Frequently Asked Questions
How much is hiring an attorney going to Cost me?
“Don’t Pay Until You Win” Every prospective client receives a FREE CONSULTATION with no charge or obligation. The Law Office of Zachary Von Roenn handles cases on a contingency fee. You, the client, only pay any attorney fees if there is a recovery by settlement or verdict in your case.
What is the florida "no fault" law?
More than any industry, Insurance Companies keep their customers in the dark concerning the product they sell. Most people do not know what type of insurance they carry, what levels of coverage they have, or when and how their insurance will cover them. Florida joins roughly a dozen other states in what is known as No Fault.
The No Fault provision requires that Insurance Companies provide a certain level of coverage for their insured if they are involved in an automobile accident, regardless of fault. In exchange, a victim of an auto-accident can only bring a claim against an at-fault party if they have sustained a permanent injury. The Insurance Companies’ mandatory coverage of their own insured is called Personal Injury Protection or simply PIP. For more information concerning this, please contact the Law Office of Zachary Von Roenn.
WHO WILL PAY YOUR MEDICAL BILLS?
Besides being injured and having damage to your property, an auto-accident can put you in a position of financial hardship. An ambulance ride, ER visit, X-rays and follow-up appointments can quickly add up to thousands of dollars of medical bills. Who is responsible? Who will pay? Keep reading for a better understanding of Florida personal injury protection law.
If you qualify for Personal Injury Protection (PIP), the PIP carrier will cover 80% of any and all medical expenses related to injuries sustained in the accident up to $10,000. Medical providers will submit bills to the PIP carrier (typically your insurance company), and will be paid directly on 80% of the balance. Once the insurance company has paid $10,000 in benefits, it will consider your PIP coverage to be “exhausted”. This does not mean that you cannot still treat with a doctor.
Who pays for the balance of the bills? Because PIP will only pay 80% of any medical bill, it will leave the remainder of the bill your responsibility. These outstanding balances constitute “out-of-pocket expenses”, which can be claimed as damages against the at-fault party. There may be other forms of coverage available to cover the remaining balance including Health Insurance, Medical Payment Auto Coverage, Medicaid or Medicare.
In virtually all cases, an attorney can work on your case to ensure your recovery is full. You can be sure that those representing the negligent party—usually an insurance company—will be lawyers working to pay out as little as possible. The calculations made by the opposing attorneys are based in large part on how aggressive they feel the injured party will fight for full compensation for the harm caused.
When you retain the services of the Law Office of Zachary Von Roenn, you are essentially ensuring that you are not taken advantage of by the other side. Your lawyer should be experienced in these matters, so that very specific information can be gathered to ensure all of your damages are accounted for by the other side. If the other side is not cooperating, the attorney must be prepared to take the case to court to ensure full and fair recovery. Knowing that you are willing to go as far as necessary to ensure justice by obtaining legal counsel often means that the opposing side will deal more reasonably right from the beginning.
What is PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION (PIP) COVERAGE?
What is PIP? Why do I have to contact my insurance company? Why is my insurance company paying bills for an accident I didn’t cause? Why does my insurance company only pay a portion of my bills? What does PIP cover? How do I find a good Florida PIP lawyer?
These are frequent questions that many accident victims have concerning their accident and PIP. They are very good questions, and they deserve answers. The auto insurance industry intentionally provided very little information to answer these questions.
Personal Injury Protection, or simply PIP, is mandatory coverage provided by your insurance company in the event of an accident. It is governed by Florida Statute 627.736(1). Under the PIP Statute, an insurance company is required to provide their insured with a minimum of coverage should they be involved in an auto-accident. The minimum coverage is $10,000 per person, and it will cover or reimburse the following expenses:
- 80% of any and all medical bills relating to injuries sustained
- 60% of any loss of income (wages) or earning capacity
- 80% of prescriptions for medication prescribed as a result of injury
- Reimbursement of mileage to and from any medical facility
Who qualifies for PIP? When involved in an auto-accident, regardless of who is at fault, every person involved will report to their own insurance company for PIP benefits. If you are not covered on an auto-insurance policy you may still qualify for PIP through other means such as residing with a relative who owns an insured vehicle, or riding in a vehicle that is insured.
