Ask Kathryn: Bicycle Accident in Florida – Why do I have to use my own PIP coverage?

Florida PIP Insurance Coverage

Dear Kathryn,

I was injured in a bicycle vs. automobile accident. I was riding my bicycle when a motorist caused the accident and struck me. Now my auto insurance carrier is saying I have to go through my own coverage, I don’t understand why my auto insurance coverage has to be involved when my car wasn’t even involved in this accident! Why can’t the at fault driver’s insurance carrier just pay for all of my bills since the at fault driver caused the accident?

– Signed Bicyclist in Belleair Beach.

Dear Bicyclist in Belleair Beach:

Many people who have been injured in automobile, and even bicycle accidents, in Florida are surprised to learn that they have to use their own insurance after an accident even if the accident wasn’t their fault. Florida is a "No Fault" state which means that a person’s own auto insurance applies regardless of fault. All auto insurance policies in Florida are required to include at least $10,000.00 in PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage. Typically, PIP covers 80% of the medical bills incurred after an accident up to the $10,000.00 policy limits; there are PIP deductibles and Med Pay also available which can alter the PIP coverage in that if there is a deductible then the amount of the deductible is not paid until the deductible is met and then PIP kicks in and the Med Pay works to fill in the part that is not covered by PIP.

PIP covers not only residents of Florida who own motor vehicles and are required to carry PIP coverage, it also covers a person when they are in another’s vehicle and covers a person while outside a motor vehicle and injured by a motor vehicle. For example, I had a client who was watching tv in his living room and sitting on his couch, a truck drove off the road right into my client’s house and hit him while he was sitting on his couch! He was covered by his own PIP coverage (and then we made a claim against that crazy driver who drove right into his house!). PIP also covers resident relatives who lived with the PIP insured while they are driving the insured’s car and while they are passengers in any vehicle and while they are pedestrians and injured by a motor vehicle. PIP can also cover pedestrians who are hit by the insured vehicle and who do not have PIP coverage of their own. A key factor in all of these scenarios is that an injury was caused by contact with a motor vehicle.

While PIP is primary after an accident, if you have suffered permanent injuries as a result of the accident, then you can still make a claim against the at fault driver for the unpaid portion of your past medical bills not covered by PIP, your future medical bills, your past and future pain and suffering damages, your spouse’s loss of consortium claim, your unpaid past and future lost wages, and any other damages that you may have suffered. Remember, there is a four year statute of limitations for actions arising in negligence (like car accidents) in Florida and that statutes vary and can be as short as one year, so it is important to act quickly after an accident to protect your rights.

I hope information helps. Let me know if I can answer any other questions you may have about Auto Accidents or Car Insurance in Florida.

For more information or a free consultation on your legal issue contact The Law Offices of Charles D. Scott PLLC, your injury law and family law attorneys, at 727-300-4878. http://www.yourstpetelawyers.com

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