If you’ve never been involved in a significant car accident in the state of Florida, you may not know how the state’s auto insurance system works, and what it means for car accident victims.
As a top Florida car accident lawyer in Jacksonville, we often see people come into our office with many questions. They don’t understand how Florida’s unique PIP (personal injury protection) car insurance system affects what they can get to pay the bills, manage lost wages and cope with everything else after an injury.
Here’s the most basic fact that drivers have to understand – in the state of Florida, the only required injury insurance is $10,000 in what’s called Personal Injury Protection or PIP. Drivers can get on the road with PIP without getting additional insurance – but it’s really not recommended.
In the event of a crash, PIP pays an injury victim an amount up to that $10,000. But if the costs of the injury are higher than $10,000, all of the parties involved oten are back to the table trying to figure out a way to compensate the injury victim. The insurance company isn’t liable – so the at-fault driver is.
Now, a lot of people ask if $10,000 is really enough to pay for any significant injury. We believe that it’s not.
Just think about a whiplash injury. An injured driver may have an emergency room visit, follow up appointments with their primary care physician, then a with a spinal injury specialist that may recommend surgery or physical therapy and don’t forget about their lost wages. Even a relatively minor injury over time can easily exceed $10,000. Many experienced professionals feel like Florida’s required insurance has not kept up with the times, and doesn’t reflect today’s high costs of medical care. For proof, look at the estimated average car accident settlement in Florida – it’s around twice that amount!
In addition to PIP, Florida drivers can elect to get what’s called Bodily Injury or “BI” insurance. Many of these policies will cover liability for up to $100,000 or more of personal injury in the event of a crash.
Florida drivers can also get uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage so that they can collect for their injuries if they are hit by an uninsured driver or someone who only carries PIP. This is important because, given the average person’s lack of interest in reading through insurance policies, you can imagine that there are going to be high numbers of people, especially younger drivers, out on the road without additional BI coverage.
It’s important that Florida drivers think about getting these extras because they really pay off if there’s an accident. Not getting bodily injury coverage is like drivers in other states who elect limited tort instead of full tort coverage – it leaves gaps in the ability to collect if an accident happens.
If you have any questions about an accident injury, call the offices of Florida car accident lawyer Steve Watrel. Our experienced Jacksonville car accident attorneys will go to bat for you and help you get access to justice under Florida law.