REMEMBER! NOT HAVING PIP DOES NOT STOP YOU FROM SEEKING IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION OR PURSUING A CLAIM AGAINST AN AT-FAULT DRIVER
WHAT IS BODILY INJURY (BI) COVERAGE?
Most auto accidents are caused by automobile negligence. To that end, the person responsible for the accident is the one who committed the negligence. In most auto-accident cases, claims can be brought against both the owner of the at-fault vehicle and the at-fault driver. In most cases, the driver of a vehicle also owns a vehicle.
When I bring a claim against the at-fault party, am I going directly after the driver? Not necessarily. An insurance policy is a contract between a vehicle owner and the insurance company. Among many things, it states that if the owner of vehicle, or any authorized driver, causes an auto accident due to automobile negligence, the insurance company will agree to compensate other parties that have been injured as a result.
The insurance company will pay up to a limit of elective coverage known as Bodily Injury Coverage or simply BI. The limits of coverage are normally defined as a limit per person, and a limit per accident.
For example, a $10,000/$20,000 BI policy indicates that the insurance company will pay up to $10,000 per injured person, but no more than $20,000 for all injured parties. BI coverage is normally available as such:
WARNING: Compensation for injuries is not automatic! An injured party is still obligated to prove to the insurance company that the accident was their insured’s fault and that they have sustained a permanent injury as defined by the Florida No-Fault Law. DO NOT SPEAK WITH AN AT-FAULT INSURANCE COMPANY UNTIL YOU HAVE CONSULTED WITH A LAWYER.
WHAT IS UNINSURED MOTORIST (UM) COVERAGE?
It may shock you to know that Florida has the fifth highest rate of uninsured drivers in the whole country. Nearly a quarter of Florida drivers do not have auto insurance. This means, that if they cause an accident due to automobile negligence, there is no coverage available for injured parties to pursue. What can you do to protect yourself?
Your first line of defense is to ensure that you have an active auto insurance policy with the state required $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. This coverage will ensure that 80% of your medical bills will be covered. However, what happens when the person who causes the accident has no insurance or no Bodily Injury Coverage? Is there anyway you can recover for the remaining 20% of your bills? How about money for pain and suffering? How about lost wages and future medical expenses?
One of the best ways that you can protect yourself is to elect Uninsured Motorist Coverage or (UM) through your own insurance company. UM is elective coverage that allows the victim of an auto-accident to receive compensation, if they are injured by an uninsured vehicle that caused the accident through automobile negligence.
How does UM work? UM is a contractual agreement between an insurance company and their insured. According to most policies, the UM carrier will compensate for injuries, pain, suffering and mental anguish caused by an uninsured driver. However, UM compensation is not automatic! You must still prove that the accident was caused by another party due to negligence and that you have sustained a permanent injury according to the Florida No-fault Laws. Often times, UM carriers fight just as hard, if not harder to minimize the amount of compensation you receive.
How is UM Coverage offered? UM Coverage is offered similar to Bodily-Injury Coverage, in a limit per person and per accident. For instance a $10,000/$20,000 UM policy means that the UM carrier will compensate injured persons up to $10,000 per person or $20,000 per accident for all injured parties involved. UM coverage is normally available as such:
If I don’t have UM on my policy, can I qualify for it on someone else’s policy? Even if you don’t have UM on your policy, you may qualify under another policy. If you are a passenger, you may qualify to use the host vehicle or host driver’s UM Policy. You may also qualify under a resident relative. Bottom line is that there are many ways to qualify depending on your independent circumstances and the language of the policy. It is important that you contact an experienced attorney who can review all of your options and explain if you can qualify for UM.
Is UM only available if the at-fault driver is uninsured? NO. Most UM policies also operate as Underinsured Motorist Coverage. If you are injured by an at-fault driver due to automobile negligence, and that driver’s Bodily Injury Coverage cannot adequately compensate you for your loss, you may be able to recover from a UM policy.