3 Aug

What Happens in Florida When Car Accident Injury Damages Exceed PIP Coverage?

Car Accidents, Personal Injury

damages exceed PIP coverage

Florida has unique personal injury and auto accident laws compared to other states. In 2013, Florida Legislature passed the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law, which is generally more friendly to insurance companies than to consumers injured in auto accidents. Now, all drivers are required to carry personal injury protection coverage, commonly known as PIP; the law governs how auto accident victims are compensated, and it states that they must go through their PIP coverage first in order to receive the monetary benefits that they are due. If damages exceed PIP coverage, they then can pursue compensation in other ways.

Unfortunately, most people in Florida don’t understand this law or how it affects their ability to recover damages following an accident, which means they don’t know what to do when they’ve been injured. If you have been involved in an auto accident, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of the personal injury protection law and learn how experienced auto accident injury lawyers (like those at The Florida Law Group) can help you navigate the claims process & fight for your rights when PIP hinders your ability to be paid fairly.

What Is PIP, & Who Has It?

As stated above, Florida has special auto accident laws, and is known as a “no-fault” state. This doesn’t mean that no one is legally responsible for the accident; Florida’s no-fault, or PIP, insurance laws were established to reduce the number of injury claims filed by having all injured accident victims file claims with their own insurance company first. However, PIP doesn’t cover everything, and your own insurance coverage may not provide you with all of the compensation you need to fully cover the costs of your injuries.

That’s why working with a knowledgeable local personal injury lawyers is essential! Your attorney can help you to evaluate other avenues that can be held liable for your medical costs. For example, you may be able to have the defendant driver’s insurance company pay you for expenses or use your underinsured motorist coverage in addition to your PIP benefits when your damages exceed PIP coverage.

How Much Does PIP Cover?

As listed earlier, PIP has limited coverage; Floridians are required to carry at least $10,000, but few people carry more, and the paid claim can’t exceed your coverage amount, which is limited to medical costs, lost wages, and death benefits.

In Florida, you have the liberty to choose whether PIP will cover the entire family or just yourself. Some of the eligible medical costs that you can claim under PIP include:

  • Ambulatory services
  • Medical services
  • Surgical services
  • Hospital expenses
  • Rehab costs
  • Diagnostic services
  • (Popular but not widely accepted medical services, like acupuncture, usually aren’t able to be claimed)

However, PIP will only cover 80% of approved costs for medical expenses that are considered emergent. If your accident injuries cost $9,000, PIP will only cover $7,200, but you will only be entitled to medical coverage totaling $2,500 if your injuries weren’t “emergencies”. Most of the time, that’s not even enough to make up for your copay, deductible, and basic care costs, let alone things like surgeries and ongoing physical therapy.

If you were disabled by the accident and lost the ability to work, Florida PIP will only pay 60% of your lost earnings. The payment limit also includes some of the services you may provide but cannot due to the accident. These services include pet care, house cleaning, and other daily chores, but again – 60% of $10,000 for a lifetime of expenses just isn’t going to touch what most people are going to have to pay.

In cases where an accident leads to the policyholder’s death, PIP pays $5,000 for the funeral and all the burial expenses to the deceased’s next of kin. Again, though, the average cost of a funeral in Florida is over $7,000, not considering inflation costs.

Filing A Claim With The Other Driver’s Insurer When Car Accident Injury Damages Exceed PIP Coverage

As you can see, the personal injury protection coverage doesn’t really protect you – it protects your insurance company from paying beyond $10,000 in case of severe road accidents or even death, even if the accident wasn’t your fault. Particularly if you have….

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Body paralysis
  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Loss of a limb
  • Severe burns
  • Neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Or another severe injury.

Your first (and best) option is usually to file a claim with the other driver’s insurer if your medical expenses and other damages exceed PIP coverage. Knowledgeable car accident attorneys can seek fair compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company that will completely cover your accident costs. An attorney may also be able to help you pursue compensation for the pain and suffering you endured as a result of the crash because your quality of life has been and will be affected by the incident.

Suing For the Amount Your Injuries Are Worth

Insurance companies are experts at avoiding paying injured car accident victims what they truly deserve. Because they lose money when they pay out full claims, they will almost always either attempt to devalue your injuries or deny your claim entirely. It can be frustrating and fruitless to try to deal with them on your own, which is why it is in your best interests to hire experienced auto accident lawyers to fight for your rights!

Personal injury lawyers in Florida can make insurance companies pay attention to you and take you seriously; with them on your side, you have a much better chance of recovering compensation if your car accident damages exceed PIP coverage. Lawyers understand the nuances of PIP insurance and are ready to assist you in dealing with greedy insurance companies, whether that means pushing for a fair settlement or taking them to trial.

Call The Florida Law Group Today

Have you been injured in an auto accident where the other driver was negligent? Do your damages exceed PIP coverage? Call our aggressive accident attorneys today for a free consultation. As one of Florida’s oldest and most prestigious law firms, we understand the limitations of personal injury protection (PIP) and are dedicated to winning you what you rightfully deserve. Since 1984, our award-winning lawyers have recovered over $1 billion for our clients! The Florida Law Group believes that quality legal representation should be available to everyone, so we have 11 office locations throughout the state to better serve you, and we offer all of our services on a contingency fee basis (you don’t pay until we win). Call today to schedule a free consultation!