What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Auto Insurance in Florida?
Florida is one of a small handful of states that have personal injury protection – or “no fault” – automobile insurance. PIP is mandatory for all Florida-licensed motorists and is used to help pay for medical expenses following a serious accident. The intention behind PIP is to give injured drivers and passengers the ability to pay for prompt medical care without having to establish fault through insurance companies or the court system. Financial reimbursement is available for medically necessary expenses that are directly related to an automobile collision. These expenses can include surgical procedures, prescription and over-the-counter medications, diagnostic services, outpatient services, and physical rehabilitation. In addition to medical costs, Florida PIP car insurance also covers lost wages and funeral and burial expenses, if applicable. It is important to note that, in Florida, only 80 percent of your medical expenses will be covered by your PIP auto insurance, with the balance to be paid out of pocket or through health insurance. Certain therapeutic practices like massage and acupuncture fall outside the scope of PIP in Florida and cannot be reimbursed.
The Florida PIP law was enacted in an effort to reduce the number of motorists suing each other and clogging up the courts. However, auto accident-related lawsuits certainly do still occur. Florida, like most other states with PIP, permits an injured party to sue in certain circumstances, such as if their medical expenses are in excess of $10,000. Lawsuits are also permitted is cases of serious and permanent injuries, emotional pain and suffering, and the death of a driver or vehicle occupant.
It is important to note that PIP benefits can lawfully be withheld by your insurance company if you do not seek prompt medical care. Specifically, you have two weeks to seek treatment following an auto accident in order to qualify for PIP benefits. Commonly referred to as the 14-day rule, this provision was added to Florida Statute 627.736 in 2012 as a means of curbing a perceived uptick in the practice of committing automobile insurance fraud.
For more information on this topic, or to schedule an appointment to discuss your legal options following an auto accident, contact the law office of George M. Stark today. George is a personal injury attorney in Wesley Chapel, FL, who champions the rights of wrongfully injured individuals. He is an experienced legal advocate who has helped injured people seek justice for more than 30 years. Stark Injury Law is a plaintiff-side personal injury practice in Wesley Chapel that can provide you the individualized attention you deserve.