How PIP Insurance Works in Florida Personal Injury Claims
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) was created in the 1970s to reduce the number of personal injury claims and to free up the courts from the tens of thousands of minor to moderate traffic collisions that happen in Florida every year. According to the Florida Association of Insurance Agents, legislatures created a mandatory no-fault motor vehicle insurance law that required each driver to have PIP coverage—coverage that protects the policyholder (not the other party), or the “first party.” Today, drivers are required to hold a minimum PIP policy that covers up to $10,000 in medical, funeral, and occupational disability benefits should they become injured in a crash, whether they are at fault or not.
What Do PIP Benefits Cover?
If you get in a crash that you or another driver causes, you first have to go through your own PIP policy. A $10,000 policy (which is the maximum and the minimum limit in Florida) covers a certain amount of medical expenses, lost wages due to temporary disability, and funeral expenses. PIP only covers up to $2,500 in “non emergency” medical fees, and only 80 percent of medical fees in emergency situations, but this is maxed out at $8,000 (despite the PIP policy being $10,000). PIP insurance is confusing almost to the point of being deceiving. Similarly, PIP insurance will pay up to 60 percent of your lost wages due to disability, but only up to the $10,000 limit, according to Value Penguin. PIP does not cover pain and suffering, loss of joy of life, or emotional distress—three damages that are often much greater than hospital bills and lost wages combined.
Insurers Benefit From No Fault Auto Insurance, Victims Do Not
While some claim that no-fault auto insurance and Florida’s PIP doctrine is a good thing because it frees up the courts, the true benefactors of this no-fault law are the insurance companies. Insurers are still able to profit off of car insurance premiums, but because the PIP system limits a victim’s ability to sue for full compensation, insurers get off the hook for paying out when the negligent driver they are responsible for causes a crash. A victim can only sue the at-fault driver if their hospital bills exceed $10,000. If the victim is allowed to sue the other party directly, only then can they recover pain and suffering, full lost wages, lost earning capacity, loss of joy of life, loss of consortium (in a wrongful death claim), emotional distress, and future medical expense damages.
Reach Out to Our Experienced Villages Personal Injury and PIP Lawyers Today
Being involved in a traffic-caused personal injury incident is confusing, especially when PIP insurance is involved and you are unsure if your policy will cover all of your damages. If you were injured, an experienced The Villages personal injury lawyer can help. Call the Glover Law Firm today at 352-484-0775 to schedule a free consultation.