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Florida Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Primer

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Posted on April 26, 2022

Operating a motor vehicle in Florida requires an understanding of how the state’s car insurance laws work. Florida is one of just 12 states in the country that uses a no-fault insurance system. This means the purchase of personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance is a requirement for all drivers. Use these answers to frequently asked questions to learn more about PIP insurance and what to do after an automobile accident in Florida.

What Is PIP Insurance?

Personal injury protection insurance – also known as no-fault car insurance – pays for the policyholder’s injuries sustained in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault for the collision. An accident victim can receive benefits through PIP insurance without having to prove that another party was at fault for the crash. PIP insurance is a requirement for all motor vehicle drivers in Florida under the no-fault law. The purchaser of the insurance can decide whether they want PIP to only cover them or other residents in the household.

What Does PIP Insurance Cover?

PIP insurance covers the policyholder’s medical costs, lost wages and death benefits. It will pay for most types of medical care, with the exception of holistic medicines such as acupuncture. PIP medical payment benefits cover surgeries, the cost of an ambulance, hospital expenses, physical therapy and rehabilitation, medication, and more. However, in Florida, PIP only pays for about 80 percent of a policyholder’s medical bills. In addition, if the injuries do not constitute an emergency, the policyholder can only recover a maximum of $2,500 in benefits.

If a car accident results in injuries that disable a policyholder enough to take him or her out of work, PIP insurance in Florida will pay for 60 percent of the victim’s lost wages, up to a $10,000 total limit. This area of compensation also covers household services that the victim can no longer provide, such as daily chores or pet care. Finally, PIP pays death benefits if the policyholder is killed in a car accident. This pays reasonable funeral and burial expenses to beneficiaries, up to $5,000, in addition to the other benefits mentioned.

Did Florida Do Away With PIP?

As of 2022, Florida has not done away with PIP insurance. It is still a legal requirement under Florida Statutes Section 627.736, with no choice to opt-out of the no-fault system. Unlike hybrid no-fault states (such as Kentucky and New Jersey), drivers cannot choose whether or not to purchase no-fault insurance in Florida. In 2021, lawmakers attempted to repeal the no-fault insurance law in Florida with SB 54. However, the law was vetoed by Governor Ron DeSantis.

What Are the Florida Insurance Requirements?

All motor vehicle operators in Florida must carry at least the minimum required amounts of automobile insurance under state law. The minimum required amount of PIP is $10,000. In addition, a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) insurance is required. This will pay for another driver’s property damage repairs if the policyholder is at fault for the car accident.

Bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance is only a requirement for registered taxi drivers; however, it is wise for other drivers to obtain BIL insurance, as well. This type of auto insurance will pay for another driver’s injuries and medical bills if the driver files a lawsuit against the policyholder for a car accident, protecting the person from having to pay these expenses out of pocket.

PIP Requirement Exception for Motorcycles in Florida

Florida’s PIP insurance does not cover motorcycles. The law covers four-wheeled motor vehicles, not motorcycles or bicycles. The law requires motorcyclists in Florida to obtain different types of automobile insurance to provide coverage in a motorcycle accident instead. According to Florida Statutes Section 324.021, these vehicles must carry bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. All other drivers must show proof of PIP insurance to register a motor vehicle in the State of Florida.

Who Is Responsible for Paying for a Car Accident in Florida?

Florida’s no-fault coverage means that all drivers involved in a car accident will pay for their own medical bills and losses, regardless of who is at fault. All drivers will file first-party PIP claims with their own car insurance carriers after a car accident to receive benefits for their medical bills and other covered losses. They can receive these benefits without having to prove that someone else is to blame for the crash.

When Can You File a Non-PIP Claim in Florida?

Florida’s PIP law reduces the number of lawsuits filed for car accidents in the state. However, it does not bar legal action entirely. It is still possible to sue someone outside of Florida’s no-fault system for causing a car accident, in certain circumstances. The victim’s injuries from the car accident must qualify for Florida’s “tort exemption” under Section 627.737 of the law. This refers to an injury that results in:

  • More than $10,000 of necessary medical care
  • Significant and permanent loss of a bodily function
  • Severe and/or permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • The death of an individual

Even if an injured car accident victim files a third-party insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against another driver, he or she will recover first through PIP insurance. Then, the lawsuit will be brought for the remaining amount. For example, if a crash victim has $30,000 in medical costs, his or her PIP insurance will pay for the first $10,000, then the remaining $20,000 will be sought from the at-fault driver.

How Long Do You Have to File a PIP Claim in Florida?

Florida has strict deadlines on PIP insurance claims. Most notably, a claimant must have received medical treatment for any injuries connected to the car accident within two weeks of the collision to be eligible for PIP coverage. This is known as the “14-Day Rule.” In addition, a police accident report must be submitted within 10 days of the collision. The amount of time that the claimant has to file a PIP insurance claim depends on the language of the policy. It is important to read the language of a contract carefully for a successful claim.

Florida Lawyer for a Crash Involving PIP Insurance

If you get injured in a car accident in Tampa, you may need assistance from a car accident attorney to navigate the insurance process. Understanding Florida’s no-fault and PIP insurance laws isn’t easy, especially if you suffered catastrophic injuries or a loved one was killed in a car crash.

A car accident attorney can help you with the claims process, explaining your rights and options along the way. If you have grounds to hold someone else responsible for your car accident injuries in Florida, an attorney in Tampa can help you with this legal process, as well, to secure the financial settlement that you deserve. Call (813) 680-2007 for a free consultation at Vanguard Attorneys today.

We are open for business and continue to be available to existing and new clients through virtual meetings and teleconferences. Please call (813) 471-4444 or click here to be connected to our attorneys.