Residents of Florida who own vehicles are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Also referred to as “no-fault” insurance, PIP is the part of your auto insurance policy that pays for injuries from a vehicle accident regardless of who was at fault.
Your PIP coverage pays for approved medical bills if you are involved in a vehicle accident, even if you are a passenger in your own car or in someone else’s. If the driver of the vehicle lives in Florida and has their own PIP coverage, then their policy would be the one to cover their injuries, while you would look to your own policy.
If you so choose, family members who live with you can be covered under your PIP policy as well. This would be a good idea of course if they do not have a policy of their own. Those who are riding in your vehicle or driving it with your permission can also receive PIP benefits through your auto policy.
PIP insurance is not required on all vehicles. Some of the vehicles that do not require PIP coverage include motorcycles and other vehicles that have less than four wheels, taxis, limousines, stationary vehicles (such as mobile homes), and school buses. In the case of a school bus, children who are injured in a bus accident would receive coverage through their parents’ PIP insurance (if they have it).
What does PIP Insurance Cover?
The personal injury protection portion of your Florida auto insurance policy covers three general areas; medical expenses, loss of earnings, and death benefits.
Most emergency medical services are covered at 80% under PIP up to a maximum of $10,000. This means that if the cost to treat your injuries reaches $10,000, PIP will pay for 80% of that, or $8,000. The rest would need to be paid by the patient’s health insurance provider, if they have health insurance.
There are some services that are not usually covered under PIP, such as acupuncture and massage therapy. These are generally considered alternative treatments and they are not widely accepted. That said, there are some insurance carriers that will pay for these treatments in certain circumstances.
Another very important thing to keep in mind about PIP medical coverage is that the $10,000 limit applies only to emergency medical treatment. To qualify, treatment must occur within 14 days of the accident, and the patient must be diagnosed with an “emergency medical condition.” If the patient does not have an emergency medical condition, PIP benefits are limited to $2,500.
Loss of Earnings
If someone is injured in a Florida auto accident and the injury prevents them from working, PIP provides coverage for 60% of lost earnings, up to a maximum of $10,000. Work loss coverage is optional under PIP, but it is highly recommended in order to provide at least some financial compensation in the event that you are not able to go back to work right away.
If a PIP policyholder is killed in a car accident, then the policy would provide a death benefit of $5,000 to family members to help pay for funeral and burial costs.
Vehicle owners can choose certain options with their PIP coverage in order to reduce costs and stay within their budget. For example, you can choose to have full PIP with no deductible, or you can lower your costs by having a deductible of $500 or $1000. And as mentioned previously, you can also choose to have PIP with or without the work loss coverage.
What Happens when My Injuries Exceed my PIP Coverage?
PIP insurance is there to provide no-fault coverage for vehicle accidents that result in relatively minor injuries. This eliminates the need to file a personal injury claim against the driver who was responsible for the accident in many cases.
However, there are quite a few accidents in which those involved suffer more moderate to severe injuries. When this is the case, injured parties can file a claim against the responsible driver for economic losses that exceed PIP limits. They may also file a claim for noneconomic losses, such as pain-and-suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.
If you are considering filing a lawsuit after a vehicle accident, it is best to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to evaluate your case and go over your legal options. Insurance companies will do everything possible to minimize the amount of damages they have to pay when one of their insureds causes a car accident, and you will need a strong legal advocate in your corner who is looking out for your best interests.
Injured in a Car Accident in Pensacola? Contact Whibbs, Stone, & Barnett to Discuss Your Options
If you or someone close to you suffered injury in a vehicle accident in Pensacola or the surrounding Florida communities and the injuries are beyond what is covered by PIP, get in touch with Whibbs, Stone, & Barnett for skilled legal guidance. Message us online or call our office today at 1-888-219-4561 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.