P.I.P., BODILY INJURY LIABILITY, UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE
On behalf of Eisenmenger, Robinson & Peters, P.A. posted in Bodily Injury Liability on Friday, August 22, 2014.
Insurance premiums are paid by most families to insure their automobiles. If we ask those paying the premiums what they are buying for their hard-earned dollars, most will respond “full coverage.” Yet, if asked what that means, most of them are unable to say.
Automobile insurance policies in Florida are complex contracts issued by insurance companies and regulated by the State of Florida Department of Insurance. The policies are not easy to read. Many clients never bother to read or review the policy terms until they or a family member are involved in a collision.
In Florida there are three types of insurance coverage that pertain to a personal injury arising from the use or maintenance of an automobile.
Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P.) is the first type of coverage. To be a legal driver in Florida you are required to have P.I.P. coverage and property damage liability coverage. P.I.P. coverage pays benefits to someone injured in an automobile collision regardless of who is at fault for the wreck. If you seek care for an emergency medical condition from a qualified healthcare provider within fourteen (14) days of the collision, P.I.P. pays 80% of your medical expenses up to $10,000.00. P.I.P. coverage also pays 60% of lost wages up to the same total of $10,000.00. This $10,000.00 combined limit can be quickly eaten up by the initial emergency room visit and diagnostic testing such as MRI scans or CT scans.
Insureds can also buy med pay coverage from their insurer to cover the 20% not covered by basic P.I.P. Additional P.I.P. insurance is very expensive if you compare benefits offered to premium dollars spent. It is the first line of payment when you are injured in a motor vehicle collision. If you have health insurance, you may have better benefits for less money than if you buy additional P.I.P. or med pay coverage.
Bodily Injury Liability
Bodily injury liability coverage provides protection to you and your assets if you cause or contribute to a motor vehicle collision that injures another person. In addition to paying for damages you caused, this coverage will require the insurer to pay your attorneys fees and litigation costs if you are sued. The insurance company gets to pick your attorneys. Many insurers use their own attorneys who are employees of the insurance company. If the collision you are involved in causes serious injury or death, we are frequently hired as private counsel to make sure your insurance company is acting in your best interest. When an insurance company fails to recognize their fiduciary duty to protect their insured they may be guilty of bad faith. When an insurance company acts in bad faith, they may be liable to pay more than the limits set forth in the policy.
Many motor vehicle collisions are caused by drivers with a bad driving record, history of driving while impaired, or a suspended license. These irresponsible drivers may not have insurance, cannot afford the high premiums they would be charged, or are uninsurable. The most important coverage you can buy to protect yourself and your family from the worst drivers is underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. You can waive this coverage or buy it in a lesser amount than your bodily injury liability coverage. Do not do either. Buy as much U.M. coverage as your family budget will allow. The bad drivers who have little or no insurance cause the most frequent and most harmful wrecks. If you are in a collision with one of these drivers, the only avenue you will have to be paid for the harm they cause, is often, by your own U.M. coverage.
When you are injured in a collision, the insurance companies are not “good neighbors.” They do not have “good hands” and are not cute “lizards.” They will do what they can to pay the least they can. We can help you and your family.