You should know that Florida is a "no fault" state. What this means to you is that your automobile personal injury protection (PIP) benefits will have to pay for your medical costs resulting from an automobile collision. Most people tend to have the opinion that if the collision was not their fault then their insurance should not have to pay. Most think that the person at fault should have to pay the medical costs from their insurance. But, unfortunately while we understand this opinion, we have to inform you that Florida Law is not written that way. The person who was at fault is not required to have their automobile insurance pay any of your medical bills unless you have a permanent injury. Should you have a permanent injury you would then file what is known as a liability claim against the other drivers insurance. While this can be very frustrating, we do understand how you feel. We have extensive experience with automobile injuries and specialize in the treatment of those injuries. We work with numerous attorneys in the area to help you properly handle an automobile claim. You not only need a physician who can assess, diagnose, and treat your condition properly, but you need a physician who can also give expert court testimony should this become necessary. For those who do not know how automobile insurance works: Your personal injury benefits (PIP), a limit of $10,000.00, pays 80% of your medical bills. What is known as "med pay" (medical payments) will pay the other 20% of your medical bills. Med pay is a very low cost insurance. Most insurance agents do not try to sell this to you because it is such a low cost to you and requires the insurance company to pay additional towards your medical bills. Once your PIP benefits are maxed out (paid to the limit of the benefits) your med pay then picks up 100% of your charges. You should also try to buy a policy that does not have a deductible since you are personally responsible for paying the deductible. For example, if you have a $1000.00 deductible you are responsible for paying the first $1000.00 out of your own pocket. You should evaluate the cost of your insurance without a deductible since in most cases it does not make a lot of difference in your premium. NOTE: You are still required to carry $10,000.00 in basic PIP insurance. However, effective January 1, 2013 the law was changed to state the following: You only have 14 days to see evaluation by a medical provider or you will be denied use of your PIP benefits. A medical doctor must state that you have "an emergency medical condition" in writing in order to use the full $10,000.00 in PIP benefits.
If no medical doctor states an emergency medical condition exists you will be limited to only the use of $2500.00 of your $10,000.00 PIP benefits. You should seek evaluation as soon as possible. We all know that Florida Law requires every driver to carry insurance, but many drivers do not. Given this fact, you can also buy what is known as "uninsured motorist" insurance which is also a low cost insurance. Uninsured motorist insurance will protect you if the other driver is not insured. Should you be involved in a vehicular collision with someone who is not insured you can then come back and make a claim against your own uninsured motorist policy. This will also keep you from having to pay more out of your own pocket. *NOTE* You should immediately report any collision and or injury to your automobile insurance carrier. The first three days after an injury is the most crucial time. So even though you may not have immediate symptoms, you should have your spine evaluated. Even a low impact collision can cause extensive injury to the spine and soft tissues and a lot of times you may not feel the symptoms immediately. Some people experience this and do not have symptoms for 30 days, or even as long as six months. So it is very important to be evaluated immediately. Even if you do not feel any symptoms, you still have the right to be evaluated and your PIP benefits will cover the cost of the evaluation.