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21 September 2011

Accidents don’t directly give money

There are many misleading personal injury attorney ads (usually seen on daytime television and heard on the radio) that come in multiple variations, but the majority say, “If you’ve been in a car accident, let the law offices of x and y get you the $10,000 you are entitled to!”

The ad makes it sound like all you have to do after an accident is call their office and receive a $10,000 check.

So, what’s really going on?

The $10,000 is a reference to Florida’s no-fault law, which requires every automobile insurance policy issued in Florida to include $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits.

What this means is that if you are the name insured (i.e. the person who bought the car insurance policy); a relative of the name insured (that lives in the same household); the person who happened to be driving the covered vehicle (with the permission of the name insured); a passenger in the covered vehicle; or if you were struck by the covered vehicle … your PIP insurance company will pay up to $10,000 for 80 percent of your medical bills, 60 percent of any loss in income and certain death benefits regardless of which driver was at fault in the automobile accident.

Chances are that the $10,000 is going to go to your medical provider. This is a good thing because doctors don’t work for free. But after an accident, they will treat you because they know that your car insurance policy is going to allow them to receive up to $10,000.

So, you don’t actually get a $10,000 check. However, if you sustain a serious injury, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering (which may be more or less than $10,000 depending on the severity of the injury and the apportionment of liability); this is where your personal injury attorney will earn his or her fee.

Jason Neufeld , an alumnus of the University of Miami School of Law, is an associate with Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA (nkplaw.com). If you would like to speak to an attorney, please call 1-800-379-TEAM (8326) and ask for Jason Neufeld, or email him at jneufeld@nkplaw.com.

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