If you're a driver in the Sunshine State, Florida law dictates that you must carry at least $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Also referred to as "no-fault insurance," PIP benefits are meant to reimburse a driver for damages incurred during an accident, no matter who was at fault.
Despite being a necessary coverage on all Florida auto insurance policies, many questions still surround PIP. Continue reading to learn more about the most common myths regarding personal injury protection, and the truth behind them.
Myth #1: I can evoke my PIP coverage at any time following my accident.
First and foremost, if you've been injured in an accident, the last thing you want to do is wait to seek treatment. While this can detrimentally effect your personal injury claim, it can also result in debilitating injuries and chronic pain.
When it comes to PIP coverage, if you fail to receive medical attention within 14 days of the accident, PIP will not pay any of your medical bills. The purpose of PIP coverage is to make medical treatment easier and more readily available for those who've suffered an accident. No-fault insurance makes it possible for an accident victim to receive immediate treatment no matter their situation or financial circumstances.
If you choose not to seek treatment within the specified two week window, it is assumed that your injuries were either not serious or not pressing enough to receive treatment, and your PIP coverage cannot be claimed.
Myth #2: If I get into a car accident, I automatically get $10,000.
This is not the case. Money is not simply deposited into your account after an accident. The $10,000 you receive in benefits does not actually go to you, but is distributed among the damages you accrue after an accident. For example, medical bills, lost wages from work, and out-of-pocket prescriptions will be paid with the $10,000 in benefits.
Myth #3: PIP covers 100% of my medical bills.
This is not true. All drivers carry at least $10,000 of PIP coverage, which will be divided to cover damages sustained. Personal injury protection benefits cover:
- 80% of your reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred from an auto accident.
- 80% of out-of-pocket prescription costs, dental expenses, and rehabilitation services.
- Mileage reimbursement for travel expenses to and from a health care professional clinic or office.
- $5,000 in death benefits.
- 60% of lost wages.
Myth #4: My PIP will cover damages to the other driver's vehicle.
Personal Injury Protection benefits are restricted to your actual injuries and their related damages, not property damage. Your PIP coverage does not replace liability coverage, and will not cover the cost of repairs to the other vehicle. Nor will PIP coverage cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle.
PIP benefits strictly cover accident-related medical treatment expenses as well as incurred lost wages.
Myth #5: My insurance will cover all my costs if I am injured.
In a perfect world, your insurance policy would cover all costs accrued from an accident. Unfortunately, that's generally not how insurance works. Depending on your insurance policy and its limits, your insurance company will typically cover the cost of your medical bills as well as the cost of property damage minus your deductible amount.
However, when it comes to non-economic damages as well as severe injuries, it is wise to seek recovery from the at-fault individual's insurance company. Examples of these damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and future medical costs, including rehabilitation and medication. If you're unsure what's covered in your auto insurance policy, consult with a qualified attorney. Working alongside a trusted attorney can help you determine which costs will be reimbursed via your insurance, and whether or not your resulting injuries have made you liable for a personal injury claim.
Myth #6: PIP will cover all types of treatment up to the $10,000
This is false. The type of care a victim can seek under PIP coverage is limited. For instance, acupuncture and massage therapy are no longer covered under PIP benefits. Furthermore, unless you have an "emergency medical condition," you can only receive $2,500 in PIP benefits. Emergency medical conditions, often abbreviated as EMCs, must be diagnosed by a physician, physician's assistant, dentist, or nurse practitioner in order to receive the full $10,000 in benefits.
Myth #7: Claiming my PIP coverage will raise my insurance rates.
False. PIP coverage is mandatory for a reason - to protect Florida drivers and to limit the amount of accident injury cases being filed each year. As a Floridian driver, you have every right to enact this coverage after an accident and your insurance company has no right to penalize you.
In fact, Florida law has made it illegal for insurance companies to raise rates or cancel a policy without a legally valid reason. Florida Statute 626.9541 prohibits insurance companies from improperly raising rates or cancelling policies, actions which are subject to civil liability and fines.
If you've recently been involved in an auto accident, consulting with a personal injury protection lawyer who is well-versed in no-fault insurance is the first step in understanding how and when PIP coverage can be claimed. Don't lose out on your right to compensation. Contact Weinstein Legal today to learn more.