Personal injury protection, which is also known as PIP, is auto insurance that covers the cost of treatment for a driver and their passengers after an accident. PIP also compensates victims for income losses related to their injuries. Because it’s a type of no-fault insurance, it’s distributed based on injuries, not responsibility for an accident.
PIP Requirements in the State of Florida
Florida is one of 12 states to have no-fault insurance laws. In the state, all drivers must carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection. When you’ve been in a car accident, claims are made against insurance companies, with the insurer paying 80% of victims’ medical bills and 60% of their lost wages up to the coverage limit. Any costs incurred after PIP coverage is exhausted must be recouped elsewhere.
Claiming PIP Benefits
Getting personal injury protection benefits is straightforward. Here are a few steps to follow during the process.
- Call the authorities. Ask for a long-form accident report and fill it out. The form asks for both driver’s license and insurance information, as well as the accident’s circumstances.
- Seek medical attention. Victims must seek PIP medical care within 14 days of an accident. PIP providers include hospitals, emergency medical technicians, dentists, and hospital-owned facilities. If you don’t seek medical care within the allotted time, you’ll lose PIP benefits.
- Document your injuries. A medical professional will determine if the accident resulted in a medical emergency. If that happened, you’ll be eligible for the maximum payout.
- File a claim. Once you’ve taken these steps and have the necessary documentation, you’ll file a PIP claim.
Once eligibility for PIP benefits is determined, your lost wages and medical bills will typically be paid out within two months.
What Happens When a Victim’s Injuries and Losses are Worth More than the Coverage Limit?
When victims use all their PIP benefits, their health insurance coverage takes over. However, they’re still responsible for copayments, deductibles, and other expenses. If a person is left disabled after an auto accident, they may be eligible for Medicare coverage.
Getting Compensation When PIP Has Run Out
Under Florida law, if a victim’s medical costs are more than $10,000, they can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company. They can also sue at-fault drivers for lost income, medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and pain and suffering. Once PIP is exhausted, a victim can also use the other driver’s bodily injury liability coverage rather than suing them personally.
Preparing for the Exhaustion of PIP Benefits
The best thing a victim can do to get ready is to track everything that PIP pays out. Check with your own health insurer to see which benefits apply, and notify providers that you’re planning to use your own coverage.
Most importantly, hire a local personal injury attorney. These lawyers know Florida’s insurance and auto accident laws, and they will ensure that victims get every dollar they are entitled to receive.
Injury Attorneys Provide Advice, Advocacy, and Help During Auto Accident Cases
Navigating personal injury protection claims is a complex process, and any mistake can cause a victim to lose their PIP benefits. PIP is limited in its amount and coverage, but qualified attorneys can help. They know what to do when personal injury protection coverage isn’t enough to compensate a victim for their injuries, and they will work tirelessly to get the settlement you deserve.