Thousands of car accidents and motor vehicle accidents occur on Florida’s roadways annually. Unfortunately, many of these accidents leave car accident victims with serious, significant, and permanent injuries as a result of the negligence of another driver.
Auto Trial Law Firm – Corless Barfield Trial Group
In addition to the stress, pain, medical care and medical treatment, injuries may limit working which causes an unexpected financial strain from the inability to earn income and pay mounting medical expenses. The victim is often in need of repairs to or replacement of the vehicle and a rental car to drive.
Further, the car accident often leaves a victim attempting to navigate the maze of car insurance coverage and car insurance companies. From statements to medical documents, the insurance company is looking for a way to deny the claim or seriously undervalue the claim.
If you are injured by the negligence of another motorist, you may be entitled to a recovery against the at-fault vehicle’s driver and owner. You may have valuable car insurance coverage that you pay for every month to potentially protect you in an unfortunate accident. It is important that you contact an attorney immediately and do not speak with car insurance companies prior to seeking legal advice.
BE PREPARED IN ADVANCE
Purchasing automobile insurance in Florida can be confusing. Car Insurance companies provide a variety of different coverage options that may be purchased for protection if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident.
These are the four most significant types of insurance coverage offered by Florida car insurance companies: Bodily Injury Liability Coverage (BI), Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM), No Fault / Personal Injury Protection (PIP), and Medical Payments Coverage (Med Pay).
At Corless Barfield Trial Group, we will help you, the Florida driver, stay informed on what car insurance companies are offering and what the specific coverage options do for you.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage (BI)
According to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Bodily Injury Liability Coverage, also known as BI, “pays for death or serious and permanent injury to others when you are legally liable for those damages. If an insured is sued, the insurer will provide legal representation.”
Basically, if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident because of the negligence of another driver, expect the insurance company to dispute your claim and fight “tooth and nail” against your claim for injuries and damages.
If you are the one at fault causing injury to another individual and have BI, your car insurance company will defend you against claims made by the injured individual against you.
In either scenario, claims may include past medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Uninsured / Under-insured Motorist Coverage (UM)
Florida has one of the highest numbers of uninsured drivers in the United States, and the state does not require you to carry bodily injury liability coverage. Protect yourself from accidents that are not your fault when the at-fault party does not have insurance.
What is bodily injury liability coverage? It is insurance coverage that a driver may carry to protect himself/herself from an injury claim made against them if they are at fault for a car accident and injure you in the accident. Remember, Florida does not require its drivers to carry this type of insurance. Florida only requires drivers to carry the no fault / personal injury protection insurance (PIP).
What is Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage? Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist coverage protects you if you are injured in a car accident that is not your fault and the at-fault party does not have car insurance or does not have enough coverage to compensate you for your injuries and damages.
When purchasing car insurance, your car insurance company is required to provide you with Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist coverage unless the insured named in the policy (you or anyone else named on your insurance policy) makes a written rejection of the coverage on behalf of all insureds under the policy. However, many Florida drivers have rejected this coverage and do not remember doing it. Please check your policy. If you do not have this coverage, contact your car insurance company immediately and ask that Uninsured / Underinsured motorist coverage be added to your policy.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) / Florida No Fault
Personal Injury Protection Automobile Insurance (PIP) is a type of car insurance that all motorists in the State of Florida are required to carry on their automobile. The purpose of PIP is to provide medical coverage to individuals injured in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of fault – also commonly known as “no fault.”
An individual seeking medical benefits under their PIP / Florida No Fault car insurance coverage must seek initial medical care within fourteen (14) days after the motor vehicle accident. This initial medical care is only reimbursable if it is provided by a licensed physician, licensed osteopathic physician, licensed chiropractic physician, licensed dentist, or rendered in a hospital, a facility that owns or is owned by a hospital, or a licensed emergency transportation and treatment provider. Follow up medical care requires a referral from one of the listed providers and must be consistent with the underlying diagnosis provided when you received your initial medical care.
You may receive benefits up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) if your injury from the motor vehicle accident is determined to be an emergency medical condition. An emergency medical condition is defined as, “a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to patient health, serious impairment to bodily functions, or serious dysfunction of a body organ or part.”
I you are not diagnosed with an emergency medical condition, your PIP benefit limit is only two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500).
So, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and believe you were injured from the accident, you should seek medical care (from one of the above mentioned providers) and seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you fail to do so and you are injured from a motor vehicle accident, you may lose valuable automobile insurance benefits.
Medical Payments Coverage (Med Pay)
According to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Medical Payments Coverage, also known as Med Pay, “pays reasonable expenses for necessary medical and funeral services due to a bodily injury or death sustained in an automobile accident, regardless of fault.”
If you are involved in an automobile accident, sustain injuries, and carry Medical Payments Coverage (Med Pay) your car insurance company will pay for your reasonable medical expenses up to your Med Pay Coverage limits. These payments are made “regardless of fault” – meaning payments are made if you are at fault for the motor vehicle accident or someone else is at fault.
If you are wondering, “doesn’t my PIP / No Fault Insurance pay my medical bills regardless of fault?” The answer is yes, however, PIP / No Fault Insurance only pays eighty percent (80%) of your medical expenses up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500). Depending on your Med Pay Coverage limits, it will pay the twenty percent (20%) of your reasonable medical expenses not covered by your PIP / No Fault Insurance. In addition, if you have sufficient coverage limits, Med Pay will pay any additional reasonable medical expenses above the amount paid by your PIP / No Fault Insurance, up to Med Pay policy limits.