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Articles Tagged with PIP insurance

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Unlike 48 of the other 50 states, Florida does not require its drivers to carry insurance that will pay for bodily injury caused by a negligent or reckless driver.

Fort Myers Auto Accident AttorneyAccording to a recent study done by the Insurance Information Institute, Florida is second only to California in the number of uninsured motorists on the highways. Currently, Florida has 3.2 million drivers on the highways driving without any type of insurance which would pay for the injuries or death of the people they may hurt or even kill. Florida and New Hampshire are the only two states in the entire country that do not currently require even a minimum amount of bodily injury liability coverage. On top of the 3.2 million that are totally uninsured Florida has another major problem. Of those drivers in Florida counted as “insured” many have chosen to only buy PIP insurance that provides minimum payments to themselves and nothing to others that they may harm.

Under current Florida law, a vehicle owner can legally purchase an insurance policy that qualifies him or her as an “insured” that only provides Personal Injury Protection for themselves. Taken together, we have the 3.2 million who have absolutely no insurance and countless others who have simply bought PIP coverage with no liability insurance included. As a result, there is a strong likelihood that if a driver is involved in an accident in Florida the person who caused the accident is carrying no insurance to pay for the victim’s injuries.

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Florida_PIP_changesAfter years of effort (and plenty of money spread around Tallahassee by powerful lobbyists) the insurance industry has finally succeeded in limiting a motorist’s right to collect under Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.

As advocating for the rights Floridians injured in auto accidents is a large portion of or our practice, we have been watching this issue very closely.

For years, the industry has been blaming Florida’s no-fault law for staged accidents and other health care fraud. Portions of the Florida no-fault law requires every motorist to carry $10,000 in PIP coverage. This coverage is meant to pay the first $10,000 in expenses after an accident, regardless of who is at fault. The at-fault driver’s liability insurance and a victim’s health insurance come into play after the PIP benefits have been exhausted.

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PIP (No-Fault) insurance in FloridaSound too good to be true? Well it probably is…We’ve all heard the catchy jingles on our favorite radio stations announcing that after a car accident, we may be entitled to $10,000 in lost wages and benefits. DJ’s and “attorney spokesmen” encourage us to call one of these hot-lines from the scene of the accident—but is what they’re selling us for real?

The long and short answer is: Yes and No (answered like a true lawyer…I know.), but we realize, you probably already knew that. Many people, especially in South Florida, come to personal injury attorneys after even a minimal car accident looking for the $10,000 check that they’ve been hearing about on the radio or billboards.

What all these advertisements are referring to is your PIP (or Personal Injury Protection) Insurance, also referred to as No Fault Insurance. This insurance, which has long been the center of fierce debate in Florida, is the only type of mandatory auto insurance that Floridians are required to purchase. You may have even heard about this insurance from news reports of fraud, staged accidents, and Florida lawmakers constantly trying to regulate it in one direction or another.

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According to a recent study performed by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, 73% of Americans talk on the telephone while driving. The Insurance Industry for Traffic Safety found that almost 6000 deaths were caused by distracted drivers in 2008. The numbers for teens are particularly striking. 21% of fatal car crashes involved cell phone usage and at least 50% of Florida teens admit to texting while driving.

Fort Myers Auto Accident LawyersIn Florida these numbers have particular significance because of our existing insurance laws and the number of uninsured drivers on our highways. Unlike many states, Florida does not require its drivers to have liability insurance conditioned to pay someone else harmed by a negligent or reckless driver. The only required insurance is PIP insurance which provides just $10,000 worth of no-fault medical or lost wage coverage. Very few hospital stays cost less than $10,000 so rarely is there any money for lost wages. Surprisingly, there is no requirement that Florida drivers carry insurance to pay the people they injure. Even more troubling is the fact that Florida, while having only minimal insurance requirements still has the 5th highest rate of uninsured drivers in the entire country. According to a recent study by the Insurance Research Council, a full 23% of Florida drivers had no insurance of any nature. Regrettably, those who do have liability insurance often have limits of only $10,000. All of which increases the likelihood that if you are seriously injured on the highway you may well have no one to look to reimburse you for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. So, how can you protect yourself?

First and foremost, make sure to buy liability insurance that also includes uninsured motorist coverage. Unless you reject it in writing, your insurance company is required to sell you uninsured motorist coverage in limits equal to your liability coverage. For example, if you have $300,000 worth of liability coverage, unless you have rejected it you will also have $300,000 worth of uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage will insure you not only against people who hurt you who have no insurance but also drivers who have some insurance but who don’t have enough insurance to compensate you for your losses.

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