PIP Coverage Outside Your Own Car
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that instead of injured drivers filing suit against defendants to seek compensation for their injuries after vehicle accidents, they must file a claim with their own auto insurance, referred to as personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. However, this can lead to confusion in some cases, especially if one is injured when they are on foot or riding a bicycle or other non-motorized conveyance. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help clear up any questions.
An Alternative To Filing Suit
Florida requires everyone who owns and operates a vehicle to carry $10,000 worth of PIP coverage and $10,000 of property damage liability coverage to be in compliance with the state’s auto insurance laws. If a person is involved in an auto accident, they are supposed to file an insurance claim against that coverage to try and get any medical bills paid. This is true of drivers and passengers in cars and other vehicles, but what many are unaware of is that this is also true of pedestrians and bicyclists (though their methods for seeking compensation will differ slightly than those for auto drivers or passengers).
If someone who is injured on foot or on a bicycle owns a vehicle that is insured in Florida, they can, in most cases, file a claim with their own PIP coverage. This is because while PIP coverage follows the vehicle, it will ‘follow’ (cover) the policyholder, or any other authorized person named in the policy, if the vehicle is not involved in any accident. If you do not have PIP coverage – either because you do not own a vehicle, or you are simply not in compliance with state law – you may be able to access the coverage of anyone you live with (called a “resident relative”).
No PIP Coverage Available
Some people do not live with any relative, and they may not own a car – but they are still entitled to claim against PIP coverage to have their medical bills paid. In these types of cases, the (alleged) at-fault driver’s coverage – either on their vehicle, or their personal policy, depending on the specific facts of your case, is where the claim should go. The public policy of the state of Florida prizes injured plaintiffs being able to obtain compensation for their injuries, and perpetuates the idea that doing so via insurance claim is more efficient than going through the courts.
That said, there are occasions where an injured plaintiff’s injuries are severe enough to “break out” of Florida’s no-fault system; such severe injuries will almost certainly cost more than $10,000 (the required amount of PIP coverage) to treat. State law holds that if your injuries are “significant and permanent,” you can file suit against the (allegedly) negligent driver in a standard personal injury case. If this turns out to be the best path for you, however, it is crucial that you enlist an experienced attorney to help you through the process. It is extremely difficult to try and do it alone.
Call A Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer
Florida has been criticized for many years for having a lack of pedestrian infrastructure, which in turn can endanger those who are not on the roads in a vehicle. If you have been in an accident while on foot, or riding a bicycle, contacting the Tampa personal injury attorneys from the Rinaldo Law Group may be a good way to try and get answers to any questions you may have about your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.