What is Florida PIP Law?
The state of Florida is home to many complex laws, but none seem to mystify residents quite like PIP law. If you're one of the thousands who has searched "what is PIP in Florida" or "how to file a PIP suit in Florida," this guide has you covered.
What Is PIP in Florida?While most drivers understand that Florida PIP law is a necessary component of their auto insurance, they often misinterpret what these benefits mean. Florida PIP law is short for Personal Injury Protection. PIP benefits help cover the immediate costs following an accident, regardless of which driver was at fault - this is why it is commonly referred to as "no-fault insurance." Florida is one of 16 no-fault states that requires every driver to purchase PIP insurance coverage as part of their auto insurance.
What Does PIP Insurance Cover in Florida?Florida PIP law requires every driver to carry a minimum of $10,000 of PIP benefits. In the case of an accident, these funds help a patient receive immediate medical care, no matter their financial circumstance. PIP law also covers lost wages, and in some cases, funeral expenses.
However, one thing many individuals get wrong about PIP insurance is that it will cover 100% of all damages. This is not the case. Following an accident, a PIP insurance plan will only cover 80% of a victim's medical bills and 60% of a victim's lost wages. Whatever fees or damages are leftover after PIP coverage will need to be recovered through the at-fault party in a personal injury claim.
Why Does Florida Use PIP Coverage?Florida PIP law is a direct result of Florida being a “no-fault” state. After an accident, there is no requirement to prove fault to receive benefits. Florida adopted this method of coverage for a number of reasons.
For one, PIP benefits allow all insured drivers involved in an accident to seek care for their injuries immediately. Whether this means visiting the emergency room or a general physician for injury diagnosis and treatment, PIP benefits can cover upfront medical costs regardless of a victim's current financial or healthcare conditions.
Secondly, PIP benefits often result in quicker and less complicated settlements of claims. As opposed to instantly needing to sue the at-fault driver's insurance company to receive monetary compensation for medical bills and lost wages, an individual's own PIP benefits can immediately begin covering costs.
How Much Do PIP Claims Pay Out?Generally speaking, PIP claims only pay out up to their coverage limits. For instance, if you purchased the Florida minimum of $10,000, you would only be eligible for $10,000 worth of benefits. If you purchased $15,000 worth of personal injury protection, then your coverage could pay out up to $15,000, and so on for alternate amounts. Many people think that they receive those benefits directly, when, in fact, that is not true. For PIP, the doctors submit the medical bills to the insurance companies and are paid directly as you treat for your injuries.
Bear in mind that PIP insurance covers only 80% of a victim's medical bills and 60% of lost wages, and will cut off after it hits coverage limits. Remaining lost wages, medical bills, future medical costs, and other damages all must be recovered through the insurance of the at-fault driver.
How Does PIP Impact a Personal Injury Lawsuit?Contacting an attorney will not impair your personal injury protection benefits. Even once you make contact with Florida personal injury attorney, your medical providers will continue to send their bills to your PIP insurer.
Once you've hired an attorney, they will likely make a claim with the at-fault individual's insurance company for your present and future damages. The insurance company will put a value on the claim and make an offer in an attempt to settle the claim without the need for your lawyer to file a lawsuit on your behalf. This is where the existence of PIP coverage, and how much has been paid out to you, comes into play.
When evaluating a claim, insurance adjusters take what is referred to as a "set-off" from the value of your claim. So, if you have $10,000 worth of PIP benefits, your settlement offer will likely be reduced by $10,000. This is because you technically already received $10,000 worth of benefits in the form of medical payments. Since this was not money out of pocket and was coverage awarded to you from your own insurance company, you will not be reimbursed for it.
How to File a PIP Suit in Florida?You may be wondering why you would need to file a PIP lawsuit if benefits are already accessible under your auto insurance. The answer is simple. As per Florida PIP law, medical bills covered under your personal injury protection benefits are sent to your insurance company for payment. The law requires bills to be paid within 30 days of submission to the insurance agency. If a bill is unpaid or underpaid past this 30-day threshold, it is considered overdue. In this case, both you and your medical provider can seek legal action.
Likewise, insurers can attempt to deny PIP claims based on a variety of reasons. Statements made during the investigation, misrepresentations on insurance applications, and even failure to see a doctor hired by the insurance company can all be grounds for your insurance company to attempt to deny your claim. This can often lead to the reduction or even denial of PIP benefits. When this happens, you need a trusted PIP attorney by your side. A PIP attorney understands how to file a PIP suit in Florida and will fight for your right to compensation.
At Weinstein Legal, our trusted PIP attorneys are well-versed in the intricacies of personal injury protection law. We take the time to explain how your benefits work, and how they'll affect your personal injury claim. If you've been experiencing difficulty with your PIP benefits following an auto accident, reach out to Weinstein Legal today. Our office proudly offers free consultations to help ensure you're getting the guidance you need.