PIP Covers $10,000 in Florida – What If Your Costs Exceed This?

PIP Covers $10,000 in Florida – What If Your Costs Exceed This?

PIP Covers $10,000 in Florida – What If Your Costs Exceed This?

 

In Florida, when you have an auto accident, it does not matter who was responsible. Regardless of who caused the crash, PIP covers your injuries – up to $10,000. Florida’s no-fault insurance laws were established to speed payments to injured drivers and help most drivers avoid time in court.

 

However, in recent years PIP claims have exponentially increased, and a large number of them have been found to be fraudulent. Moreover, some believe that the laws don’t do enough to protect those injured above the $10,000 threshold.

 

What exactly does happen if your injuries end up costing you more than $10,000?

 

Understanding the Limitations of PIP and No-Fault Laws

 

Let’s look at an example to understand how the system is flawed.

 

While you are driving, another person rear ends you. Your spine is injured in the accident, and you suffer irreversible paralysis from the waist down. You experience significant loss of several bodily functions. Your life is permanently altered as a result of the crash, which was clearly caused by someone else’s negligence.

 

In this case, the $10,000 in PIP insurance is insufficient to cover your medical bills, ongoing therapy, and pain and suffering that will last for the rest of your life. If you want to receive any compensation over the $10,000 limit, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver for damages.

 

However, typically even that option isn’t available to you if you end up suffering a non-life-altering condition that proves costly. For example, if you experience lacerations, fractures, bruises, or soft tissue injuries, the law does not permit you to seek litigation against the other driver, regardless of who appears to be at fault. Even if your injury has long-lasting consequences, such as nerve damage, you are still expected to pay for your own medical treatments and therapies beyond the $10,000 threshold.

 

One way to protect yourself above the $10,000 threshold is to purchase additional PIP insurance. You can also get uninsured motorist coverage that will provide you with benefits if the other driver has no insurance or has insufficient insurance to cover your costs.

 

Unfortunately, neither of these options are of any use to you if you have already been injured in an accident. They only provide protection before you are injured.

 

A personal injury lawsuit is the only way to get compensation above $10,000, and there are strict rules attached to it.

 

What Is Required in Order to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida

 

The Florida injury threshold law says that you are eligible to seek compensation for injuries or diseases resulting from an automobile crash that fall into the following categories:

 

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  • Permanent and significant body function loss
  • Permanent and significant disfigurement or scarring
  • Permanent injury that fits medical probability within reason
  • Death

 

The key word here is “permanent.” Your injury or disease must affect you for the rest of your life for your case to hold up in court. If these conditions are met, you can seek damages for inconvenience, mental anguish, and pain and suffering related to the injury.

 

Winning a case like this is a challenge, but it is possible with the skill of a knowledgeable attorney. You need a lawyer with years of experience in working on cases like yours. He or she will know what is necessary to prove that your resulting condition is permanent and give you the best chance at getting the compensation you deserve.

 

To learn more about your legal options for filing a personal injury lawsuit, contact our office for a free initial consultation today.

 

 

About the Author: 

 

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

 

6 FAQs about PIP Litigation in Florida

6 FAQs about PIP Litigation in Florida

6 FAQs about PIP Litigation in Florida

It’s not every day that you get into an accident and need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) suit. This type of litigation may be confusing to many, especially since PIP laws are constantly being debated and changed in Florida.

 

However, it is possible for you to get through this process and receive the financial compensation you need to pay off your bills and cover any damaged incurred in your accident. This blog post is designed to answer the big questions you may have about the process and procedures of filing PIP litigation in Florida. For a wider range of questions on personal injury law in general, click here.

 

Everything You Need to Know about Florida PIP Litigation

 

When Should You File a Lawsuit?

The first thing to do is to file a claim with your insurance company. This process may be slightly different for each type of insurance or insurer, so be sure to understand your policy before you begin.

 

There are tight deadlines associated with filing a PIP claim. Both you and your insurance company are required to follow these deadlines. We recommend filing your claim as soon as possible, and keeping documentary evidence of when you filed the claim and the response that you received.

 

If the insurance company refuses to pay the claim or the amount they offer does not cover your damages, it may be time to file a PIP lawsuit. Before you do that, though, you must write a Demand Letter.

 

What Goes in the Demand Letter?

This letter will detail your dispute and lay out the amount of money that should be paid to cover the claim, interest, and other costs caused by the rejection itself (postage, penalty, and so on). You cannot ask for attorney’s fees in a Demand Letter, though you can ask for them once you file a lawsuit.

 

The insurance company has 30 days to pay the claim. For many, a Demand Letter is all it takes to get compensation, but after 30 days are over, it’s time to file a lawsuit.

 

What Do You Need to File a Lawsuit?

