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Tractor-Trailer Accidents & Personal Injury Protection Insurance


As of this writing, there are 12 U.S. states that have no-fault auto insurance systems in place, including Florida. No-fault auto insurance means that after an auto accident, an injured person is required to seek compensation for their medical bills from their personal injury protection (PIP) insurance – which every Florida driver is required to carry – as opposed to immediately filing suit against the person whose negligence allegedly caused their injuries. This is true not only in accidents involving personal vehicles; it also holds true of crashes that involve tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles. Navigating the state’s insurance system can be complicated without the help of a legal professional.

Required For All Drivers

PIP insurance is required for every driver of a four-wheeled vehicle in Florida, including tractor-trailers. The purpose of PIP coverage is to pay for injuries sustained by the policyholder, regardless of which vehicle the person is in (or if they are a pedestrian). It can also pay the medical bills of any other injured people as the situation requires. Drivers of personal vehicles are not required to carry liability coverage, but drivers of commercial vehicles are; not only PIP, but bodily injury liability (BIL) and property damage liability (PDL) are required as well.

Many commercial cargo companies also elect to have extra coverage, particularly for collisions and additional medical expenses. Regardless, an injured plaintiff should be aware of two things after a tractor-trailer accident, if they are in a position to seek compensation via PIP claim: first, that PIP coverage does not cover intangible damages like pain and suffering; and second, at least in Florida, PIP coverage only pays for “[e]ighty percent of all reasonable expenses for medically necessary” care. The leftover 20 percent can add up.

Can I Sue?

If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, it is common for survivors of this type of crash to experience severe injury. It is important to keep in mind that while PIP coverage is required for all Florida drivers, it is possible for a plaintiff whose injuries exhaust their PIP coverage to file suit in the standard manner. State law specifically permits a plaintiff whose injuries are “significant and permanent” to seek further damages from a(n allegedly negligent) defendant if they are able to establish negligence.

That said, keep in mind that Florida law has what is known as a subrogation provision, which means that if you pursue a lawsuit and are awarded damages in a settlement or trial, your PIP insurer may have a claim to some of that amount if they have already paid out PIP benefits. The rationale is that a person is generally not legally permitted to recover twice for the same injury, and allowing a plaintiff to keep both insurance proceeds and a jury award would fall into this category.

Call A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney

A tractor-trailer accident can cause injuries that can take a long time to recover from, but you do not have to navigate the legal process alone. A Tampa tractor-trailer accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help you negotiate with insurers and move toward a legal outcome that protects you and yours. Contact our office today for a free consultation.

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