Personal Injury Protection (PIP)- An Overview of Florida’s No Fault Car Insurance
The State of Florida requires all drivers to carry the basic Personal Injury Protection (PIP), also known as the “No-Fault” car insurance. This insurance protects the insured by paying for the treatment of injuries that the policy holder might suffer in a car accident. The insurance can be claimed irrespective of whose fault it is, and hence the term “No-Fault” insurance.
The PIP policy covers 80 percent of medical expenses and 60 percent of the wages lost due to an accident. The PIP policy offers maximum coverage of $10,000. If the policyholder fails to obtain medical treatment within the first fourteen days following an accident, then the PIP provider can limit coverage to $2,500.00. Additionally, the policyholder must have suffered an Emergency Medical Condition (EMC) to be afforded the full policy coverage.
When the injuries are significant and the PIP fails to cover the majority of the medical costs (let alone the wages lost) then it is typical to seek recovery from the at-fault party involved in the accident for the remaining damages including pain and suffering.
If the at-fault party does not have insurance or their policy is not enough to cover the medical expenses incurred, then the injured party may have to seek other sources for coverage of their losses. It is not uncommon for the at-fault party to not have Bodily Injury (BI) protection or not have enough coverage to cover the injured party’s losses. Quite often drivers who fail to carry BI coverage also tend to have no personal assets of value to cover the expenses of the injured party. In most cases, it would be pointless to pursue such parties and only end up with an uncollectable judgment.
Herein lies the importance of having uninsured/underinsured policy coverage especially in Florida where many drivers fail to carry adequate coverage or go “naked”, meaning they don’t carry any coverage at all.
How does the uninsured and underinsured motorist policy work?
The uninsured and underinsured motorist policy is a must-have in Florida where BI protection is not enforced. This means that a driver who is at fault might have the minimally required PIP only. But they fail to have the BI coverage which pays for the medical expenses of the person who sustained injuries due to the culprit driver.
The uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage works like a magic blanket of insurance protection in these cases. This plan takes care of all medical bills, treatments and surgeries, and also compensates for all non-economic damages such as emotional pain and trauma suffered due to a car accident. It also takes care of any future wages that may have been lost, as well as medical expenses that might come up eventually.
What is the difference between Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist (UM) policy?
Uninsured motorist policy protects the victim in an occurrence by covering for their medical expenses. The “at-fault” driver is not usually held responsible by a liability insurance and chances are that he or she may not have enough assets to reimburse the medical expenses or loss wages suffered by the affected party. The same applies to underinsured motor policy. The only difference is that the “at-fault” driver has reduced insurance coverage but the coverage is still not sufficient to cover the injured party’s losses. If the injured party is covered by an UM policy, then they can seek compensation from the carrier of the UM policy for their losses.
In Florida, where Bodily Coverage is not mandated, the uninsured and underinsured motorist policy can be a boon for victims of road accidents, especially those who require surgery to correct their sustained injuries and fully recover.
If you were injured in an auto accident, it is best to consult with an attorney to ensure that you are able to recover for your losses from all available sources. Please feel free to contact the Law Offices of Nerina Smart, P.A. Our main office is conveniently located in Central Broward, but we also serve the entire State of Florida for your personal injury losses. Contact our office for a consultation.