What is PIP?
Florida is one of just a few states that has “no fault” or PIP Insurance. PIP stands for “Personal Injury Protection”, and covers anyone who is physically harmed in an auto accident—regardless of fault.
Every Florida driver must have a minimum of $10,000 in coverage from a PIP insurance plan. PIP insurance is specifically designed to cover medical expenses, but it does cover some non-medical expenses as well.
PIP Insurance Basics
The unique thing about PIP insurance is that it covers the policy owner instead of covering anyone else who may have been harmed in the car accident. In other states, one person’s automobile insurance pays for the second person’s injuries.
This “crossing policies” effect does not happen in many Florida auto accidents. Instead, your PIP covers will cover you, and perhaps members of your family. No one else’s insurance company is involved if you stay inside your policy limits.
PIP insurance is a no fault insurance plan. That means the insurance company does not care what or who caused the accident for the coverage to apply. If there is an accident, your PIP coverage will help.
This type of system is designed to cut down on the time and effort that litigation or insurance disputes can take. It gets car accident victims money for their medical expenses faster and more efficiently in most cases. If you go beyond the PIP limits, however, fault will definitely matter in a lawsuit.
PIP Insurance and Personal Injury Lawsuits
A personal injury lawsuit is only permitted if you “use up” your PIP coverage. That means that your personal injury expenses have to be more than $10,000 to bring a personal injury case.
There are certain injuries that will always qualify to be outside of PIP coverage, including:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Most permanent injuries
PIP insurance can cover more than medical expenses in certain situations. It can cover things like:
- Loss wages
- Service replacement for the vehicle of someone injured in a covered car accident
- Rehabilitation costs
- Funeral costs
It will usually extend to cover your passengers’ medical expenses as well.
In many car accident cases, it is easy to jump outside of the range of PIP insurance. Medical treatment gets expensive quickly, and although your PIP coverage can be very helpful, it is often not your only option for recovery. A personal injury lawsuit can cover your medical expenses and many of the other costs that are associated with your injuries.
Other Insurance Coverage
Property Damage Liability: In addition to PIP coverage, Florida drivers are also required to carry $10,000 in property damage liability benefits. This type of coverage will help pay for any property damage in an auto accident, including damage to the car and to possessions in the car. In the case of an accident with a fixed object, it will likely cover the damage to that object as well.
Bodily Injury Liability: Florida does not require bodily injury liability coverage like most other states. This is the “crossing policies” discussed previously, where one driver pays for the second driver’s injuries.
Uninsured/Under-insured Motorist (UM): Florida also does not require drivers to carry uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage. This type of insurance is much more useful in states that have bodily injury liability insurance, where drivers must rely on the insurance policies of another person.
Because Florida residents have more control over whether or not they have insurance, this type of policy is generally unnecessary in many situations.
Getting Help from a Injury Lawyer When Your PIP Coverage Runs Out
When your injuries stretch the limits of your PIP coverage, a personal injury lawsuit can be the best option to get reimbursed for your medical expenses and other expenses.
PIP coverage does not apply to damages related to pain and suffering, so a personal injury lawyer can get you more money than a PIP policy ever could. Call Scott J. Sternberg & Associates to find out more.