Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is a type of car insurance that will cover the cost of medical treatment for you and your passengers after an accident. PIP also covers lost wages as a result of your inability to work due to your injuries. PIP is a no fault insurance, meaning PIP is distributed based on who is hurt, rather than who is at fault for the accident.
Florida State PIP Requirements
Florida is a “no-fault” state and requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 of PIP and you have the option to carry more. In an accident the PIP claims are made against your insurance company. Your insurance then pays 80% of your medical bills and 60% of any wages lost due to your injury up to the $10,000 or whatever amount you carry. Any costs after your PIP coverage is used up will need to be recovered elsewhere.
What Happens If Your Injuries Are More Than $10,000
When you have used up all of your PIP benefits, then your health insurance company will take over and start paying. You will have the cost of the co-pays, your deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses. If you are disabled as a result of the accident, you may also qualify for coverage under Medicare.
Claiming Your Personal Injury Protection Benefits
Obtaining your PIP benefits is fairly straightforward. Here are the suggested steps to take to begin the process:
• Contact The Police: Request a long-form accident report and complete it. This form will ask you personal information from each driver, the circumstances of the accident, and insurance of both drivers.
• Seek Medical Care: You must seek a PIP medical provider within 14 days of your accident. PIP medical providers include emergency medical personnel, hospital, a facility owned by a hospital and dentist. If you do not seek the services of a PIP medical provider within that time frame, you will not be entitled to PIP.
• Document Injuries: Your PIP medical professional must determine if your accident has resulted in an emergency medical condition (EMC). An EMC means that you have an injury that if left untreated could result in serious jeopardy to your health. If your physician diagnoses you with an EMC you will qualify for the maximum PIP payout.
• Filing A Claim: Once you have completed these steps and have your documentation, you will file a claim with your PIP provider.
Once it has been determined that you qualify for your PIP benefits, your medical bills and lost wages will be usually paid out within 60 to 90 days.
How To Get Compensation When Your PIP Runs Out
Under current Florida law, if your medical costs exceed $10,000 you can make a claim against the at fault driver. For example, if you are charged $30,000 for hospitalization, you can file for the remaining $20,000 not covered by your PIP. You can also sue the at fault driver for lost wages, current and future medical bills, future rehabilitation therapy, and emotional pain and suffering caused by the accident. Another option once you have completely exhausted your PIP is to see if the at fault driver carries Bodily Injury Liability(BIL) on their insurance plan. If your PIP benefits run out you can sue the at fault drivers BIL instead of the driver individually.
A Personal Injury Attorney Is Your Best Ally
Navigating a PIP claim can be difficult and the consequences of not doing so correctly means you will lose your PIP benefits. Furthermore, PIP is very limited in the amount and what it will cover. A qualified attorney like the team at Goldmann, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh can help. With over a century of combined experience working with accident victims in Southwest Florida, we know all the ins and outs of PIP laws. We also know what to do when PIP simply is not enough to cover your injuries. If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, give us a call for a free case review to learn more today.