Most Floridians are familiar with the phrase “No-Fault State” but most do not fully understand the impact of the phrase.
No-fault insurance is any type of insurance contract under which insureds are reimbursed for losses by their own insurance company. This is regardless of who was responsible for causing the loss. In Florida, everyone who owns a motor vehicle must carry Personal Injury Protection coverage, also known as PIP.
What is PIP?
Under Florida’s PIP law, Florida owners and operators of automobiles are required to carry $10,000 in PIP coverage. This is to help cover medical bills and/or lost wages they themselves incur because of an automobile collision, regardless of who caused the accident, hence the “No-Fault” nomenclature.
Who is Covered under PIP?
So long as the PIP coverage is current and paid for, it will cover the owner of the automobile, regardless if they are in their own automobile at the time of the collision. PIP coverage will pay 80% of medical bills and/or 60% of lost wages you incur because of an automobile accident, regardless of fault, up to a total of $10,000.00. This amount is subject to any deductible the insured selected when they purchased the coverage. In Florida, the maximum PIP deductible you may select is $1,000.00. Carrying a $1,000.00 deductible reduces your insurance premium. It also means you are personally responsible for the first $1,000.00 in medical bills or lost wages.
What happens if I don’t have PIP coverage?
It is very important to understand that PIP coverage is mandatory for all individuals who own and operate an automobile in Florida. Failing to maintain the minimum required car insurance can result in suspension of the individual’s driver’s license. As well as additional fines for purposes of reinstatement. Suspension of a Florida driver’s license can have serious consequences. They can affect an individual’s ability to reinstate their driver’s license, obtain insurance coverage, and vehicle registration.
Another hurdle our attorneys often encounter while assisting clients with an injury claim involving an automobile is that the client’s insurance company may attempt to deny benefits if it turns out the insurance company was not properly informed of all persons living with the insured. If you have children, a spouse, significant other, or roommate, and fail to inform the insurance company on your application, the company could decline to pay your PIP benefits and cancel your insurance policy under a theory of material misrepresentation.
Additionally, one of the newer provisions of the PIP law has a major impact on the injured: the 14-day rule. The statute states that a motorist has 14 days after an automobile collision to seek medical treatment. They may get treatment from either a hospital facility, emergency transport, medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, chiropractor, or a dentist. If the injured person does not seek medical treatment within 14 days, they have essentially forfeited their PIP coverage.
Another provision concerns Emergency Medical Condition reports. If you do not get a medical report confirming you have an emergency medical condition resulting from the car crash, your benefits could be limited to $2,500, instead of the customary $10,000.00.
What if I have more questions regarding PIP after an accident?
Understanding PIP coverage and its applicability after you have been injured in a collision involving an automobile is very important.