Many people are reluctant to seek medical treatment for an injury they incurred as the result of a car accident they caused. After all, they think they will already have to pay for the other party’s injuries, and paying for their own will just increase the amount of money they’ll owe. However, thanks to Florida’s No Fault Law, you have benefits for your injuries from your insurance company, even if you caused the accident.
A Brief Overview of Florida’s No Fault Law
In an effort to reduce the number of lawsuits related to car accidents, Florida’s lawmakers passed a bill that requires everyone to carry Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage. More commonly referred to as “no-fault coverage,” PIP insurance pays the medical bills and lost wages of the insured regardless of who caused the accident. The minimum amount of coverage each motorist must possess is $10,000, which means that the policy will pay $10,000 toward your medical bills and lost wages even if you’re deemed to be at fault.
How the No Fault Law Works
Instead of immediately suing each other after a car accident, each driver will access their PIP benefits first. This will cover the insured’s medical bills and lost wages up to the amount of coverage that has been purchased on the policy. All drivers will have at least $10,000 in coverage, but drivers can purchase more insurance if they want to. If the medical bills exceed an insured’s coverage, the at-fault party can still be held liable for the uncovered amount.
For example, if the driver who is not at fault has $10,000 in PIP coverage and $5,000 in medical payments coverage, and incurs $25,000 in medical bills, their policy will cover 80% of the first $10,000 and an additional $5,000. The at-fault party will be responsible for 20% of the first $10,000 and the additional $10,000. However, if all medical bills are covered under the PIP and medical payments coverage, the at-fault party will owe nothing.
Injured Motorists Must See a Doctor Immediately
To access your PIP coverage, you must see a qualified medical professional within 14 days of your accident. Even if you don’t feel like you’re injured right after the collision, it’s still important to see a physician within this time frame to protect your PIP benefits. This is true for you as well as for any passengers in your vehicle, as the no-fault law applies to them as well. If you do not see a doctor immediately, you may not receive the benefits to which you’re entitled.
You’re already paying for this coverage, so it’s critical that you follow the proper steps to get your medical bills and lost wages paid. Remember that injuries from a car accident, particularly those to the back and neck may not be readily apparent right after the crash. You need to have these areas examined to determine whether an injury has occurred to preserve your PIP benefits.
Florida’s unique no-fault law means you can get your injuries properly cared for even if you are determined to be fully or partially at fault, but only if you see a doctor within two weeks of your accident. If you’re unsure where to start, see an attorney to learn how to protect your benefits.