Lawmakers Revive PIP Repeal Efforts
Efforts to repeal Florida’s no-fault car insurance system are once again under way. State Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, recently filed a bill that would replace the state’s personal injury protection (PIP) system with a requirement that motorists carry bodily injury coverage and medical payment coverage. This legislation is similar to the recent repeal-and-replace effort that died in May.
Another state lawmaker is taking a different approach to PIP repeal. Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, also wants to require bodily injury liability coverage but make medical payments coverage optional. Her proposal is also similar to one that was passed in the House last spring. It is yet to be seen whether the two legislative chambers can reach an agreement during the new legislative session.
The Current System
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that your auto insurance company will provide coverage for your medical bills, lost wages, and other related expenses up to the limit of your PIP policy, which all drivers are required to have. The minimum coverage is $10,000.
The PIP system was designed to reduce personal injury litigation. Drivers who would otherwise be legally responsible for accident-related damages are exempt from tort liability to the extent that the damages are covered by insurance. However, if an injured driver is eligible to seek damages for pain and suffering, he or she may file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party, but only if the plaintiff meets the serious injury threshold.
Under Florida law, car accident victims may recover damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish and inconvenience caused by bodily injury only if the injury consists (in whole or in part) of:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical certainty (this does not include minor scarring or disfigurement);
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; and/or
If your injury satisfies that criteria, you may file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party to recover damages for pain and suffering and other expenses not covered by your PIP insurance.
Earlier Repeal Attempts
The latest effort to replace the PIP insurance system died in May when the state Senate failed to act on a House-approved bill repealing the system.
The House voted to replace the current system with one requiring motorists to carry minimum bodily insurance coverage of $25,000 for injuries to another person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people. The Senate version included a provision creating a medical payment (called MedPay) coverage mandate of $5,000. But the Senate proposal was never considered by the entire chamber.
Contact Us for Professional Assistance
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact an Orlando personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation. We will determine whether you’re eligible to bring a personal injury lawsuit and help you receive the compensation that you deserve.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.