Personal Injury Protection (PIP) gives a $5,000 death benefit resulting from death arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of the motor vehicle. Most Florida auto insurance policies must give personal injury protection (PIP) to the following:
- named insured
- relatives residing in the same household
- persons driving the insured motor vehicle
- passengers in the motor vehicle, and
- other persons struck by the motor vehicle and suffering bodily injury while not an occupant of a self-propelled vehicle
What Types of Accidents Does the PIP Death Benefit Most Often Apply To?
The PIP death benefit will likely apply if someone dies as a result of being:
- In a car or truck that was in an accident
- Hit by a car or truck while a pedestrian
- Hit by a private bus, or while on a private bus that is in a crash
- In a dune buggy that was modified, and licensed, to be used on public roads. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Becraft, 501 So. 2d 1316 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 4th Dist. 1986
Also, the PIP death benefit will likely apply if a car hit the decedent while he was riding a bike.
Is the PIP Death Benefit Paid In Every Accident Where Someone is Killed By A Vehicle?
No. PIP applies in most, but not all, accidents where someone is killed.
When Won’t the PIP Death Benefit Likely Apply?
PIP benefits do not apply to every Florida auto insurance policy. (“Decedent” means someone who dies.)
The PIP death benefit typically won’t apply if the decedent dies as a result of a crash where the decedent was:
- A passenger in a taxi, and not entitled to PIP.
- Driving a taxi, and not being entitled to PIP. Utvich v. Felizola, 742 So. 2d 847 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 3rd Dist. 1999.
- Hit by public bus.
- On a motorcycle.
- A visitor to Florida who was struck by a car while he or she was a pedestrian.
- A passenger in a public bus that was struck by a car, truck or other vehicle.
- Driving a city or county bus. Santiagoherrera v. Stout, 470 So.2d 718(Fla. 5th DCA 1985)
- A driver or passenger of a scooter or moped than was more similar to a motorcycle than a scooter.
- Driving a vehicle and hits a pothole in a road or parking lot maintained by the county or any business. Tomlinson v. Orange County, Fla., 785 F. 2d 933 – Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit 1986
- Driving a limousine
The PIP death benefit also won’t apply if someone is killed while occupying a:
- Mobile Home
- Farm tractor or farm trailer (subjecting to licensing exception)
- Vehicle used only on private property
- Go-cart or recreational vehicles that are not used on public roads
- Golf Cart.
- Off-road construction machines (rollers, graders, bulldozers)
- Vehicle on tracts (e.g. railroad)
There are additional exceptions as well.
This rest of this article applies to the vehicles that are required to have PIP on the Florida auto insurance policy.
Florida PIP gives a $5,000 death benefit
Death benefits are $5,000 per individual (who dies). Death benefits are in addition to the medical and disability benefits provided under the insurance policy.
Example – PIP death benefit is primary
Joe is driving a truck in Homestead, Miami-Dade County, Florida. Mike is driving a car.
Joe makes a left hand turn and violates Mike’s right of way. Joe crashes into Mike.
Mike is airlifted to the hospital. He is treated in the hospital for seven days. He then dies from injuries sustained in the accident.
Mike’s medical bills are $100,000. The PIP auto insurer will pay a death benefit of $5,000 death benefit.
It will also pay $10,000 to the medical providers for Mike’s medical treatment before his death.
The personal representative of Mike’s estate can also make a claim against any liable parties. This article does not focus on the medical and disability benefits provided under the insurance policy. This article focuses on the PIP death benefit.
Who does the insurer pay the $5,000 PIP death to?
The insurer may pay death benefits to the executor or administrator of the deceased, to any of the deceased’s relatives by blood, legal adoption, or marriage, or to any person appearing to the insurer to be equitably entitled to such benefits.
Payment of Benefits
The PIP death benefit due from an insurer under ss. 627.730-627.7405 is primary, except that benefits received under any workers’ compensation law must be credited against the benefits provided by subsection (1) and are due and payable as loss accrues upon receipt of reasonable proof of such loss and the amount of expenses and loss incurred which are covered by the policy issued under ss. 627.730-627.7405.
PIP benefit is primary
This means that the PIP death benefit is paid before other insurance is responsible. Other insurance may include:
- bodily injury (BI) liability coverage in an auto insurance policy of the tortfeasor
- uninsured motorist (UM) liability coverage
- accidental death benefits insurance
- life insurance
Example – PIP death benefit is primary
Take the same facts from the example above. Mike’s $5,000 death benefit is primary. This means that Mike’s PIP insurer must pay the $5,000 death benefit before any other insurance is responsible.
The personal representative of Mike’s estate can also make a wrongful death claim against Joe’s BI liability auto insurance coverage. Since the $5,000 PIP death benefit is primary, Joe will get a credit (reduction) of $5,000 from the value of Mike’s case.
The $5,000 death benefit may be paid to may pay death benefits to the executor or administrator of Mike, to any of the Mike’s relatives by blood, legal adoption, or marriage, or to any person appearing to the insurer to be equitably entitled to such benefits.
Death benefit is due once insurer receives proof of death
The $5,000 death benefit is due and payable as soon as the insurer is receives reasonable proof of such loss.
Tip: Request the Florida traffic crash report, and death certificate as soon as possible. Then send it to the liability claims adjuster(s) as soon as possible. This may help get you the $5,000 death benefit sooner.
Do Uber and Lyft Have a $5,000 Death Benefit for Car Accidents?
If a Lyft driver is killed while driving for Lyft, his or her family will get Lyft’s $5,000 death benefit.
As of September 22, 2017, Lyft still has PIP insurance on all its Florida auto policies. Here is Lyft’s insurance policy:
York Risk Services handles Lyft’s claims. Zurich American Insurance Company insures Lyft.
If an Uber driver is killed while driving for Uber, the answer is no so simple. It will depend on whether the Uber driver had the Uber app on.
If the Uber driver had the app on, but wasn’t engaged in a ride, his or her family will get Uber’s $5,000 death benefit.
What if the Uber driver had the app on, and was engaged in a ride?
In this instance, the Uber driver’s family will not get Uber’s $5,000 death benefit.
If he or she had rideshare insurance on his or her car insurance policy, it will pay the $5,000 death benefit.
Progressive insures Uber in Florida.
News Stations Have Interviewed Me About Wrongful Death Cases
On August 14, 2018, NBC6 interviewed me about a wrongful death lawsuit in Miami. It should air this week.
I can’t disclose it what the case is about until it airs.
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