Misconceptions About Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system is based on every driver carrying personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which in theory, can pay their bills in the event of an accident. However, quite a bit of misinformation abounds when discussing PIP coverage, what it does, and what each driver who carries it is entitled to. If you are involved in a car accident, it can be critical to understand the nature of what PIP can do for you.
Myth: PIP will always be available to me.
Fact: There is a very small window in which you have to access your PIP coverage, or it becomes unavailable for that specific incident. Generally, under Florida law, you must access services within 14 days of your motor vehicle crash, and within that time frame, the law explicitly states that it will cover “eighty percent of all reasonable expenses for medically necessary … services” only. In other words, only 80 percent of your bills are guaranteed to be paid by your PIP coverage – if they are deemed “reasonable expenses” for “medically necessary” services.
Myth: I have to own a car in order to be protected by PIP coverage.
Fact: If you are a non-driver, but you were in an automobile accident as a passenger, you are covered by PIP insurance in one of two ways. If you live with a blood relative (such as a parent) or a spouse who has PIP coverage, you are on their policy since you are part of the household. Alternatively, if you do not have access to coverage from that angle, your injuries will generally be covered by the PIP insurance belonging to the driver of the car you were injured in. Either way, you are covered.
Myth: My PIP coverage is good to cover my bills with any type of medical provider.
Fact: That depends on the definition of ‘medical’ provider. M.D.s, osteopaths, chiropractors, EMS services, and professionals associated with hospitals will generally always be able to have bills covered by PIP. However, more alternative types of therapy, such as acupuncture or massage, are not covered by Florida’s PIP statute as of this writing.
Myth: Once I start getting treatment, I am entitled to all $10,000 worth (or however much my policy covers).
Fact: The key word is “entitled” – no one is ever “entitled” to coverage until an insurer states that they are. However, once you commence treatment, providers will keep billing. Generally, PIP benefits stop at $2,500 unless you have been diagnosed with an emergency medical condition (EMC) – under Florida law, this is defined as a medical condition, manifesting severely, which engenders a reasonable belief that without treatment, it may cause serious impairment of bodily functions, serious dysfunction of organs or serious jeopardy to patient health. Once you have been diagnosed with an EMC, PIP will keep paying for your medical bills up to that 80 percent threshold.
Contact An Experienced Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been in an accident, it is important to be aware of what benefits you can rely on, so that you can understand how to use them more efficiently and get back to your normal life. If you have questions on how to do that, the Tampa personal injury lawyers at the Rinaldo Law Group are happy to try and assist you. Call our office today at 813-831-9999 for a free consultation.