Florida PIP: Can I Still Seek Damages from the Negligent Driver?

If you are involved in a Florida motor vehicle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, then you may be surprised to know that not only does the insurance policy of the other driver come into play, but that your own Florida PIP (personal injury protection) benefits also come into play.  What does this mean?  Although few people know it, Florida is considered a limited no-fault jurisdiction for purposes of motor vehicle accidents.  This means that every motorist is required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP benefits as a condition of operating a motor vehicle on the roads in Florida.  If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident in the Sunshine State, even one that is caused by someone else’s negligence, then under Florida’s limited no-fault insurance scheme, you would look first to your own policy for benefits.  Once you have reached the $10,000 minimum threshold required for every driver to carry in Florida PIP benefits, then the other person’s insurance will cover medical treatment for your injuries as well as your other damages a result of that person’s negligence.

Florida PIP Insurance and How It Works

Florida PIP insurance pays a specified amount of benefits that is set forth by statute for the insured’s injuries in a Florida motor vehicle accident.  For example, Florida PIP insurance policies are required to cover 80% of your medical bills for treatment associated with injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident, including out-of-pocket prescription costs, dental expenses, and rehabilitative services like physical therapy.  This means that if you suffer $5,000 in expenses associated with medical treatment for your injuries, your own Florida PIP benefits would cover $4,000 of that amount.  PIP is also required to cover 60% of lost wages, meaning that if you lost $5,000 in wages because you were receiving treatment for your injuries or you were unable to make it to work because your vehicle had been totaled, your own PIP benefits would pay you $3,000 of that amount.

Can I Still Sue The Driver That Injured Me Due to His Negligence in Causing the Accident?

The short answer is yes, subject to certain limitations.  The first is if you suffer permanent injuries as a result of the other driver’s actions. The second would be if you suffer from injuries that require more than the $10,000 in benefits available under your own Florida PIP policy.  Florida’s limited no-fault PIP insurance scheme was intended to reduce the amount of litigation related to motor vehicle accidents, but it did not take away the right of someone who was injured as a result of another motorist’s negligence to seek compensation from the negligent driver or that driver’s insurer for the victim’s injuries, economic damages like car repair bills, lost wages or out-of-pocket medical costs, and damages for the victim’s pain and suffering as a result of the motor vehicle accident.

Once you reach that $10,000 threshold and your own PIP benefits have been exhausted, then you are permitted to seek reimbursement and compensation from the other driver and/or his insurer for any of your damages that exceed $10,000.  Therefore, although one of the stated purposes of the law was to reduce litigation related to motor vehicle accidents, it did not take away any rights that a Florida motor vehicle accident victim has in relation to the negligence of another driver.  Therefore, you absolutely have the right to pursue your claims against a negligent motorist that injured you, and Florida’s PIP law does not erect any barriers to doing so.

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A.

Motor vehicle accidents in Florida occur with dangerous regularity.  At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal practice representing victims of motor vehicle accidents in Florida. If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of another Florida motorist, you have the right under Florida law to receive compensation for your injuries, including the payment for any medical treatment you need to undergo as a result of those injuries, compensation for your pain and suffering as a result of those injuries, and other damages.  This is true regardless of the existence of Florida’s limited no-fault PIP scheme.  Therefore, if you, a family member, or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by someone else’s negligence in Florida, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.