By: Brandon Stein
If you or someone you know was hurt or injured in an accident, contact our Fort Lauderdale car crash attorneys today.
As a personal injury lawyer in South Florida that helps those injured in car accidents, there is always one aspect to the case that my clients have a difficult time grasping. While laws surrounding automobile insurance coverage vary from state to state, in Florida, car accident attorneys must have a wealth of knowledge related to Personal Injury Protection or PIP for short.
Essentially, PIP coverage provides up to $10,000 of benefits to those injured in car accidents. For those living in Florida, it is extremely difficult to listen to the radio or watch television without hearing an advertisement guaranteeing $10,000 if you are injured in a car accident. Unfortunately, many Floridians take this type of advertisement at its word and fail to recognize that the entire story is not being told.
What Florida car drivers fail to recognize is that these attorney advertisements rarely inform the prospective clients that the $10,000 PIP benefits typically only applies to medical expenses, lost wages, and other limited reimbursable expenses. Thus, if you are injured, you are not automatically entitled to $10,000 in your pocket. In fact, when a North Miami Beach lawyer attempts to settle a car crash case, that $10,000 PIP benefit affects the personal injury claim as well.
When a person is injured in a car crash and retains a South Florida lawyer, the ultimate goal is maximizing the settlement and total recovery for the client. However, those injured in car accidents rarely understand PIP law and how it affects their personal injury settlement. In fact, most attorneys do not even understand PIP law due to its constant change. And when it comes to a bodily injury settlement, insurance companies always take into account the $10,000 PIP “set-off.”
In essence, if a car accident claim is valued by a Florida lawyer to be worth $15,000, then it must be made clear to the client that the total bodily injury settlement will not be $15,000. After the $10,000 “set-off” is applied, the total bodily injury settlement that the client sees at the end of a case is a mere $5,000. Yet, in reality, the settlement can be viewed as a $15,000 settlement assuming that the client received the necessary medical treatment which incurred bills up to $10,000.
This PIP “set-off” applies at any point in the litigation — whether it be at settlement before a lawsuit is filed by a Fort Myers personal injury lawyer, or upon reaching a verdict in a Miami, Florida courtroom. The key is education. A client injured in a car accident must be sufficiently educated in this area, so as to prevent skepticism and venom directed back from the client. Ultimately, regardless as to the total bodily injury settlement reached in Florida, it is vital to tell your client that $10,000 must be added to the top to reach the true value of the claim.
Injured? Contact our Pembroke Pines accident lawyers today!