting to have the requirement repealed again.
Whether or not the requirement for personal injury protection is repealed, having PIP insurance could still be a good idea. This no-fault insurance allows you to get some of your medical and other bills covered after a car accident in South Florida, even if fault hasn’t officially been established and your insurer hasn’t offered a settlement yet.
Here’s everything you need to know about PIP insurance in Florida, and how a car accident attorney in Miami can help you get the full compensation you deserve.
What’s Covered by Personal Injury Protection Coverage?
In general, PIP covers three areas of expenses: Medical costs, lost wages, and death benefits. However, it doesn’t cover the full amount of these expenses. Florida drivers are required to carry a minimum (and maximum) of $10,000 in PIP coverage.
After an accident, seeking medical attention is one of the most important steps you can take. However, many people avoid going to the hospital or visiting their doctor because they believe they can’t afford it. This is exactly what PIP is for. Your insurance will cover:
- Your ambulance ride
- Approved medical treatment and medication
- Surgery and other hospital costs
What it won’t cover is alternative treatments like acupuncture.
It’s important to note that Florida PIP coverage will only pay for 80% of your medical treatments. So, if your treatments cost $10,000, you will only be covered for $8,000. What’s more, this limit only applies if your treatment is considered an emergency. If it’s not, you’re only eligible for $2,500 in coverage.
A standard policy will only protect you in the event of an accident, but you can change your policy so that it covers other residents in your household.
If you’re seriously injured after a car wreck, you may be out of work for a while. You may be able to recover these damages later on with a personal injury lawsuit, but in the meantime, you need to still be able to pay bills. PIP can help with some of that.
Like medical expenses, PIP only covers a certain portion of your lost wages. In this instance, it will cover 60% of the wages, up to a $10,000 limit. This not only covers lost wages, but also daily tasks like housekeeping that you can no longer handle because of your injury.
In the unfortunate event that a person is killed in a car accident, PIP will help cover some of the associated expenses. This includes funeral and burial expenses, as well as lost wages and medical costs. The policy holder’s next of kin would be entitled to $5,000.
When Should I File a PIP Claim?
If you plan on using your PIP coverage to pay for medical and other expenses, you have a narrow window in which to do so. You must have your injuries treated within two weeks of the accident in order to get reimbursed for the cost. After the claim is filed, your insurance company has 60 days in which to investigate it for fraud. However, even if there is suspicion about the claim, it must be paid out within 30 days.
If there is suspicion, it’s a good idea to hire a Miami personal injury lawyer who can make sure you get the full compensation you deserve. You should also keep track of any and all medical expenses you incur. Keep a file with your bills, diagnoses, and other documentation.
If you’re filing for lost wages benefits, your employer will need to complete a “wage and salary” verification for you to submit. If you’re self-employed, you can still file for lost wages. However, doing so may be more difficult. Your lawyer can help you make sure you file the proper paperwork.
Can I Still File a Personal Injury Lawsuit After Filing a PIP Claim?
In some no-fault states, filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident is only allowed if they are considered severe, causing disfigurement, permanent injury and/or death. In Florida, however, the no-fault PIP coverage laws still allow for personal injury lawsuits, even if the injuries aren’t that severe. The only catch, though, is that your expenses must have exceeded $10,000. You may be able to sue for any additional costs above $10,000, in addition to other losses like pain and suffering.
It may seem like personal injury lawsuits are a rare thing under PIP insurance laws, but consider this: After a serious accident, your hospital bills can run up to $50,000 to $100,000, even after PIP and your health insurance kick in. That leaves you on the hook for a large, almost insurmountable bill. A personal injury lawsuit can help cover a lot, if not all, of that cost.
Talk to a Car Accident Attorney in Miami Today
If you’re injured in a wreck, figuring out how to pay your bills is the last thing you want to think about. At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, our Miami car accident lawyers know how stressful this time in your life can be. We can help you get the full compensation you deserve.
Since 1997, we’ve recovered over $1 BILLION for our clients. Call us at 800-560-5059 or contact us online today to see how much we can get you!