Florida has a “No Fault” personal insurance system meaning that the law that requires each driver to have a $10,000 personal injury protection policy (PIP). This means that when someone in Florida is involved in a car accident, all medical bills and lost wages up to $10,000 must be paid from the injured person’s own PIP which pays 80 percent for medical bills and 60 percent of lost wages.
It works like this: You get into an auto accident that is your fault, then your PIP pays medical bills (80%) and any lost wages (60%) are paid by your PIP insurance up to $10,000.
Let’s say it’s the other driver’s fault. Then not much has changed as you still have to use your own PIP insurance to pay for your medical bills and lost wages up to $10,000. However, what about those bills and/or lost wages beyond $10,000?
Exceptions to PIP Insurance
Florida law allows for exceptions to having to use your own PIP. This means that if one of these exceptions apply, then you can sue the other driver. These exceptions are:
- Medical bills/lost wages greater than $10,000.
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
This means that if you have any amount of medical bills for a “significant and permanent loss of bodily function” then you can sue for those damages regardless of the amount of the medical bills. When you do sue, you can get “special damages” for pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience because of bodily injury, sickness or disease. You have to prove that the defendant was negligent and that these injuries arose from the accident.
How it Works:
Let’s say you are in an automobile accident that is not your fault and you have $5,000 in medical bills, and $5,000 in lost wages. Then even though it’s someone else’s fault, you have to use your PIP insurance to pay for your medical bills and lost wages. So for $5,000 in medical bills, your PIP will pay $4,000 leaving you to pay $1,000. For your lost wages from being out of work, your PIP will pay you $3,000.
Let’s say that out of those $5,000 in medical bills, $4,000 was for a significant and permanent injury. Then you can sue the other driver for those $4,000 plus any special damages such as pain and suffering.
Now let’s say that your medical bills were $20,000 but they weren’t considered significant and permanent, and you weren’t out of work. In this case, your own PIP must be used for the first $10,000 (you would still owe $2,000 after PIP paid $8,000) then you can sue the other driver for the remaining $10,000 plus pain and suffering and all other special damages. One thing to keep in mind is when you are suing for anything not covered by your PIP insurance, Florida is also considered a Comparative Fault state meaning that if you were somewhat at fault, then the amount you are paid by the other driver is reduced by that percentage.
Always Call a Tampa Auto Accident Lawyer
If you are seriously injured in an auto accident, speak to a Tampa Auto Accident Lawyer. Call the RHINO Lawyers at 844 RHINO-77 or 844-879-3213 to talk to an attorney who can advise you on Florida’s personal injury laws.