What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?
Driving a car in Florida comes with specific legal requirements that all drivers must adhere to as a resident of Florida. Auto insurance is required in Florida and with that required insurance, are requirements that each policy must have as part of their protections.
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles gives us an overview of Florida insurance requirements. To drive legally in Florida as a Florida resident, you must be able to show auto insurance that includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) in the amount of $10,000 each. Any vehicle with a current Florida registration must*:
- be insured with PIP and PDL insurance at the time of vehicle registration.
- have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP AND a minimum of $10,000 in PDL. Vehicles registered as taxis must carry bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage of $125,000 per person, $250,000 per occurrence and $50,000 for (PDL) coverage.
- have continuous coverage even if the vehicle is not being driven or is inoperable. Surrender the license plate/tag BEFORE cancelling your insurance.
- purchase the policy from an insurance carrier licensed to do business in Florida. (If you are new to the state, you may ask your agent to transfer your current insurance to a Florida policy.)
- maintain Florida insurance coverage continuously throughout the registration period regardless of the vehicle’s location. (Military members stationed out-of-state/country may be exempt.)
So if you are driving legally in Florida as a Florida resident, you have auto insurance that includes personal injury protection as a feature of your coverage.
What is Personal Injury Protection?
Personal injury protection gives you immediate benefits to access to help you with medical bills and other expenses you may incur as a result of being in an accident. It is important to remember this: If you do not seek treatment within 14 days of your accident, you will not be able to access your personal injury protection benefits. It is one reason that you should be seen immediately following an accident, even if you don't think you were injured enough for treatment. An evaluation can help rule out injuries that could stay with you for a long time and it ensures that you are able to access your benefits if you find later that you are having lingering issues as a result of the accident. Do not wait to be seen. It is very important to remember.
Here is what your no-fault insurance pays in benefits, after any applicable deductibles:
- 80% of medical bills, out of pocket prescription costs, dental expenses, and rehabilitation services.
- 60% of lost wages.
- Mileage reimbursement to and from your doctor
- $5,000 in death benefits, which are in addition to the medical and disability benefits provided by the policy.
To receive more than $2,500 in PIP benefits following an accident, you will need to have been treated by a doctor within 14 days of your accident, and be determined to have an "emergency medical condition". You must be treated within 14 days of your accident by a doctor who can then determine whether your injuries are an EMC or not. If you wait longer than 14 days, you won't have access to these benefits even if a doctor lets you know that injuries would have been otherwise covered.
Do not wait to be seen by a doctor.
You have benefits as part of any Florida auto policy that you were required to carry. These benefits are there for you to access in the event of a car accident. There are additional benefits and procedures that may be available to you following your initial treatment or evaluation. A Florida attorney can help you make sure your rights are being protected and ensure that you have access to benefits you are owed.
To be a legal driver in Florida, you are required to carry auto insurance. You are making those payments and following the law and doing everything you are supposed to be doing as part of the community. If you are in a car accident, you have benefits. You have been paying for them through your insurance.
A car accident is a traumatic event. If you are not sure what your next steps should be after an accident, call Complete Care at 407-974-6851 and speak with our Patient Advocates. We can guide you on next steps and help you get scheduled for a medical evaluation that will protect your access to benefits you have been paying for.
*information from Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles page https://www.flhsmv.gov/insurance/ accessed on 9/14/2020.
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