Passenger Liability In Florida Car Accidents
Auto accidents affect many more people than just the drivers of the vehicles, and no one more than the passengers involved. Many people labor under the misapprehension that they have very little recourse in terms of getting their medical bills paid unless they have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance that covers riding in another car. This is not always the case – depending on the specific facts of your situation, you may be able to obtain a judgment or settlement from your companion driver’s insurance company.
Florida Auto Insurance & PIP Coverage
Florida is a no-fault state, so if you are a licensed Florida driver, or you own a car licensed in Florida, you are required by law to carry PIP coverage for yourself. Personal injury protection does just what it says – it serves as a shield for injuries you sustain in an automobile accident, whether you are a passenger or a driver, up to a $10,000 threshold. The rationale is that if all licensed drivers carry PIP coverage, there will be fewer liability actions brought in Florida courts.
If you don’t own a motor vehicle that is required to be registered in the State of Florida and don’t reside in a household where vehicles are covered by PIP, you may be able to use the PIP of the vehicle you are in at the time of an accident. There are a few exceptions to even this. If your PIP coverage does not extend to your situation, you may be able to bring suit under the companion driver’s PIP policy.
“Serious and Extensive”
Florida’s auto insurance laws hold that an injured passenger may bring suit for their injuries if they are found to be “serious and extensive.” This is important to keep in mind, because regardless of the number of injured passengers in an accident, they all must still share the same small window in which compensation may be possible. If you are the only passenger injured in a serious manner, you may be entitled to a larger share of compensation than someone whose injuries were more minor, regardless of whomever files suit first.
Also, any comparative negligence that can be attributed to you likely will be, as insurance companies will attempt to mitigate any damages by reducing your award. This holds true even if other insurance policies besides PIP are in play. In addition to PIP insurance, Florida recommends Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) protection, though it is not required in order to drive in the state. If you are injured in someone else’s car, your BIL coverage will not protect you, but if the driver carries it, their policy may do so.
Contact An Orlando Auto Accident Attorney
Being in an auto accident is frightening and confusing, but it can be doubly so when one is literally and figuratively blindsided as a passenger. The Orlando auto accident attorneys at the Hornsby Law Group are ready, willing and able to help you get through the time-consuming process of receiving compensation for your injuries. Call us today to set up an initial consultation.