Does PIP Cover Lost Wages for a Car Accident?
When you’re trying to recover from your injuries and get back to “normal” life, the last thing you want to figure out is whether your insurance covers lost wages for a car accident. However, if you are facing medical bills and cannot physically work because of your injuries, you could use the help.
Knowing your rights regarding compensation after a car accident is always important. Insurance companies are typically more interested in their bottom line than in your recovery. The more you know about the losses you should be reimbursed for and your legal options in the event you need them, the better.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Orlando, it may be in your best interest to contact a lawyer to discuss your situation and ensure you are pursuing all the compensation you deserve. Call Colling Gilbert Wright at (407) 712-7300 today for a FREE consultation.
What Does PIP Cover in the State of Florida?
Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that no matter who is at fault in a car accident, each party involved will first rely on their own insurance to cover medical bills and lost wages. This insurance policy is called Personal Injury Protection (PIP).
Each Florida motor vehicle owner is required to purchase a PIP policy. The policy ensures that a percentage of medical expenses and lost wages are covered no matter who is responsible for the car accident. However, it also limits the victims of motor vehicle accidents’ “right to claim damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience.” (§ 627.731)
According to the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law § 627.736(a)(b)&(c), you are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 of PIP coverage. In the case of an accident, you are mandated:
- 80% of all reasonable medical expenses up to $10,000
- 60% of any loss of income or earning capacity up to $10,000
- $5,000 per individual in death benefits
Simply put, PIP does cover lost wages for a car accident in Florida. However, your compensation will only be 60% of your total lost wages up to a $10,000 limit. If this coverage isn’t going to cover your expenses comfortably, it could be in your best interest to contact a car accident lawyer.
Read More: Do I Need a Lawyer for my Car Crash?
How Does PIP Work?
Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is your first line of recovery after a Orlando car accident. Understanding how to use your PIP insurance in case of a car accident is essential. It will ensure you receive payment of your benefits for medical expenses and lost wages for a car accident in a timely manner.
Each car accident is different, requiring its own individual approach when it comes to compensation. Sometimes, your only recourse may be filing a claim with your PIP insurance.
How to proceed after a car accident in Florida:
1. Report the Accident to the Police
If the accident requires immediate medical assistance, call 911 and accept emergency treatment. If not, contact the police to report the accident.
Reporting your accident to the police is important for many reasons, the top two being (1) the police report will strengthen your claim, and (2) it is required by Florida Statute § 316.065.
You must report a car accident to law enforcement if:
- Injury or death occurred
- An intoxicated driver caused the accident
- It was a hit-and-run accident
- Property damage exceeds $500
2. Seek Medical Treatment
Seek medical treatment as soon as possible, even if it is not an emergency. PIP insurance requires that you seek medical treatment within 14 days of a car accident. Keep all relevant paperwork involving your injuries, treatment plans, and prescriptions.
In your initial exam with a medical provider, they will establish whether you have an emergency medical condition (EMC). An EMC, per § 627.732(16), constitutes “a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity…such that the absence of immediate medical attention could…result in any of the following:
(a) Serious jeopardy to patient health.
(b) Serious impairment to bodily functions.
(c) Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.”
If diagnosed with an EMC, you will be eligible for benefits up to $10,000. If not, you would only be eligible for benefits up to $2,500.
3. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Again, it is essential to report your accident promptly. PIP will be your first source of financial recovery. PIP requires that you report a claim within two weeks of an accident. The sooner you report, the smaller the risk of complications with your claim.
Remember to keep all relevant paperwork from law enforcement, medical providers, and insurance companies. This will be vital if you seek additional damages by other legal means.
Additionally, always follow your medical provider’s instructions, including not returning to work or activity before approval. This will make it easier for you when dealing with the insurance company. As kind as insurance adjusters can seem, they have their own interests in mind.
If you are concerned that you are not getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries or lost wages for a car accident, you should contact an attorney. They can ensure you maintain your eligibility for your PIP benefits and that every legal option for compensation is pursued.
How Can I Recover My Remaining Losses?
PIP insurance is mainly meant to cover minor injuries following a car accident. No-fault insurance, in general, is intended to limit the number of lawsuits following car accidents by taking care of medical expenses and lost wages automatically, no matter who is at fault.
Yet, PIP will not cover medical expenses or lost wages over $10,000 or medical treatment received more than 14 days after an accident. This means that if you have injuries that are “significant or permanent” or that surface later and you’ve used up your PIP insurance, you may need to seek compensation elsewhere.
You may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and/or their insurance company for your remaining medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. However, proving fault and comparative negligence will become factors in your suit.
How Can an Attorney Help You Seek Compensation for Your Medical Expenses & Lost Wages for a Car Accident in Orlando?
Trying to pursue just compensation in an no-fault state is complicated. The most important actions to take if you are injured in a car accident are to:
- Report the accident to law enforcement
- Act quickly to seek medical attention
- Report the accident to your insurance
- Keep all paperwork regarding the accident, your medical care, and your insurance
- Contact a capable car accident attorney
An experienced car accident lawyer can navigate the complexities of Florida’s Motor Vehicle No-Fault Laws to ensure that you receive just compensation for your injuries. If you’ve been in a car accident in Orlando and need someone to advocate for your rights, contact Colling Gilbert Wright. Let’s schedule a FREE case evaluation to ensure that all appropriate action is taken in your claim.