What is No Fault and what should I do if injured in an accident?
There are two or three insurance companies involved in most automobile accident personal injury claims. Different insurance companies provide different benefits for different things. In Florida as of the date of this writing, we are a No Fault state which means there is a state law requiring people who have a vehicle registered to them to provide security in the event their vehicle is involved in an accident. The form of that security is usually insurance, and is typically called "No Fault" or "PIP".
No Fault is part of the name of the law that requires the security and PIP stands for Person Injury Protection which is one of the coverages of your insurance policy that meets the requirement of the No Fault law. So even though you may hear the terms No Fault and PIP used interchangeably, they aren’t really the same thing.
So what is the No Fault law? When this law was first proposed and passed in Florida, the purpose was to expedite payments of medical bills, lost wages, and some other benefits to people who were injured in an automobile accident, and in exchange for that expedited service, people would not be allowed to make a claim for pain and suffering if their injury was not so significant as to be permanently disabling. Thus the law included a threshold issue of whether they injury were considered a permanent injury or not. Broken bones qualify, but so do permanent disabilities that you can’t easily see, such as a herniated spinal disc or a torn meniscus in your knee, two very common injuries that occur in many automobile accidents.
Many times people who are injured in an automobile accident do not immediately realize how serious their injuries are, are too traumatized to realize the seriousness of the injuries, and/or are in denial, hoping they will recover right away. This view is often perpetuated by emergency room physicians who diagnose a sprain and inform the patient there are no broken bones seen on the x-rays. While a sprain and no broken bones may be accurate, and it is possible the injuries sill abate quickly, doctors who specialize in treating patients with such injuries have advised me it is rare that there is no permanent disability. A sprain of one’s spine is often a very painful and permanent injury that may improve over time, but result in a permanent disability.
It is advisable to go to the emergency room immediately following an accident if you have any pain, and to follow up with a physician who specializes in treating automobile accident victims thereafter if you are still in pain, or if pain develops hours, days or even weeks later. A thorough examination by a competent doctor is important, and that is what PIP insurance is for. You can even be blamed later by the insurance company if you do not seek such an exam for "failure to mitigate damages", i.e. allowing it to get worse. The Higgins Law, LLC helps victims of automobile accidents get the care they need and receive compensation for pain and suffering and other losses that are in addition to simple payments of medical expenses. Know your rights. Call Higgins Law, LLC immediately when you’ve been injured in an accident..Please see other articles this firm has posted about other types of insurance, coverages, and the roles of insurance in automobile accidents, and call Higgins Law, LLC where we care about your legal rights, get you the compensation you deserve. Your peace of mind is our goal.