Considering the dense population in South Florida, it is not surprising that more than one-third of all motor vehicle accidents occur in the counties of Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports there were more than 123,000 crashes in the region in 2022, and the figures for 2023 are on track to reach this total by the end of the year. Of these collisions, around 43,250 are injury-causing, leading to bodily harm for almost 64,600 victims. Based on the data, you can guess that many of the people who are hurt in Miami car accidents are passengers in the involved vehicle.
Passengers do have rights under Florida law, but the legal process can be more complex when it comes to insurance questions. This is because of the state’s no-fault insurance law, which requires all motorists to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP). A Miami car accident lawyer can explain your remedies, but a summary is useful.
You must go through your own PIP. If you own a vehicle and follow the law by purchasing the required auto insurance policy, you are covered as a passenger in someone else’s car. In fact, you must file a claim with your own insurer in such a situation. Through PIP, you can recover up to 80 percent of all reasonable medical costs and expenses related to the accident. If you miss work because of your injuries, PIP will pay up to 60 percent of lost wages.
There may be coverage under the driver’s PIP. Those who do not own a car and are not required by law to purchase auto insurance still have options when injured as a passenger. The driver’s insurance policy covers those in the vehicle when they are not covered by their own PIP. The compensation available under these claims is the same as described above.
PIP covers some family. Another scenario may apply when the victim is a family member who resides with a person who has PIP coverage. For instance, if your child was hurt in a crash while riding as a passenger, you file a claim with your insurer.
You might avoid PIP entirely. In certain cases, you may qualify to seek compensation outside PIP coverage. When you suffer serious, catastrophic injuries that are permanent or result in death, you could file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer. The advantages of going with this option are significant:
- You are not limited to a percentage of medical costs and lost wages.
- You can seek amounts for pain and suffering.
- With this option, you DO need to prove fault – unlike with filing PIP claims.
Rely on a Miami Car Accident Attorney to Protect Your Rights
If you were injured in an auto crash while riding as a passenger, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA, to learn more about how the legal process works. You can call (305) 371-6000 or visit our website to set up a no-cost case analysis at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL.