Many of our clients are involved in car accidents when they are riding as passengers. Many of them are riding as passengers because they do not own a car of their own. People who don’t own cars often face challenges in getting their accident-related medical bills paid.
Under Florida law, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage is supposed to be primary coverage to pay medical bills for anyone who has been involved in a car crash - regardless of fault (this is why PIP coverage is also sometimes caused “No Fault” coverage.) PIP coverage is mandatory in Florida for every vehicle owner. Since most people who are involved in car crashes are injured in their own vehicle, most folks correctly turn to their own insurance company to pay their initial accident-related medical bills. Later, if their injuries are determined to be permanent or more serious, they may also be able to recover money damages from the at-fault driver - over and above what has been paid by their PIP carrier. There are multiple articles on this website referencing these kinds of claims (here, here, here, and here - to list just a few.)
Family Comes To The Rescue When We Need It Most
Things get more challenging when a person injured in a car accident doesn’t own their own car. For a person who does not own a car, we can often establish PIP coverage from a blood relative who owns a car (that is insured) and who lives with our client in the same household. Under Florida law, resident relatives of a PIP policy holder that do not own their own cars are entitled to PIP coverage from a relative who does own an (insured) car.
If an injured person does not own a car, and does not live with a resident relative who owns a car (and is insured), the injured person will usually then have to turn to the driver of the vehicle the injured person was traveling in at the time of the crash, in order to secure PIP coverage. In such an instance, the driver’s PIP carrier will often require the injured person to swear under oath that they do not own an operational vehicle, and that they do not live with a blood relative that does.
The At-Fault Driver Might Pay More Than He Bargained For
If an injured person does not own a car, does not live with a resident relative who owns a car, and if the driver of the vehicle the injured person was riding with does not have PIP, all is not lost. Under Florida law a person who meets this criteria can actually usually secure PIP coverage from the at-fault driver’s automobile insurance coverage. In these somewhat rare instances, out client might receive PIP payments as well as a personal injury settlement from the same insurance company.
$10,000.00 For Medical Bills Always Helps
PIP coverage is valuable because it pays 80% of the accident-related medical bills incurred by someone who has been injured in a car crash - up to a total of $10,000.00. Unlike other insurance designed to pay medical bills, only, PIP payments do not have to be reimbursed to an insurance company.
Once PIP coverage is set up, it usually works very well, with very little inconvenience to the injured person. However, it can be challenging establishing PIP coverage.
If you have any questions regarding establishing PIP coverage, or how PIP coverage works, please call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901.