Tag Archives: Personal Injury Protection

Florida Car Insurance 101: Part 5 – Your Car Wreck and Personal Injury Protection.

What is personal injury protection (PIP), or no-fault coverage? There are only 13 states in the United States that require every driver to purchase and maintain personal injury protection coverage.

Florida is one of those 13 states. Florida drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection coverage, which is also known as “no-fault” coverage. This coverage is personal and it insures the policyholder for the benefit of the policy.

What Does “No-Fault” Mean?

The term “no-fault” indicates that you do not have to prove fault in order to get this PIP benefit. The $10,000 PIP benefit is available to you if you are involved in a wreck. The money can be accessed in one of two ways.

How Does PIP Work?

Medical Care – First, all medical providers that treat you following a wreck can bill the car insurance company directly. The insurance company will pay 80% of any bills submitted to them for car wreck-related treatment.

Lost Wages – The other item that can properly be paid by pip benefits is lost wages. PIP coverage will reimburse you for 60% of lost wages. To gain access to this wage loss benefit under PIP, you have to fill out a PIP loss form. This lost wage form can be obtained from your PIP adjuster who works for your car insurance company.

Emergency Medical Condition

Florida car wreck laws limit your pip recovery to $2,500 and prevent you from receiving the full $10,000 benefit. It is important that you have this EMC (emergency medical condition) diagnosis so that you can take full advantage of the PIP benefits under your car insurance policy.

Florida Car Wreck Laws and How It Affects Your Car Wreck Case

In return for the PIP benefits, the insurance company got protection from lawsuits. Florida car wreck laws (as well as other states that have PIP laws) prohibit cases against negligent drivers until you have been shown to have a permanent injury. So, the trade-off is this. You as a driver will be granted pip benefits without much resistance from the insurance companies, but you will forfeit your right to sue the other driver unless you have been diagnosed with a permanent injury.

The definition of “permanent injury” is not exactly clear, and you certainly can have a permanent injury without having a fracture or requiring surgery. Since this “permanent injury” item is a legal term, it requires legal analysis under your specific facts. If you have questions about a Florida car wreck injury or PIP coverage, you can find us at zarzaurlaw.com or 855Hirejoe.

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON PIP COVERAGE >


Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From Our Car Wreck Checklist >


Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Gov. DeSantis Vetoes No Fault Repeal Legislation

Gov. Ron DeSantis has vetoed legislation that would have ended Florida’s no-fault rule after mounting pressure from critics who argued the bill would push up rates for many drivers.

The bill DeSantis vetoed (SB 54cleared the Legislature in April, and landed on the Governor’s desk Monday.

The measure, carried through the Senate by Zephyrhills Republican Sen. Danny Burgess, sought to end the requirement that Floridians purchase $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and would instead require mandatory bodily injury (MBI) coverage that would payout up to $25,000 for a crash-related injury or death.

“While the PIP system has flaws and Florida law regarding bad faith is deficient … SB 54 does not adequately address the current issues facing Florida drivers and may have unintended consequences that would negatively impact both the market and consumers,” DeSantis wrote in his veto letter.

No-fault repeal has been a perennial effort in the Legislature. And part of the bill’s contents, namely bad faith reform, has been a target of some lawmakers for a decade.

DeSantis’ veto Tuesday means lawmakers will have to go back to the drawing board if they want to rework Florida’s auto insurance laws.

The no-fault system was established in Florida in 1979, along with the requirement of carrying $10,000 in PIP coverage. But, under the bill, the state would shift into a system where parties litigate over who caused accidents.

Although repeal was popular in both chambers — the House approved it in a 100-16 vote, and the Senate in a 37-3 vote — the legislation faced opposition from several lawmakers, as well as some insurance and medical groups.

Democratic Sens. Lauren Book and Jason Pizzo voted against it, as did Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, who argued the bill would increase the insurance rates on the poorest Floridians, possibly by half.

Several insurance and medical groups also voiced support for the current system, which compensates medical providers without drivers having to go to court to determine fault. Opponents of the bill have begun pushing for DeSantis to veto it since the legislation cleared the Legislature.

PIP coverage pays out regardless of which party is responsible for an accident and it does so quickly. MBI coverage, however, doesn’t pay out until a fault determination is made, which can leave health care providers or patients on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical bills while they wait for a claim to resolve.

Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier has said he is “hesitant” to support the repeal, according to The News Service of Florida. Altmaier’s office Monday released an actuarial study that found repealing PIP would result in an overall increase in premiums of 13.3% for all coverages combined, or $202 a year for the average vehicle. The analysis was ordered by Altmaier and conducted by Pinnacle Actuarial Resources Inc.

The Florida Insurance Council, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, and the Florida Chiropractic Physician Association also took part in the veto campaign.

But, proponents of the bill, including plaintiffs’ lawyers and Senate President Wilton Simpson, argued that a majority of motorists, who already carry bodily injury coverage, would see rate savings. Supporters also argued that rates would go down because the change would reduce fraud that has long plagued the PIP system.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

 

Sources:

Content from The News Service of Florida was used in this report with permission.

Gov. DeSantis vetoes no-fault repeal legislation

Who Pays My Medical Bills After a Car Wreck?

Medical Bills Pensacola Injury LawAfter a serious car crash, a client’s first thought is to get medical treatment to determine the extent of the injuries they have suffered. As we all know, however, the cost of medical treatment can be sky-high. So, the second question many potential clients ask us is this:


WHO PAYS FOR MY MEDICAL BILLS WHEN I’M NOT AT FAULT?


Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

If you hold a Florida car insurance policy, you are required to purchase “Personal Injury Protection” or “PIP” benefits that will cover a portion of your medical bills. This benefit is also known as “no-fault” benefits, because PIP pays 80% of your medical bills and/or lost wages, up to a maximum of $10,000—regardless of who was at fault in the wreck.

 

MedPay

Other policies may have another type of “no fault” insurance called “Medical Payments” coverage, also known as “MedPay.” Again, this type of insurance is not concerned with who caused the wreck. Unlike PIP benefits, MedPay benefits can only be applied to medical treatment and no other special damages, like lost wages.

 

Health Insurance

After PIP benefits are used up, a client usually starts charging their medical bills to their health insurance, whether that is employer-based health insurance or government-based health insurance. As the case moves on, the health insurer asserts a “lien” or “right of subrogation,” which means that the health insurer is asserting a right to have the client reimburse them their payments once the client settles the case with the at-fault driver and/or the client’s uninsured/underinsured motorist insurer.

 

Letter of Protection (LOP)

If a client does not have health insurance, the client usually has to start treating under what is called a “Letter of Protection” or “LOP.” This document is basically an “IOU” between the client’s lawyer and a provider who would otherwise not treat the uninsured client. This contract states that the lawyer will reimburse the provider’s costs out of the eventual settlement of the case.

Although the LOP sounds good in theory, a client should always try to avoid an LOP if possible. A provider who treats a patient under an LOP is entitled to obtain the entire value of the treatment rendered on a dollar-for-dollar basis, while a client’s health insurance is frequently willing to accept significant reductions to their asserted liens.

 

Car Wreck CaseOnly experienced lawyers are capable of navigating the process of having the appropriate entity pay your medical bills. So, potential clients shouldn’t just hire any lawyer. Not all lawyers are equal in their training and qualifications. The Florida Bar does not typically allow lawyers to hold themselves out as “experts.” However, the Bar does allow lawyers who have extensive experience in personal injury and tort cases to become specialists in a civil trial. Only one percent of Florida lawyers have this certification. Two out of three of the lawyers on staff at Zarzaur Law, P.A. are Board Certified in Civil Trial.

So, when potential clients ask us about whether or when to hire a lawyer after an accident, we remind them that only a Board Certified civil trial lawyer is a specialist in this area of the law. Since all injury lawyers have the same “no fee no cost unless you win” payout structure, there is no reason to hire someone who is not a specialist.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of an auto accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

Sources:

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/medical-payments-coverage.asp

https://wallethub.com/edu/ci/med-pay/9255

https://accidentdoctor.org/doctors-who-accept-lawyers-letter-of-protection/

https://zarzaurlaw.com/auto-accident/

https://zarzaurlaw.com/?s=PIP

https://zarzaurlaw.com/?s=car+wreck+checklist

https://zarzaurlaw.com/explaining-no-fault-car-accident-laws-in-florida/