Personal Injury Protection (PIP) (also known as No-Fault Insurance) is one of the few coverages in Florida that is mandatory in most motor vehicle insurance policies. (See this blog about “Full Coverage.”) Its primary function is to pay the medical expenses and lost wages of those individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents. (Which individuals are covered is another subject and beyond the scope of this blog.) However, unbeknownst to many lawyers and lay people alike, the PIP statute also provides for the payment of “Death Benefits.” (See Florida Statute Section 627.736(1)(c) (2008).)
The maximum dollar amount of coverage available under PIP is $10,000. Of this $10,000, only $5,000 is available for death benefits under Section 627.736(1)(c).
The death benefit can be paid to the following individuals:
- The executor or administrator of the deceased;
- To any of the deceased’s relatives by blood or legal adoption or connection by marriage;
- Or to any person appearing to the insurer to be equitably entitled thereto.
Because of the limited $10,000 in coverage under PIP, $5,000 for death benefits is not always available by the time a clam for the money is made. This was my recent experience in a case where the insured died after spending one week in the hospital and incurring more than $300,000 in medical expenses. The hospital quickly asserted its claim for PIP benefits on the insurance company, which immediately tendered the the full $10,000. By the time the decedent’s cousin made a claim for reimbursement of funeral expenses, the PIP had been exhausted.
Contact us at 866-785-GALE or by email to learn your legal rights.
Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.