Brandon Stein Personal Injury Lawyer Blog: PIP and Your Settlement

Brandon Stein

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!


Brandon Stein Law: Florida Lost Wage Claim Through PIP

Brandon Stein

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident, contact our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers today.

Being a Fort Myers personal injury lawyer that sues for car accidents, I frequently come across clients that use injuries from an accident as an excuse for not working.  In Florida, Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) benefits provide for compensation from your car insurance company for time missed from work due to a car accident.  According to Florida law, the insurance company may award 60% of the total lost wages as a result of the car accident.    However, these available PIP benefits may not and should not be used as a “get out of jail free card.”

While insurance companies in Florida are required to provide PIP benefits for injuries resulting from a car accident, Naples personal injury lawyers certainly understand that these benefits are not given out like Halloween candy.  This is especially the case when auto insurance companies are requested to cut checks for clients claiming lost wages from a car accident.  Insurance agencies such as Geico or State Farm employ specialized claims representatives to handle these PIP requests.

More times than not, when your North Miami Beach car accident lawyer calls the insurance company to inquire into your PIP claim, he or she would be transferred to a PIP adjuster.  These PIP adjusters evaluate every facet of the claim and especially value the medical notes from an injured client’s treatment.

When it comes to raising a claim for lost wages with your PIP insurance carrier, it is very important that your medical records indicate your inability to work.  Essentially, most, if not all, PIP adjusters will not even consider a lost wage claim unless they see language written in the medical record specifying that the injured person cannot work as a result of the car accident.  As a Coral Springs car accident lawyer, it makes my job extremely difficult, and quite frankly, impossible, to seek recovery for lost wages if this language is not included within a client’s medical record.  Ultimately, this language must indicate that the client injured from the car accident cannot work for a certain time period.

For example, I recently successfully resolved a car accident case where a client was injured and sought medical treatment immediately.  Unfortunately, my injured client was unable to work and sought to raise a lost wage claim with her PIP insurance carrier, State Farm, for her time missed from work.  Naturally, we had submitted the claim to State Farm.  With respect to this lost wage claim, I knew to include my client’s medical records that specified the time that she had missed work. Naturally, once State Farm received this information, no further questions were asked and a freshly cut check made payable to my client was sent to her attention immediately.

Long story short, without medical records supporting your lost wage claim, it nearly becomes impossible to prove and recover your lost wages as a result of the injuries from the car accident.

Injured in an accident?  Contact our Florida personal injury lawyers today.