Why Does My Car Insurance Have To Pay My Medical Bills When I Didn't Cause The Car Accident?
Nothing confuses my clients more than learning that their own car insurance is going to pay their medical bills before the negligent driver will. I agree with them and understand their frustration, but the Florida Legislature doesn't.
No-Fault Insurance Explained
Florida is one of a handful of States that still utilize a "No-Fault System." In its simplest terms, the "No-Fault System" requires every Florida resident who owns or registers a car in Florida to purchase auto insurance which includes PIP (Personal Injury Protection) Insurance. PIP insurance pays 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages up to $10,000 to injured auto accident victims regardless of who caused the accident. The law requires that any injured driver subject to the No-Fault Law use their insurance to pay their medical bills and lost wages before any other insurance has to pay, including the negligent driver's liability insurance. This is often described as the "PIP is Primary" rule by Florida attorneys.
How Much Does PIP Insurance Cover?
Effective January 1, 2013 the Florida legislature limited PIP coverage to only $2,500 unless the injured party received medical treatment from a doctor within 14 days and a medical doctor determined that the injured party had an emergency medical condition.
The "No-Fault System" also has some harsh rules for car accident victims:
- If you elect to take a deductible on your PIP coverage, you are choosing to self-insure for the amount of the deductible. The negligent driver is not responsible to reimburse you for the deductible.
- If you fail to obtain PIP coverage or the coverage lapses, the negligent driver is not responsible to reimburse you for the first $10,000 of your medical and lost wage damages. So the negligent driver caused it and you pay for it from your own pocket.
- You may only be reimbursed for pain and suffering damages (also called non-economic damages) from the negligent driver if your injury is considered permanent or the injury results in scarring or disfigurement. This is not the rule in all other Florida injury cases like slip and falls or dog bites; only auto accident "No-Fault" cases.
These are just some examples of the complexities of Florida's automobile negligence laws. If you have questions about these issues or any other Florida injury or accident questions, please feel free to contact me online for a free case evaluation or call my office at 561.417.7033 .