Collect thorough documentation of your medical expenses and other forms of financial loss (public transportation tickets after an auto accident, pay stubs from the time that you were injured). Have witness testimony to back up what happened the day of your accident. Also keep any record of your interactions with your insurance company.

 

Your lawyer can help you go through your current insurance policy and find anything that supports your right to be compensated for your damages. Each case is different, but the more evidence you have against you insurance company, the better you will fare in court.

 

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Will I Have to Attend a Hearing?

Most likely, your lawsuit will be settled out of court through negotiations, but if your insurance company continues to refuse to cooperate, you may have to go to trial.

 

What If I Have Already Used Up All of My Benefits?

At this point, you may not be able to file a PIP claim or lawsuit.

 

How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit?

While there are tight deadlines for filing your initial claim, you have more time to take legal action and file a lawsuit. In general, Florida’s statute of limitations gives you five years past the day that the claim was due to file a Demand Letter and lawsuit.

 

Remember that there are limits to PIP, though. Based on the type of injury you have sustained (i.e., if the injury is severe and your damages exceed PIP coverage), you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit, which comes with a different statute of limitations.

 

Everything You Should Know About Florida PIP Laws for 2016

Everything You Should Know About Florida PIP Laws for 2016

Everything You Should Know About Florida PIP Laws for 2016

Right now, all Florida drivers are required to have car insurance coverage that pays personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, but that may come to an end in 2019 if some lawmakers get their way.

 

Florida currently operates under a “no-fault” system when it comes to paying insurance claims after a car accident. If a driver is involved in a car crash, their PIP coverage will kick in to pay for the cost of medical care or other non-medical related costs associated with the crash. The non-medical costs could include lost income or replacement benefits, such as needing to hire someone to complete regular household chores.

 

Back in December, Representative Bill Hager, R-Delray Beach, filed House Bill 997 and Senator Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, filed Senate Bill 1112 in hopes to reduce fraud in the no-fault, personal injury protection system. Instead of PIP coverage, motorists would need to be at a minimum limit for property damage and bodily injury liability coverage.

 

Most Florida drivers already have bodily injury coverage, so if the PIP system is repealed, lawmakers might not have to do much to replace the current no-fault system. It’s also important to note that ending PIP benefits wouldn’t really affect too many motorists, because only a small amount of people have the minimum coverage. And someone who is likely to commit fraud will find another way.

 

So in light of this news, let’s look at what’s currently in place and what you need to know about PIP laws.

 

Florida No-Fault System

The No-Fault System

 

As mentioned above, Florida is a no-fault state for car accidents. So if you’re involved in a collision, you will turn to your auto insurance company to pay for any medical care or other losses. Regardless of who is to blame for the accident, you can use these benefits.

 

PIP benefits will also cover your child, household members, and certain passengers who don’t have their own PIP insurance as long as they also don’t own a vehicle. If a passenger in your car is injured and has their own PIP insurance, then they will receive benefits under their own insurance. In the same vein, if you are injured while riding in someone else’s car, you will be covered under your own PIP benefits.

 

On the contrary, a “fault” state or a “tort liability” state operates differently. Drivers in these states can choose whether to file a claim with their own insurance company, the other driver’s insurance company, or take the other driver to court to show that he or she was the one to blame for the accident and therefore the one who is responsible for paying for the accident costs.

 

In other words, while Florida isn’t a fault state, we may be heading in that direction.

 

As it stands now, the only way a Florida driver can get around the no-fault system and directly pursue a claim against the at-fault driver is determined by the severity of the injuries. If someone is permanently injured, significantly or permanently scarred or disfigured, or experiences significant and permanent loss of an essential bodily function as the result of a car accident, the injured driver can sue the other driver.

 

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Florida Car Insurance Requirements

 

In order to legally drive in the state of Florida, all motorists need to have at least the minimum required auto insurance.

 

Florida’s minimum coverage is:

 

  • $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) benefits
  • $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) benefits

 

While most states require bodily injury liability (BIL) benefits, Florida does not, although many drivers go ahead and get BIL coverage. BIL benefits pay for serious and permanent injury or death as a result of a car accident. So your insurance company will pay for injuries up to the limit of your policy, and also provide you with legal representation if the injured party sues you.

 

If you don’t have the proper insurance, it is illegal for you to drive on Florida roads and your license may be suspended, including your vehicle’s registration and license plate. And then, in order to get your license reinstated, you will have to show proof of the proper insurance as well as pay a reinstatement fee of $150 to $500 for every violation.

 

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the current system, it’s here for the time being. Along with having the required car insurance, you should also continue to be a cautious and safe driver any time you get behind the wheel. And if you are ever involved in a car accident, contact a Florida PIP accident attorney with a successful track record to see what options are available to your for compensation.