two people discussing insurance over their totaled cars

No-Fault Insurance and Why Your Insurance Is Being Used For An Accident That Isn’t Your Fault

Under Florida Law, there is a type of automobile insurance called Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) Insurance. PIP is a type of insurance that provides benefits to the insured regardless of who is deemed at fault in an accident.[1] This allows anyone that is involved in an auto accident to receive some medical, surgical, funeral, or disability benefit, no matter who is at fault for causing the accident.[2] Depending on the circumstances surrounding the automobile accident, PIP will pay up to $10,000 in benefits.[3] The benefits that are provided under PIP insurance are primary to your health insurance.[4] Once PIP has been exhausted, you will be able to use your health insurance.

If you own a vehicle or have a vehicle registered in your name, it is required by Florida law to have PIP Insurance on that vehicle.[5] There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, which include school buses, limousines, and taxicabs.[6] If you fail to have PIP insurance on a vehicle you are driving and are involved in an accident, then you will be personally liable for all of the PIP benefits that would have been provided.[7] This means that any benefits you receive that would have been provided by PIP, you will have to pay for personally.

If you do not own a vehicle, it is still possible to qualify for PIP benefits. One method of qualifying for PIP is if you live with a relative who owns a vehicle. If neither you nor anyone you live with owns a vehicle, then PIP should apply based on the vehicle that you were in during the auto accident.

In certain situations, it is also possible to qualify for PIP when you are not in a vehicle. For example, if you are a pedestrian or a bicyclist that is hit by a vehicle, then it is possible to qualify for PIP. The same hierarchy will apply as if you were in a vehicle. First, if you own a vehicle, then your own insurance will provide PIP benefits. Second, if you have a resident relative, then their insurance will provide PIP benefits. Third, if you do not own a vehicle and have no resident relatives with a vehicle, then the at-fault driver’s insurance will provide PIP benefits. Some of the benefits that PIP insurance provides are payments for medical expenses, payment for lost wages and disability benefits, and death benefits.[8] The overall amount and percentage that PIP insurance will provide will vary based on the benefit.

In order to qualify for PIP, the insured, or those who were involved in the accident, will need to be treated by a medical provider within 14 days after the motor vehicle accident.[9] It is important to note that medical providers can include licensed physicians or medical doctors, dentists, chiropractors, hospitals, and emergency medical technicians.[10] Services that do not qualify as medical providers are acupuncture providers and massage therapists.[11] If you do not seek medical attention by one of the licensed providers within 14 days, then you will be disqualified for PIP and not receive any benefits from this insurance.

One crucial thing to remember is even if you don’t qualify for PIP benefits because you did not treat within 14 days, you are still entitled to bring a claim against the at-fault driver or uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier. A lot of people get confused and think they can’t bring a lawsuit if they did not treat in 14 days, that’s not correct. Failure to treat in the first 14 days just means you will not qualify for PIP benefits; you may still be entitled to other compensation.

Author:

 John Mark Hundhausen


[1] Fl. Stat. 627.731 (2019).

[2] Fl. Stat. 627.731 (2019).

[3] Fl. Stat. 627.736(1) (2019).

[4] Fl. Stat. 627.736(4) (2019).

[5] Fl. Stat. 627.733(1)(a) (2019).

[6] Fl. Stat. 627.733(1)(a) (2019).

[7] Fl. Stat. 627.733(4) (2019).

[8] Fl. Stat. 627.736 (2019).

[9] Fl. Stat. 627.736(1)(a) (2019).

[10] Fl. Stat. 627.736(1)(a)(1) (2019).

[11] Fl Stat. 627.736(1)(a)(5) (2019).

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