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Florida Lawmakers Reconsider Personal Injury Protection Insurance

car keysCar accidents are the leading cause of death and serious injuries in Florida. Unfortunately, these accidents are commonplace and can happen to anyone at any time. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a car accident, you need to speak to a skilled Miami auto accident attorney who can analyze your case. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we can examine what happened at the time of your accident and figure out all of your options, including which insurance claims you may be able to make.

During the upcoming legislative session, the Florida senate will determine the merits of repealing Florida’s requirement for drivers to carry personal-injury-protection (PIP) insurance. For a long time, PIP has been mandatory for Florida drivers and is a facet of car insurance that covers medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Every driver is required to carry at least $10,000 in coverage. The policy is designed to limit lawsuits from auto accidents. Florida is one of 10 states to require drivers to carry PIP insurance.

When you get into a car accident in Florida, you have to file a claim with your own PIP insurance for your injuries resulting from the accident. However, if the injuries are severe and permanent, you can file a claim against the other driver and, in some cases, a lawsuit. Auto accident lawsuits are rooted in the theory of negligence. Negligence occurs when a person causes an accident and resulting injuries due to carelessness, recklessness, or misconduct behind the wheel. Put simply, when a driver causes an accident because he or she failed to act as a reasonably prudent driver would have acted in the same or similar circumstances, that driver will likely be liable.

For personal injury claims, there is a strict time frame in which a case must be filed, known as the statute of limitations. In Florida, a person has four years from the day of the accident to file a claim. A failure to file within this time could mean losing your right to compensation altogether.

Now, Sen. Tom Lee (R-Thonotassa) is sponsoring SB 150, which would repeal the no-fault rule requiring motorists to carry $10,000 worth of PIP coverage. Instead, the bill would only require motorists to carry $5,000 in medical payment and bodily injury coverage after an accident. The minimum amounts of bodily injury coverage would increase over time. If the bill passes, motorists could save $80 a year on car insurance.

There are concerns that the proposal could result in higher premiums, especially for inner-city residents in minority communities that rely upon PIP for their only coverage, and would increase litigation. Sharing these concerns, Michael Carlson, President of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, opposes the bill.

“No fault” insurance laws make Florida personal injury claims complicated, since you have to go through your own insurance company first. In addition, there is sometimes confusion as to when an injury is serious enough to go outside PIP law and warrant a lawsuit. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, we can help. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we understand how to navigate these complex claims. For more information, call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or reach out to us online.

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