What are your legal rights if you were injured in a car accident in Miami? If you are facing expensive medical bills or are unable to work as a result of your injury, this is an important question, and it is one that you need to have answered as soon as possible.
In most states, when you get injured in an accident, you have the right to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. But, in Florida, this is not always the case. Under Florida’s “no-fault” insurance law, some accident victims are limited to seeking coverage under their own auto insurance policies.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) vs. Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) Insurance Coverage
In Florida, there are two primary forms of auto insurance that cover accident-related injuries. These are: (1) personal injury protection (PIP), and (2) bodily injury liability (BIL).
Personal Injury Protection (PIP): No-Fault Insurance Coverage
Personal injury protection is insurance that you pay to cover your own medical expenses and loss of income in the event of a crash. This is “no-fault” insurance under Florida law, which means that your insurance company must pay regardless of who caused the accident. Under the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law, all drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage. Unfortunately, while the law is intended to make it easy for all accident victims to receive at least some compensation for their accident-related injuries, most accident victims will find it difficult to collect the compensation they deserve.
Bodily Injury Liability (BIL): Fault-Based Coverage for Serious and Permanent Injuries
If your PIP coverage is not enough to cover your accident-related losses (which will often be the case), then your next option is to file a claim against the other driver’s bodily injury liability policy. However, in Florida, BIL coverage is only available to individuals who have suffered:
- “Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.”
- “Permanent injury with a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.”
- “Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.”
In order to determine whether you have a fault-based claim for compensation, it is critical that you see a doctor as soon as possible. Once you receive a diagnosis, you should meet with an experienced auto accident attorney to find out if your injury meets the requirements for filing a BIL claim under Florida law. If you have a BIL claim, in addition to recovering compensation for your medical expenses and loss of income, you can also seek financial compensation for:
- Lost future earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of society, support, companionship, consortium and enjoyment of life
What if the Driver Who Hit You is Uninsured or Underinsured?
What if your losses exceed your PIP coverage, but the driver who hit you is uninsured? Or, what if his or her BIL coverage isn’t enough to fully compensate you for your financial and non-financial losses? In this scenario, you will need to determine if you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage under your policy (unlike PIP, UM coverage is not mandatory under Florida law). If you have UM coverage, then you can file a fault-based claim against your own insurance company, and your insurance company will process your UM claim as if it were the uninsured driver’s insurer. This means that you can recover full compensation (up to your policy limit). However, in order to do so, you will need to prove both: (1) that someone else was at fault in the accident; and, (2) the extent of your physical, psychological and financial harm.
Speak with a Miami Car Accident Lawyer for Free
If you have been injured in an accident, are you entitled to file a claim against another driver’s BIL insurance policy? Or, are you limited to recovering through PIP? Do you have other options available for securing compensation? To find out, schedule an appointment at Miami Legal Firm. For a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney, call (305) 265-2266 or tell us how we can help online.