PIP is an abbreviation for Personal Injury Protection, and it is a type of insurance coverage in Florida. Specifically, it is the no-fault insurance required for drivers by the state’s insurance laws. Florida requires drivers to purchase at least $10,000 in PIP coverage.
As a no-fault state, Florida does not require drivers to purchase liability insurance coverage. However, a driver can purchase additional insurance coverage to protect them if they are involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Understanding how PIP insurance works can help you file claims and protect your rights if you are injured by another driver in a Clearwater car accident.
Filing a PIP Claim After a Clearwater Car Accident
PIP insurance coverage applies regardless of who causes an accident. Therefore, you can file a PIP claim even if you are at fault for causing the car crash. PIP insurance covers you, your passengers, some household members, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians you hit with your vehicle.
There are some essential things drivers need to know about PIP claims in Florida:
- PIP insurance only applies if you seek medical treatment for injuries within 14 days of the car accident date
- Unless you sustain an emergency medical condition, your PIP benefits are limited to $2,500 instead of the entire $10,000
- PIP only pays up to 80 percent of your medical bills
- Medical treatment must be provided by emergency medical personnel, physicians, chiropractors, dentists, or hospitals
- PIP only pays up to 60 percent of your lost wages
- You might be eligible to receive a small amount to pay for the cost of household services if your injuries prevent you from performing those tasks
- PIP pays up to $5,000 in death benefits, including funeral expenses
No-fault insurance does not cover other economic damages. PIP does not pay any compensation for non-economic damages caused by a car accident.
Can I Sue an At-Fault Driver in Florida Even Though I Filed a PIP Claim?
Florida insurance laws contain a tort exemption for “serious injuries” caused by a car accident. If you sustain permanent and significant injuries, you can sue the other driver for damages. When you sue the at-fault driver for a car accident, you can receive compensation for all types of damages, including economic and non-economic damages.
The types of damages you could receive for a car accident claim include:
- Reimbursement for all medical bills and loss of income
- Compensation for future lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Out-of-pocket expenses, including personal care, household services, and travel expenses to medical appointments
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life and quality of life
- Scarring, disfigurement, impairments, and disabilities
The amount you receive for a car accident claim depends on the facts of the case, including your injuries and the strength of the evidence proving fault.
You Must Prove Causation and Fault if You Pursue a Liability Claim After a Clearwater Car Accident
Unlike a no-fault claim under PIP insurance coverage, you have the burden of proving fault for a liability car accident claim. You must prove the legal elements of a negligence claim. Those elements are:
- Duty of Care – The other motorist owed you a legal duty of care to take reasonable steps to avoid causing accidents and injuries
- Breach of Duty – The other motorist breached the duty of care, such as failing to follow traffic laws
- Causation – The other motorist’s breach of duty was the proximate and direct cause of the car crash
- Damages – You sustained damages because of the motorist’s breach of duty
Evidence must show that the other driver’s actions caused the accident. Proving causation can be challenging when the drivers have different versions of how the collision occurred.
Our legal team searches for evidence proving fault, such as:
- Video of the collision from traffic cameras and surveillance cameras
- Physical evidence from the accident scene and the vehicles involved in the crash
- Statements from eyewitnesses, passengers, and both drivers
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Data gathered from a vehicle’s onboard systems
In some cases, our lawyers hire expert witnesses to assist with the investigation. Accident reconstructionists and other experts can provide additional evidence and opinions to strengthen your case.
How Long Do I Have To File a PIP or Liability Claim for a Clearwater Car Accident?
The deadline for filing a PIP claim depends on the terms of the insurance contract. However, that deadline only applies to filing claims. You must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident date, or you are ineligible for PIP benefits.
The statute of limitations for most car accident claims in Florida is four years from the accident date. However, there are exceptions. Therefore, you should contact our law firm as soon as possible to discuss your car accident case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyers
Florida insurance laws can be confusing and complex. After a car accident, your concern is healing and receiving compensation for your damages. Contact our law office Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with our experienced Clearwater injury lawyers at (727) 787-2500 to discuss how we can help you with a PIP claim and other injury claims.