Whose Auto Insurance Pays for a Passenger's Injuries?

man with hurt neck right after accident

You have likely heard that Florida is a “No-Fault” insurance state, which it is. But, do you understand how that impacts you as a passenger who was injured in an auto accident?

Florida is one of ten states that mandate personal injury protection, or PIP coverage, as the type of insurance required for all owners of motor vehicles registered in the state. This component of auto insurance was designed to provide coverage of medical expenses, and sometimes lost wages, regardless of who was at fault for an accident. Also called “Florida No Fault Insurance,” drivers of a vehicle and certain passengers have up to $10,000 of PIP medical coverage available without having to establish fault and/or liability through a civil or tort claim.

PIP Coverage Is Required for All Vehicle Owners

Since Florida requires all owners of registered vehicles with four wheels or more to purchase PIP protection, each individual goes to his or her own auto insurance carrier to collect for their injuries following a car crash, regardless of who caused the accident. Exceptions to this can include PIP coverage for a passenger that is a minor, as well as members of your household and certain passengers who do not own a car. Moreover, your PIP insurance covers you as a passenger in someone else's vehicle, as a pedestrian in an auto accident, and as a bicyclist who suffered injuries in a collision. No fault insurance payments for medical injuries may also include unique situations, such as a child injured riding the bus to school or personal injuries from acts of violence following a carjacking.

Medical Service Providers under Florida PIP Law

Florida statute on PIP law requires that initial care and medical services for injuries must be provided within 14 days following an auto accident. PIP-approved providers of medical services include emergency medical personnel, medical doctors (MD), doctors of osteopathic medicine (DO), doctors of chiropractic medicine (DC), dentists, hospitals, and facilities owned by a hospital. If the medical costs associated with a passenger's injuries exceed the policy's maximum payout and no extended PIP, additional PIP, or broadened PIP coverage exists, an injured passenger may have to seek compensation from an at-fault defendant(s) through a tort action.

Although pinpointing a fault in a single-vehicle auto accident is fairly simple; in Florida, determining who is responsible for a multiple vehicle crash can be challenging. For Florida residents who own or operate a vehicle in the sunshine state, understanding PIP law and the process of submitting a personal injury protection claim can be important when seeking financial compensation. If you are injured as a passenger in a non-family-owned vehicle, it is prudent to seek legal counsel in a timely manner to protect your rights for payment of medical services associated with your injuries. To speak directly with a Florida personal injury attorney, contact the Law Offices of Schackow & Mercadante at 352-335-2272.