What Is PIP Subrogation In Florida?
Florida has a no-fault system of auto insurance, which means that if a person’s injuries do not rise to a certain “injury threshold,” they are required to seek compensation for their medical bills by filing a claim with their personal injury protection (PIP) insurer, as all Florida drivers are generally required to carry PIP and property damage liability (PDL) coverage. In most cases, PIP benefits cannot be subrogated – in other words, an insurer cannot mandate that a person who receives PIP benefits reimburse the insurer for outlays. However, there are two exceptions to this rule, and one of them is when a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is involved in the accident that caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
No PIP Required For CMVs
Subrogation in insurance is a concept that holds that a person cannot receive benefits twice, even if they come from two different places. For example, if a person is injured in an auto accident, receives medical benefits from their insurer, and then wins a large enough jury award to cover their medical expenses themselves, their insurer will usually insist on being repaid for their outlays – after all, the person now has enough money to cover their bills on their own. PIP benefits, however, cannot be subrogated because of the existing limits on tort cases – if an insurer required repayment, the injured person might have nothing left after the fact.
That said, under Florida law, there are two significant exceptions to this rule. The first is when a third-party tortfeasor (a third party who was involved in your accident) is uninsured; the second is when a commercial vehicle, which is not required to carry PIP coverage in Florida, is involved in the accident. This might sound fairly straightforward, but there are two major bones of contention that often make themselves known in these types of cases: the fact that the definition of “commercial vehicle” can sometimes be difficult to pin down, and the question of how much must be repaid – and by who – can be quite confusing.
Which Vehicles Count As “Commercial?”
The definition of what constitutes a commercial motor vehicle varies in Florida, depending on the situation. For example, Florida defines a CMV very specifically for purposes of road regulation, citing a required minimum weight and type of fuel used, among other characteristics, for a vehicle to be classified as “commercial.” However, for insurance purposes, a CMV is defined simply as any vehicle which does not qualify as a private passenger motor vehicle.
If a person is injured in an accident where at least one of the vehicles involved is a CMV, Florida law states that a PIP insurer has a right of reimbursement – not against the injured plaintiff, but against the owner of the CMV (or the owner’s insurer), up to the amount paid out to the injured plaintiff. However, this is only true if the amount was paid to a person who was “an occupant of the commercial motor vehicle,” or was struck by the CMV as a pedestrian – specifically when “not an occupant of any self-propelled vehicle.” These details are fine, but important.
Confused? A Tampa CMV Accident Attorney Can Help
Being involved in an accident with a large vehicle is always difficult to get through, particularly because the injuries sustained are likely to be severe. If you have questions or concerns about your options, and about how to receive the compensation you deserve after someone’s negligence, a Tampa truck accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help. Call our office for a free consultation.