Who Needs Personal Injury Protection?
Even though the state of Florida has some common minimum security requirements in place for vehicles, not every vehicle is necessarily mandated to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. The law governing this, which was most recently amended in 2007, contains the details related to who must carry PIP and what situations are exempted from this requirement. Those who are required to comply with PIP coverage but do not face penalties. PIP coverage becomes important in the wake of a Lake City car accident.
Every person who owns or has registered a motor vehicle (outside of taxis, school busses, and limousines) must have PIP coverage in effect continuously. This coverage must remain in effect for the duration of the licensing or registration period. PIP coverage allows any person injured to seek compensation from their own Insurer (insurance company) for certain losses, such as, medical expenses, death benefit, and lost income suffered from an automobile or car accident. The total an injured person may seek from their Insurer is ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00). Any amounts, in excess of $10,000.00, necessary to make the injured person whole may be recovered from the at-fault driver.
It's important to understand what it means to be an owner of a motor vehicle in the sense that ownership requires PIP coverage. Florida Statute 627.733 (1) outlines what is considered an owner. Courts have upheld that the name on the title is not the “litmus test” by which vehicle ownership should be solely determined.
Taxis, Busses, and Limousines
As mentioned above, these types of vehicles are explicitly stated in the statutes as not being required to have PIP insurance, because they are known as vehicles for hire. Usually, these vehicles are already bonded or insured under a separate system. Determining whether a vehicle falls into this exemption or whether it should actually be considered a motor vehicle as interpreted in these statutes has to do with the used definition of a motor vehicle itself:
“Any self-propelled vehicle with four or more wheels which is of a type both designed and required to be licensed for use on the highways of this state and any trailer or semi-trailer or semi-truck designed for use with such vehicle and includes:
- Private passenger motor vehicles like sedans, station wagons, or jeep vehicles. If the vehicle is not being used for business or professional purposes, this definition also includes motor homes, campers, and vans.
- Commercial motor vehicles, encompassing all vehicles outside the scope of the private passenger vehicle definition
Vehicles meeting this definition must carry $10,000 in minimum property damage coverage. If a person fails to obtain this coverage where it should have been in place, the individual is considered “self-insured” with regard to PIP coverage.
Penalties for Non-Compliance
Not maintaining PIP coverage means that a person could be held personally liable for benefit payments in the state of Florida. This individual would be seen to have all the “rights and responsibilities” of an insurer. If the uninsured vehicle is in an accident, the uninsured person may be held responsible for the $10,000 PIP threshold in addition to any other insurer obligations. An individual who foregoes this coverage may be exposing himself or herself to serious risk in the form of liabilities, and will not have any immunity from tort liability. A vehicle owner should be completely sure that his or her vehicle is not required to have PIP coverage before hitting the road without PIP in place.
If you have questions concerning your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or at-fault coveragecontact us at Koberlein Law Offices, PLLC and we will answer your questions free of charge.