Personal Injury Protection vs. Bodily Injury Liability
According to Florida law, drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage. PIP covers up to $10,000 of your own medical bills in an accident. Florida is a no-fault state; meaning that “fault” in an accident does not matter. The problem with Florida’s no-fault law and mandatory PIP is that many Florida drivers are left with remaining medical bills that were not covered under the $10,000 of insurance coverage. They are then forced to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation. Bodily Injury (BI) coverage not only protects you in an accident, but it protects others who are involved in the accident as well. If you are at-fault in an accident, BI can also protect you from being sued for damages in an accident, because the coverage will pay for the damages you have caused. BI covers the injured party’s medical bills, both past and future, lost wages due to missed work and pain and suffering.
In most states that have bodily injury protection, there is a limit per accident, which will read in a way such as $100,000/$300,000. This means that if you are in an accident, your bodily injury liability insurance will compensate each person involved up to $100,000 in medical bills, lost wages, etc., but it will only cover up to $300,000 per accident. Unfortunately, if the damages you have caused exceed the latter amount, you can be sued for additional compensation by the other drivers and passengers involved in the accident. Each state that requires mandatory BI protection has a set amount that each driver must carry a minimum of, however some drivers choose to carry a higher rate of coverage to protect themselves from lawsuits in the future.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP), on the other hand covers only your own medical bills and other damages. PIP was designed as a way to speed up the process of each driver involved in an accident receiving their compensation. However, it has actually slowed the process down. Few drivers in Florida carry a higher rate of insurance than the $10,000 minimum that is required. Also, few drivers in Florida who are involved in an accident suffer damages that are within that $10,000. Therefore, the one thing that PIP has done is increase the amount of personal injury lawsuits filed.
PIP pays for 80 percent of medical-related expenses, 60 percent of lost wages and 100 percent of replacement services needed, such as childcare. It also pays up to $5,000 for death benefits. If Florida drivers do not have the means to be financially responsible for $10,000 in damages, they are encouraged to obtain BI protection in addition to their PIP insurance coverage. Very few Florida drivers add any other protection to their insurance coverage, with the hopes that they will not be involved in a car accident.