Every Florida driver is required to maintain personal injury protection (PIP), and yet, many have no idea what, exactly PIP covers or why it’s necessary. Read on to learn more about this important element of Florida insurance.
What Is Personal Injury Protection?
A critical component of Florida auto insurance, PIP is a mandatory provision designed to provide immediate access to coverage for injuries incurred in car accidents. Attorney Terence A. Gross explains that PIP has been mandatory in Florida since the 1970s, in part because many residents lacked health insurance coverage at that time.
Often referred to as no-fault insurance, PIP is named for its individual coverage; those involved in accidents seek coverage from PIP policies they’ve already purchased, regardless of whether or not they were at fault. Attorney Terence Gross believes that local insurance providers hate this no-fault approach — and he warns that many will make every effort to get out of it.
Rather than establish fault through the local court system, PIP provides up to $10,000 in immediate coverage. This includes 80 percent of medical bills related to injuries sustained during the injured party’s car crash. By providing this immediate source of coverage, the state aims to limit payment delays and streamline the court’s involvement in determining fault.
What Does PIP Cover?
PIP may be best known for providing significant medical coverage, but it’s a far more comprehensive solution than many policyholders realize. It covers:
- Medical expenses. PIP covers 80 percent of medical bills up to $10,000 for all auto accidents, including those involving cars and bicycles, cars and pedestrians, and even cars and golf carts.
- Lost wages. In addition to providing medical coverage, PIP can cover 60 percent of wages lost due to medical issues related to the policyholder’s accident. Keep in mind that PIP differs from workers’ comp; the driver need not have been on the job to enjoy coverage for lost wages.
- Household services. PIP can cover up to 60 percent of a variety of household services required due to injury. These could include paying somebody to drive children to school or paying for a lawn mowing service.
- Death benefits. Currently, PIP offers up to $5,000 in death benefits for insured drivers killed in car accidents. This can relieve the driver’s loved ones of a significant financial burden during a time of mourning.
Who Does PIP Cover?
PIP covers the vehicle’s owner, regardless of whether that person was injured while driving or riding as a passenger. Vehicle owners can also receive compensation for injuries incurred as pedestrians or while riding bicycles.
Terence Gross is regularly asked whether PIP covers passengers riding in the car at the time of the accident. As he explains, passenger coverage can differ based on the victim’s circumstances and location when the accident occurred.
Sources of PIP can vary based on whether the injured individual is licensed and has a vehicle — and whether he or she was injured while driving or walking as a pedestrian. The valid sources of PIP are outlined below, in order of priority:
- The driver’s auto insurance. This is always the preferred option for providing compensation — and given PIP’s mandatory status, it is typically the main source of coverage.
- For those who don’t own cars, PIP may be furnished through the insurance policy held by a resident relative.
- If neither the injured party nor any of his or her resident relatives hold an auto policy: coverage may be available through the policy for the vehicle the injured party was in at the time of the accident.
- If none of the aforementioned sources apply and the victim was injured as a pedestrian, PIP can be provided through the policy for the car involved in the crash.
How is PIP Different In Florida?
Florida differs from other states’ handling of PIP in negligence-based auto accidents in many ways. First, PIP coverage is mandatory in Florida. Additionally, PIP insurers do not have a right of subrogation in Florida. This stands in stark contrast to other no-fault states. Florida also injury victims to seek medical attention within 14 days in order to obtain PIP benefits. Delays in seeking medical treatment can eliminate one’s access to PIP benefits and negatively impact the subject of personal injury claim.
Gross and Schuster and Your PIP Claim
Were you or a loved one injured in a Florida car accident? There’s no need to go through the PIP claim or personal injury process alone. At Gross & Schuster, P.A., we’re happy to guide you every step of the way. We work closely with our valued clients to seek justice for Florida drivers and their loved ones. Holding over three decades of experience, our passionate attorneys know what it takes to succeed both in and out of the courtroom. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.