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What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in Florida?

by | Last updated Apr 14, 2022

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What is Florida Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?

Personal injury protection, or PIP, is a type of no-fault auto insurance. When PIP was written into auto insurance legislation, its intent was to provide injured drivers a certain amount of funds in medical coverage. These funds are immediately available to accident victims. Therefore, accident victims do not have to go through the legal system and establish fault—which, in many cases, takes several months or longer—to receive funds to cover medical bills and other expenses.

Personal injury protection covers insured individuals, even if they were at fault for the accident. Personal injury protection also provides funds for children, household members, and certain passengers. For passengers who are traveling in a vehicle that is involved in an accident, their own personal injury protection coverage will be triggered and will be available to them.

According to Florida law, all owners of a motor vehicle must purchase at least $10,000 of personal injury protection.

What is Florida Personal Injury Protection

Why You Need Personal Injury Protection in Florida

Personal injury protection insurance is essential for a number of reasons. Taking out personal injury protection is about more than merely satisfying a legal requirement; having PIP insurance is designed to allow victims of auto accidents funds to cover their medical costs, without the need to pursue a claim through the courts.

Florida Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Before personal injury protection (PIP) was made a compulsory requirement for drivers in Florida, injured drivers could find themselves faced with significant delays before being able to access funds to cover medical costs. Personal injury protection speeded up this process, as it put an end to the lengthy delays often faced by injured drivers waiting to recover medical costs and other expenses resulting from a road traffic accident.

One of the most crucial elements of the introduction of personal injury protection insurance is that it provides no-fault insurance cover. As a no-fault insurance policy, injured parties are typically able to recover their medical costs and expenses regardless of which driver was at fault for the accident. Even the driver that caused the accident should be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, providing that they have the correct level of personal injury protection insurance cover.

Personal Injury Protection and the Law

Before the introduction of personal injury protection in Florida, a tort reparations system was in operation. Under the previous system, an injured driver was able to sue the driver at fault for the accident as they were deemed responsible. The tort reparations system enabled the driver that was not at fault to sue the other driver for economic costs (medical bills, damage, etc.) and non-economic costs, such as pain and suffering. Using the tort reparations system meant that insurance claims would often take a significant amount of time to resolve, and would often end up in court.

Personal injury protection is well-established in Florida; in fact, the no-fault law has been in existence for almost 50 years. Florida was the second US state to adopt the no-fault law back in 1971. The law took effect from the following year, starting on January 1, 1972.

12 states across the US have now adopted no-fault automobile law and 14 states with personal injury protection.

The aim of introducing personal injury protection auto insurance and no-fault legislation was to streamline the process of claiming money following an accident. The no-fault law enables both parties to claim for their medical expenses. This means both drivers can claim regardless of who was to blame for the accident. The law aimed to remove the need for lengthy back and forth arguments to establish blame. This eliminated the delays involved in claiming back medical expense costs for drivers and simplified the claims process.

Since the law was established in 1971, it has been revised several times, in an attempt to address issues of fairness and to try and eliminate fraudulent claims.

The Benefits of Personal Injury Protection

PIP offers many benefits to drivers with vehicles registered in Florida. Here are just some of the ways in which personal injury protection helps drivers:

  • After being involved in a vehicle accident, drivers with PIP can feel reassured that they will receive money back to help cover the costs incurred by their medical treatment.
  • Compensation for medical treatment is usually paid back to injured drivers quickly, so there is no long wait to be reimbursed for medical costs.
  • Even if the driver was at fault and caused the accident, they will still be entitled to claim their medical costs as their PIP will help cover their medical bills.

The no-fault law streamlines the claims process. This streamlined process reduces the need for drivers to go back and forth, attempting to apportion blame and get the compensation that they are owed.

One of the main reasons that PIP and the no-fault law were introduced was to reduce the number of cases relating to accident claims going to court.

The law effectively reduces the compensation rights for individuals, as they will simply be reimbursed for treatment costs through their PIP. With less substantial amounts of compensation to pay out, insurance premiums should be cheaper.

The Limitations of Personal Injury Protection

As well as offering many benefits, PIP cover is also recognized by some as having limitations. Here are some of the limitations which are often attributed to the no-fault law and personal injury protection:

