Here we go again. Legislation to eliminate PIP (personal injury protection) benefits is being taken up in the Florida legislature. It’s been tried before. Special interests kept it alive. It’s an antiquated and useless law that makes it harder for car crash victims to obtain justice.
Twelve states and Puerto Rico have no-fault auto insurance laws. While these states vary in what their no-fault laws require, in general, they require car owners to buy insurance that will pay crash-related medical bills regardless of who caused the crash. Hence the term “no-fault.”
Why Did Florida Choose a No-Fault Insurance Approach?
The no-fault system was supposed to lower insurance premiums and reduce lawsuits by keeping small injury cases out of the courts. Under this structure, insurance companies are generally supposed to pay policyholders’ medical bills for minor injuries, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. In return, the law restricts crash victims’ right to recover for pain and suffering unless certain conditions are met.
The law was enacted in 1971 and had a $5,000 medical bill benefit. Here we are, nearly half a century later and the benefit is now $10,000. The system is rife with fraud and there are now “PIP mills” whose goal is to get all of that $10,000. Often, they do that by billing for “treatment” or “therapies” that were never provided. If our legislators make the right choice, that might finally change.
What Car Insurance Does Florida Require?
The short answer: Not much at all. Florida requires no-fault coverage and property damage coverage. That’s all. Think of it this way: a bad driver can drive legally as long as they have insurance to pay their own medical bills and fix your car should they cause a crash. They do not have to have to pay your medical bills, wage loss, the value of your pain, suffering and loss of the capacity to enjoy your life. It’s crazy. We need mandatory bodily injury coverage in Florida. This year, we might finally get it.
House Bill 771 Just Makes Sense
House Bill 771 which is currently on the Florida Legislature’s agenda this session, would replace a requirement that motorists carry PIP (the no-fault insurance) with a requirement for all drivers to carry bodily injury coverage. The measure would also require car insurers to offer medical payment coverage (Med Pay). This is a step in the right direction. PIP has been reformed several times but remains a bad system. Florida crash victims deserve better.
No matter Florida’s insurance system, we are dedicated to helping those injured in car accidents pursue settlements that fully meet their needs. If you think you have a case, call us at (727) 877-1212.