PIP Repeal Efforts Fail Again
The latest attempt to repeal the state’s no-fault car insurance system recently died in a Senate subcommittee.
Florida is one of only two states that doesn’t require car owners to purchase bodily injury and property damage coverage. Lawmakers have tried unsuccessfully for years to replace the personal injury protection (PIP) system with a requirement that motorists carry bodily injury coverage. A companion bill made it through the Florida House of Representatives, but the Senate version, which includes a medical payment coverage provision not contained in the House version, failed to garner enough support.
While the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Appropriations Committee rejected the bill, Committee chair Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami), moved to temporarily postpone it. This means the subcommittee could vote on the legislation again, although that appears unlikely to happen.
A major hangup in passing PIP repeal is disagreement over medical payment coverage, as evidenced by earlier efforts to replace the PIP insurance system. A reform bill made it through the House then, too, but the Senate proposal was never considered by the entire chamber. That Senate version also included a provision called MedPay, a medical payment coverage mandate.
It’s unclear whether a Senate version that didn’t include the MedPay provision would make it out of committee.
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. Car owners may purchase policies with additional coverage.
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, injured drivers who are eligible to seek damages for pain and suffering 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 meets 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.
Contact Us for Today for Assistance
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact an Miami 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, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.