You probably have some kind of car insurance, since the law requires it. However, oftentimes you may not know what your car insurance actually pays until it’s too late. After a car accident, you call your insurance company, they might ask you follow-up questions by mail or phone, and then a month or more later, one of the people involved in the accident gets a check covering the some of their eleigible expenses. Just what are all those details that the insurance companies are working out before they decide how much to pay? Different types of car insurance pay for different things, and in some cases, they can even cancel each other out. If you are not sure if the amount that the insurance company offered you after your accident is correct, contact an attorneybefore you accept the settlement offer.
What is PIP Insurance?
All registered vehicle owners in Florida must carry PIP insurance, as well property damage liability insurance. PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection, which covers up to $10,000 of medical expenses and lost income when someone gets injured at an accident, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. In order to get PIP insurance to cover your accident-related expenses, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. If a driver collides with a pedestrian or bicyclist who does not own a car (and therefore does not have PIP insurance), the driver’s PIP insurance might also pay the medical expenses and lost income of the pedestrian or bicyclist. If the drivers involved in the accident have additional optional car insurance, such as bodily injury or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, then the amount covered by PIP gets subtracted from what the other types of insurance must cover. This is called the PIP setoff.
Norman v. Farrow: A Dispute Over a PIP Setoff
In 1998 in Escambia County, William Cleff rear-ended Terri Farrow’s car, causing serious injuries to Farrow. Farrow filed a personal injury lawsuit against Cleff; the court awarded damages to Farrow, adjusted according to the determination that Farrow was 10% at fault for the accident. In the lawsuit and the resulting appeals, there was a dispute over whether the amount that Cleff (and, later on, his estate as represented by his daughter Cynthia Cleff Norman) should pay should be reduced because the PIP setoff from Farrow’s insurance had contributed money to Farrow’s medical bills, and also because Farrow was partially at fault for the accident. The Florida Supreme Court ruled to reduce Farrow’s award in light of both the PIP setoff and Farrow’s share of fault.
How Florida Punishes It’s Drivers Who Fail to Carry PIP Insurance
Suppose you are injured in a car accident and your insurance lapse 2 days ago because you just did not have the money to pay for your insurance this month. All of the sudden you find yourself buried under a mountain of medical bills totaling $10,000 and the person who hit you only carried $10,000 of bodily injury coverage. Now your attorney convinced the insurance company to write you a check for the full $10,000 of available coverage. Does that mean you will get a check for $10,000? Think again, since you failed to carry the required PIP insurance the bulk of the monies will go to pay for your medicals leaving you with $500 in your pocket. Is that fair? Probably not. Are there other options? Maybe. What should you do? Contact an attorney to help you find the best solution for you. Freeman Injury Law Helps Car Accident Survivors