If you operate a motor vehicle in Florida, you are going to need to purchase PIP insurance for your vehicle. PIP stands for “personal injury protection,” and Florida requires this insurance coverage because of its no-fault car insurance system. Unlike many other states, the Florida car insurance system places the onus on you to seek compensation for any injuries you sustain in a car accident.
What Is the No-Fault Insurance System?
Many states follow a traditional fault system when it comes to obtaining compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident. Under this system, you will file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to receive a settlement for property damage, injuries, and more. If you were at fault for the accident, your personal insurance company will pay for the damage to the other driver. You can purchase additional PIP insurance to cover your own injuries in these states.
Florida is a no-fault insurance system, which means that it does not require the at-fault driver to pay for damages in an accident. Instead, you and the at-fault driver are responsible for going to your own insurance companies to receive compensation for your respective injuries and losses. All drivers in Florida must carry a minimum amount of PIP coverage to protect them in case of an accident. You can seek additional compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company if your injuries satisfy the serious injury threshold.
PIP Insurance Coverage in Florida
Under Florida state law, all drivers must carry a minimum amount of $10,000 in personal injury protection coverage to lawfully operate a motor vehicle. You can purchase higher amounts of PIP coverage if you wish to do so. In addition, all drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability coverage for damages to the other driver’s property.
With PIP insurance, you can recover any financial losses that you sustain in a car accident up to your policy limits. These damages can include past and future medical expenses related to your injuries, any lost wages you sustain during recovery time, and damage to your vehicle and other property. You cannot receive intangible or pain and suffering damages through PIP coverage.
Obtaining Additional Compensation in Florida
If you only carry the minimum amount of PIP coverage in Florida, $10,000 may not be enough to cover the extent of your damages. You may suffer from severe injuries that lead to thousands and thousands of dollars in medical bills, as well as lasting damages from your accident. In these situations, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company if you can prove that he or she was responsible for the accident.
In order to file a third-party claim for car accident injuries in Florida, your injuries must qualify under the Florida serious injury threshold. You must have experienced one of the following injuries to pursue a liability claim and obtain additional compensation.
- Bone fractures
- Significant disfigurement
- Substantial liability that lasts for at least 90 days
- A significant limitation of use of one of your body functions or systems
- A permanent limitation or use of one of your body organs or body parts
If you do not meet these definitions, you cannot file a third-party claim to recover from your injuries. However, you could file a personal injury lawsuit to receive additional compensation. Under this claim, you can recover your noneconomic pain and suffering losses and additional funds to pay for damages your PIP coverage cannot.
If you do not have PIP coverage in Florida, you can face consequences from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. These penalties may include license suspension and revocation of registration and license plates, plus reinstatement fees as high as $500. To keep on top of your insurance requirements and to protect yourself in the event of an accident, purchase PIP coverage as soon as possible.