  • The Florida no-fault law greatly limits the right of an injured person to sue the other driver for non-medical suffering. The introduction of the no-fault law made suing the at-fault driver for emotional and mental distress as the result of the accident far more difficult. This reduces the ability to claim for non-physical conditions such as the stress, anxiety, pain and suffering that may occur following a road traffic accident.
  • Injured persons are no longer able to use their personal injury protection to claim the costs of specific treatments. The legislation was amended in 2012, as part of this change to the legislation, massage therapy and acupuncture became treatments that are no longer covered by personal injury protection insurance, so the costs of these treatments could no longer be claimed back by injured drivers.
  • The no-fault legislation is open to exploitation by drivers hoping to make fraudulent claims. Fraudulent claims take many forms; from staged accidents, to unethical medical providers aiding claims for treatment that was never administered. No-fault accident fraud is an ongoing problem and has resulted in significant numbers of questionable claims by drivers.
  • Making a successful claim on your PIP insurance can be a complicated process to work through, as any oversights in the paperwork that you provide to the insurance company could result in your claim being rejected. To improve their chances of making a successful claim and being reimbursed for their medical costs, many injured drivers hire an attorney to help them through the process and get what they deserve.
  • The limit for medical cost claims on PIP insurance is $10,000, which is often argued as being too low. The claims limit has remained at $10,000 since the no-fault legislation was introduced back in 1971. Therefore, there has been no increase in the limit in almost 50 years, despite the rising costs in medical care.
  • If your medical bills exceed the $10,000 limit of the personal injury policy, you may need to cover the difference yourself.
  • Although the no-fault system is designed to provide compensation for medical costs quickly, there are situations where your claim can be delayed. If for some reason, your claim is considered to be fraudulent, you will have to wait longer for a decision on whether you will receive compensation. In this situation, the insurance company will need to spend time investigating your claim before they can decide whether they will pay your compensation. For injured parties making genuine claims, this can result in a stressful wait and increased worry.

How to Obtain Your Personal Injury Protection Coverage

If you have been involved in a road traffic collision, you may feel unsure about how to proceed to make a claim and obtain your personal injury protection coverage. Being involved in an accident can be a stressful time, so it may be useful to get some professional help to guide you through the process. Using the services of an attorney can help to make the whole claims process run smoothly, and improve your chances of making a successful compensation claim.

To make use of your PIP coverage, the medical treatment that you receive must take place within 14 days of the date of the accident. Seeking treatment after those first 14 days may result in your compensation claim being rejected by your insurance company. Your attorney will be able to advise you on how you may be able to claim money back for treatment after the 14 day period is up, but it is likely this would need to be pursued through the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage.

You will need to contact your insurance company to make your claim. The insurance company will need to know the details of the injuries caused by the accident, along with the treatment that you received for these injuries. To help make the claims process easier, it is a good idea to ask for your medical bills to be itemized when you receive treatment. Itemized bills that break down the costs make it far clearer for your insurance company to see precisely what you are claiming for, and make the whole process more transparent.

If your insurance claim progresses smoothly, you can expect to receive your compensation within 30 days of the insurance company receiving your written proof of injuries and claim for medical costs.

Facts About Personal Injury Protection

Take a look at these fast facts about personal injury protection and no-fault insurance:

  • Twelve US states currently operate no-fault auto accident systems. As well as Florida, these states include; Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
  • Previously the no-fault law was adopted by a larger number of states, but many have repealed the law, and have gone back to a more traditional tort reparations system. States which have moved on from the no-fault and personal injury protection system, include Colorado, Connecticut and Georgia.
  • Residents in Florida typically pay far more for their car insurance premiums. Florida has the third most expensive car insurance premiums in the United States. Florida residents pay up to 50% more for their car insurance than the national average.
  • According to a 2011 report from the Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate, no-fault insurance fraud costs Floridians almost $1 billion in ‘fraud tax.’ This $1 billion leads to the increase of personal injury protection insurance premiums for Florida’s residents.

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Protection

How much personal injury protection cover does a person need?

Owners of vehicles registered in Florida require at least $10,000 of personal injury protection cover. $10,000 of cover is required for bodily injuries to one person, and $20,000 of cover is required for bodily injuries to two or more people.

How soon do I need to be treated to make a claim on personal injury protection insurance?

You should receive medical treatment within 14 days of the road traffic accident to be eligible for reimbursement from your insurance company.

How long will it take for medical costs to be reimbursed?

Unless the insurance company suspects that your claim may be fraudulent, you can typically expect to receive compensation within 30 days of submitting your claim and evidence. If the insurance company decides that your claim could be a ‘questionable claim’ and possibly fraudulent, they will need to investigate further before determining whether you will be paid compensation.

Are there medical treatments that are not covered by personal injury protection?

Yes, amendments to the legislation in 2012, meant that victims would no longer be able to claim for massage therapy or acupuncture through their personal injury protection insurance.

Are there medical treatments that are not covered by personal injury protection?

Yes, amendments to the legislation in 2012, meant that victims would no longer be able to claim for massage therapy or acupuncture through their personal injury protection insurance.

How to Get Help with Your Personal Injury Protection Claim

If either yourself or a member of your family has been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation from your personal injury protection plan.

Shiner Law Group can help you to navigate the claims process. To find out how we can help you, speak with our personal injury lawyers at 561-777-7700 to schedule your consultation or fill out our free online consultation request.

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