If you are injured in a car accident in Florida, you are responsible for paying for the treatment of your injuries even if the accident is another driver's fault. As such, every driver in the Sunshine State is required to have something called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, also known as “no-fault” insurance, that pays for injuries you receive in a car accident no matter who is at fault for causing the accident.
According to Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation, the intention of the PIP requirement is “to provide injured drivers up to $10,000 in immediate medical coverage in lieu of establishing fault through the court system. The goal was to reduce payment delay for injured drivers, as well as limit the utilization of the court system.”
What Does PIP Cover?
In Florida, 80% of the cost of your medical bills will be covered by PIP, up to $10,000. If the injury isn't an emergency, then you can only receive $2,500 worth of benefits. The medical expenses that PIP will cover include the costs of:
- Surgery and hospital
- Doctor's visits
In addition to paying for the medical costs that arise from car accident injuries, PIP also reimburses drivers for lost wages and even funeral expenses in the case of a death.
Lost Wages and Other Benefits
If you become disabled in an accident, your PIP will pay 60% of your lost wages up to $10,000. You have to get your employer to document your wages in the months before the accident to be eligible for payment. You can also be reimbursed for services you have to pay someone to do because your injuries prevent you from doing them, such as cleaning your house and caring for pets.
If the policyholder is killed, PIP will pay the next of kin up to $5,000 for funeral and burial expenses.
Filing a PIP Claim In Florida
Filing a claim for PIP in Florida is like filing any other type of insurance claim. You have to contact your insurance provider to start the process.
14 Day Initial Treatment Requirement
PIP requires injured people to get their initial medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. You don't have to ride in an ambulance or go to the emergency room, but if your medical treatment doesn't start within the first two weeks after the accident, then the insurance company isn't required to reimburse you for it.
What Treatment Can You Get?
Pretty much any legitimate medical provider counts for initial care and services within the first two weeks after the accident, whether they are an EMT, doctor, dentist, chiropractor, or hospital staff. The Florida PIP statute doesn't count acupuncture or massage therapy as services that can be billed for PIP.
When You Need To Work With A Professional
Florida is a state that is known for its insurance fraud, so don't be surprised if the insurance company decides to investigate your claim. And insurance companies may drag their feet about paying you.
If you've been injured in a car accident, you may want to consider getting a personal injury lawyer who can help you recover the money you're entitled to. A qualified attorney will have experience with personal injury protection and all aspects of the law that are relevant to your case and will know what to do to get you the results you want.
And personal injury lawyers don't charge an up front fee. They're paid out of the money they recover for you, so there's no cost to hiring one.
If you want a personal injury lawyer, but don't have a clue how to go about selecting one, click here for some tips.
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