If you have been injured in an auto accident, recovering your medical expenses, lost wages and other losses will most likely involve dealing with one or more insurance companies. Under Florida’s “no-fault” insurance law, a claim for a minor injury will most likely be covered under your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy. However, most people’s PIP policy limit is $10,000 (this is the minimum coverage required by law), and PIP only provides coverage for medical expenses and lost wages. If your financial losses exceed your PIP coverage, and if you are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, or other non-financial losses, you will need to determine what other sources of financial recovery you have available.
What Type(s) of Coverage Do You Have Available?
Despite the fact that Florida has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the nation, most personal injury claims for auto accidents are still resolved through insurance settlements. The three primary sources of compensation for auto accident victims are: (i) personal injury protection (PIP), (ii) bodily injury liability (BIL), and (iii) uninsured/uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage.
1. Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Personal injury protection is mandatory for all drivers in Florida. When you get injured in an auto accident, your PIP coverage pays a portion of your medical bills and lost income, up to your policy limit. PIP is “no-fault” insurance coverage, which means that your insurer is required to pay regardless of whether you or someone else was at fault in the accident.
2. Bodily Injury Liability (BIL)
Bodily injury liability insurance protects you in the event that you injure someone else. BIL insurance covers all accident-related losses (both financial and non-financial); however, it is only available in cases involving “permanent injuries” as defined by Florida law. If you were seriously injured in an accident caused by someone with BIL insurance, you may be able to file a fault-based claim to seek full compensation for your injuries.
3. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM)
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is insurance that you can buy to protect yourself in the event that either (i) you get hit by someone without BIL coverage, or (ii) you suffer losses in an accident that exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s BIL policy. Similar to a BIL claim, in order to file a successful UIM claim, you must be able to demonstrate that someone else was at fault in the collision. This could include demonstrating that another driver was:
- Speeding, or
- Otherwise negligent.
UIM coverage is optional in Florida. When you purchase UIM coverage, you also have the option to choose “stacking” coverage if you have more than one vehicle under your policy. With stacked UIM insurance, you can add together your policy limits for each vehicle in order to enhance your coverage for severe traumatic injuries resulting in substantial financial and non-financial losses.
Speak With a Crestview Auto Accident Lawyer for Free
If you have been injured in an auto accident in the Crestview, FL area and would like more information about the insurance coverage you may have available, you can contact our offices to schedule a free initial consultation. To speak with an experienced auto accident lawyer about your rights, please call (850) 682-2757 or request an appointment online today.