Passenger Rights in Vehicle AccidentsOctober 20, 2017 | Category: Automobile Accidents, Personal Injury, Truck Accidents | Share
“What happens when you are a passenger in a vehicle, and there is a crash? Are your injuries covered by the driver's insurance? Usually. But determining whose insurance pays your medical bills and for your pain and suffering and lost wages can get complicated and best left to our expert attorneys at Fort Myers accident law firm who can assist you,” said Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.
One of the first questions is: What insurance is available?
There are several options available to passengers:
Bodily Liability Insurance (BLI)
All Florida drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection or PIP. Many drivers in Florida also carry BLI which would cover a passenger’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering if the driver is at fault. Passengers can also collect bodily injury coverage under the policy of the other vehicle if the other vehicle was either fully or partly at fault.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
By law, Florida drivers must purchase at least $10,000 in personal injury protection benefits and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) benefits. PIP covers the driver, family members, and individuals riding in the vehicle who do not own a registered vehicle for which they have PIP. Regardless of fault, if you, the passenger, have PIP coverage, payment for your injuries will come from your own PIP insurance policy.
In 2013, Florida passed the following reforms to the PIP system:
- Injured drivers and their passengers must seek initial medical treatment within 14 days of the incident.
- The type of treatment sought must reflect the extent of the injuries they have sustained.
- Where the injured person does not require emergency medical attention, the limit for medical care is $2,500 rather than the full $10,000 in PIP benefits.
What if drivers do not have PIP coverage?
It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle in Florida without PIP and PDL insurance, and violators can have their drivers’ licenses suspended.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)
Passengers can recover uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage under the driver’s policy, the passenger’s own policy, or a resident relative family member’s policy. It should be noted that drivers do not, by law, have to have UM/UIM insurance coverage, but insurance companies must offer this insurance when vehicle insurance is purchased. It is always important to maintain at least $100,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and make sure it is “stacking”. Never buy “non-stacking” UM/UIM coverage.
What Florida statute covers passenger law suits?
Florida’s auto insurance laws allow an injured passenger to bring suit for pain and suffering, disability, impairment, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life for permanent injuries.
Florida Statute §627.737(2) states:
In any action of tort brought against the owner, registrant, operator, or occupant of a motor vehicle or against any person or organization legally responsible for the acts or omissions, a Plaintiff may recover damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury, only if the following occurs:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
- Permanent injury, other than scarring or disfigurement.
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
Ft. Myers Accident Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.