Can I Use My Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance After A Pedestrian Accident?
For several reasons, accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians are depressingly common in Florida, particularly in urban areas. If you are injured by a negligent driver while out and about, you have the right to seek monetary compensation from their personal injury protection (PIP) insurer for the damage you have suffered. However, too many drivers also lack PIP insurance, even though state law requires they carry it. It is a good idea to know your options if you wind up in this situation yourself.
Policies Attach To The Person
Florida’s auto insurance system is ‘no-fault,’ which means that most of the time, an injured driver or pedestrian may not file suit in the event of an accident; rather, they would file a claim with the negligent driver’s PIP insurer and try to recover their medical bills and expenses that way. (There are rare situations in which an injured person can file suit against a negligent driver, but their injuries must surpass a certain severity threshold in order to do so.) However, as many as one-fourth of all drivers in Florida are underinsured or totally uninsured, which can make an injured pedestrian think they have no options to seek redress.
Luckily, Florida PIP policies attach to the “named insured” – the person who bought and keeps up the policy – rather than to an individual vehicle. (A household member who does not own a vehicle may also be covered by that PIP policy as well.) This means that even if you were injured outside your own vehicle, your injuries may be covered by your own insurance if the other actor in your accident has none. Pedestrians are covered by their own PIP insurance if they are struck by a motor vehicle (which is defined in the statute) while not being in one themselves.
To File Or Not To File?
In general, if you are physically struck by a motor vehicle while you are a pedestrian (walking, standing, sitting, riding a non-motorized conveyance like a bicycle or a skateboard, or on rollerskates), PIP will pay your medical bills, though it is unlikely you would be able to receive any other compensation like for pain and suffering or loss of quality of life. In some cases, PIP may also pay disability benefits, up to 60 percent of any “loss of gross income” and/or earning capacity.
Something to keep in mind after an accident with a negligent driver is that if you accrue more than $10,000 in medical bills, your injury may be sufficient enough to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver to try and recover more in damages. The prognosis for your injury can change enough where a lawsuit becomes tenable, even if you did not originally believe that it would be. A knowledgeable attorney may be helpful in determining what the best path for you and your loved ones might be.
Contact A Tampa Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Being a pedestrian in Florida can be somewhat more hazardous than it is in other states, but you have rights just like vehicle drivers. If you have been injured in an accident with a car or truck, contacting a Tampa pedestrian accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group may be the first step toward seeking money damages for the harm you have suffered. We can offer compassionate and knowledgeable representation. Call our office today for a free initial consultation.