Understanding Your Auto Accident PIP (Personal Injury Protection) Coverage
Understanding PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage after an auto accident in Florida is essential when seeking compensation from a liable party. Also known as “No-Fault” insurance, all motorists in Florida must carry at least $10,000 in PIP coverage. This insurance covers 80% of their medical expenses after a car accident, up to the policy limit of $10,000, regardless of who caused the automobile accident.
There is a way to step outside of the personal injury protection coverage system; however, it requires accident victims to prove their injuries meet a certain injury threshold. An auto accident attorney in Florida can discuss your injury claim and explore your legal options.
How PIP Coverage Applies in a Car Accident
It’s important to understand how auto accident insurance works in a no-fault state like Florida. PIP benefit policy limits usually cover the following:
- 80% of your accident-related medical bills
- 60% of wage loss due to your accident-related injuries
- $5,000 in death benefits
This insurance coverage applies regardless of who was at fault for the accident. A Florida personal injury attorney can help you file a PIP insurance claim for compensation.
Stepping Outside of the PIP System
Your accident-related losses and medical costs may exceed your coverage limits, though. In that case, you may file a third-party claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver if your injuries meet the serious injury threshold as described in Florida Statutes § 627.737. This insurance law defines a serious injury as:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
How Florida’s Modified Comparative Negligence Affects Auto Insurance Claims
Recently, Florida went from a pure comparative negligence system to a modified comparative negligence system. Under this new law, Florida Statutes § 768.81, you cannot seek compensation for car accident damages if you are found more than 50% at fault for the accident.
Who Determines Fault in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
When you make a personal injury protection insurance claim, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case and tasked with completing an investigation for the insurance provider. They will then determine how much fault you and the other involved parties share. If they determine that you share more than 50% of the responsibility, they will move to deny your accident claim.
This is when a car accident attorney can step in and conduct their independent investigation. They can gather evidence and present it to the auto insurance company to challenge their determination of fault and negotiate a settlement for your accident injury.
What Types of Evidence Can a Car Accident Attorney Use
You may find that gathering certain types of evidence can be difficult without the help of a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer. Some examples of evidence they can use to support your case include:
- Traffic camera footage
- Dashcam footage
- Surveillance camera footage
- Police reports
- Eyewitness testimony
- Expert witness statements, such as medical professionals and accident reconstructionists
- Pictures of the accident scene and the damage done to the vehicles
- Driving records and black box data if your accident involved a commercial vehicle
They can also help you take legal action directly against the responsible party.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Car Accident
When you hire a Florida car accident lawyer, they will explore your options for seeking compensation, which may include filing a personal injury lawsuit against a liable party. Taking legal action also opens up the possibility of recovering other types of damages, such as non-economic damages, that you cannot seek through an insurance claim.
For example, you can seek compensation for non-economic damages such as:
- Your physical pain and emotional suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
They can help with the legal process by assessing your medical bills, lost wages, and additional expenses and negotiating a fair settlement for those losses. Not every lawsuit goes to trial, but your attorney will be ready to present your case before a judge or jury and seek a verdict.
You Can Hire a Car Accident Lawyer on Contingency
Many personal injury law firms handle car accident cases on contingency. This allows you to start your case without having to pay any upfront fees. Your Fort Myers car accident lawyer will simply take a percentage of your potential settlement or verdict.
This also helps you meet the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, which is two years, according to Florida Statutes § 95.11. If you miss this deadline, you risk having the court dismiss your case entirely and losing your last chance at recovering compensation.
Our Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You Understand How PIP Coverage Applies to Your Case
At the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato, our legal team is dedicated to helping you seek fair compensation after an auto collision. Whether you are filing a personal injury protection insurance claim or lawsuit, we can handle your case while you rest and recover.