Understanding Personal Injury Protection – 14 days or lose it!
What is PIP?
Personal Injury Protection, or PIP is part of your car insurance contract with your insurance company. In some states PIP, also known as No-Fault Insurance is mandatory. PIP insurance will cover a portion of your medical expenses and lost wages regardless of whether you caused the accident or not.
How PIP works
14 days or lose it. Under Florida law anyone involved in an accident must seek medical treatment related to the accident within 14 days from the accident and can only seek treatment from certain licensed physicians.
What is troubling about this limitation is that some people do not immediately go to a doctor for treatment. Instead, they hope their pain will go away without treatment. For those who wait, they can lose valuable PIP benefits including payment for medical expenses and wage loss compensation.
Excluded from PIP are massage therapists and acupuncturists. Limitations now exist on the amount of compensation allowed to be received by Chiropractors is $2,500.
How much will PIP pay?
Depending upon your contract most PIP payments are limited to $10,000. In Florida you have the ability to have a deductible, at an amount you select. If you have a deductible then you will personally have to come out of pocket up to that deductible before PIP is responsible.
Notify your insurance company of the accident
One of the most important aspects of understanding personal injury protection is that in order to preserve your ability to collect PIP benefits it is imperative that you notify your insurance company and report the accident. A phone call and follow up email to the insurance company will remove any doubt that they were in fact notified.
PIP cannot tell you who you can see for treatment
One important thing to remember, while the insurance company may want to pick and choose who you see for treatment, they do not have the right to do so. PIP is different than many health insurance plans that have strict requirements on listed or approved healthcare providers. There is no requirement to wait, or seek permission from your automobile insurance company on which doctor you choose to see. Do not let the insurance company dictate whom you see for treatment.
How quickly do I get my benefits?
Under Florida law if you are eligible for PIP benefits, such as wage loss or medical payments the statute requires that the benefits be paid to you within 30 days after the insurance company receives written notice of the claim and amount. It is extremely important that notice provisions are complied with in order to receive the benefits you are entitled to.
In the event the insurance company denies payment on otherwise eligible claims you may be forced to put them on notice and later file a lawsuit to get benefits that should have been paid.
Does PIP apply in every situation?
No, limitations do exist on which type of injuries are covered by PIP. Certain types of injuries may be excluded from PIP coverage. Some examples include motorcyclists, vehicles used in mass transit, uninsured motor vehicles with relatives in the same household, intentional acts and injuries occurring during the commission of a felony.
However, even if PIP may be excluded that does not mean you do not have a potential claim. This is why it is important to allow an attorney to evaluate each situation and determine if other avenues of recovery exist.
What David & Philpot, PL, can do to help
We can help you navigate through the procedural steps in securing your PIP benefits. We will assist you in the notification process to your insurance company.
When we notify the insurance company of your claim we do so in a manner that will prevent the insurance company from claiming ignorance or otherwise and delay you the PIP benefits you are entitled to.
We will also assist you with completing the necessary PIP application. The PIP application has certain information that you must complete in order to satisfy your duty to cooperate with your insurance company regarding the claim. It is extremely important to be complete and accurate in filling out the PIP application which is why we help our clients through this process.
If you have been injured in a car accident contact us. We can help you preserve your PIP benefits and protect your claim.