All About No-Fault/PIP Insurance
You may already know that under Florida law, if you drive a car, you have to carry insurance. But the insurance you have to carry legally may not be all the insurance you need if you are in a car accident.
What PIP Insurance Covers
The insurance you must legally carry is called personal injury protection, or PIP. There is good and bad when it comes to PIP.
PIP is designed to cover you, and your injuries, to an extent. It is not designed to protect you should you injure someone else, and get sued.
PIP is what is also known as “no-fault” insurance. That means that it is yours, regardless of who is a fault—even if it’s you. PIP will pay you even if you were the only one involved in the accident, such as if you ran off the road and injured nobody but yourself.
In this way, by not having to prove who was liable, or demonstrate fault, PIP represents a quick and easy pool of money that can help you get started on your medical treatment without concern for cost.
Downsides to PIP Insurance
There are downsides to PIP. Benefits are limited to 80% of your medical bills, up to a maximum of $10,000. Additionally, you may have a deductible (your limit and deductible can be increased if you purchase a more expensive policy).
The other downside is that if you are injured, and you sue someone else, you must show that you have what is known as a permanent and severe injury. If you are injured, but not permanently, a jury can refuse to give you any significant damages.
Whether injuries are permanent or not becomes a huge issue in car accident cases. Even if liability is clearly established, a Defendant will often argue that he or she doesn’t owe damages, because the victim has made a full and complete recovery.
Often, victims who stop getting medical treatment, or who disobey or ignore doctors’ medical advice, find they have a hard time demonstrating permanent or serious injury in their personal injury case.
Setoffs and Other Drawbacks
Because PIP has, presumably, paid you $10,000 in benefits, if you sue the negligent party, your damages are immediately reduced (set off) by $10,000. So, if you “win” $20,000, the effective jury is $10,000, as you already received $10,000 through your PIP, and the law doesn’t want you paid twice for the same thing.
The other drawback with PIP, is that it doesn’t protect you if you are the one sued. And, because it isn’t mandatory the way PIP is, plenty of drivers drive South Florida roads without any liability insurance at all. If one of those drivers hits and injures you, you could be left with no ability to recover any settlement or judgment that you eventually win.
Call us today to discuss obtaining damages after any type of accident or if you have sustained an injury. Schedule a consultation today with the Tampa personal injury attorneys at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian.