If you’re ever in a South Florida bicycle accident with someone driving a car, one avenue through which you might obtain compensation is through your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that you purchase as part of your regular car insurance. As our Palm Beach personal injury lawyers can explain, PIP can be applied in bicycle accidents – even if you weren’t driving – so long as the incident occurred in traffic. Technically, bicyclists aren’t required to carry any insurance at all in Florida. However, it’s a good idea – particularly if you enjoy road cycling. And if you have a car, it’s easy, as PIP (which can be paid regardless of fault in the accident) is already required coverage for registered motor vehicles in the state. However, any PIP claims must be accurately and timely filed.
Underscoring this point was a case last year before Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeals.
In the matter of USAA Casualty Insurance Co. v. Mikrogiannakis, a bicyclist was struck by a car in Seminole County (Central Florida), and sought medical treatment for his injuries. During that initial visit, his registration form listed his contact information and the name of his personal injury lawyer – but not the name and address for a PIP insurer. That field had been left blank. Over the course of several months, he continued to receive medical treatment from that same provider.
Roughly 18 months after administering these treatments, the medical provider began submitting claims to USAA, the bicyclist’s PIP insurer. However, USAA denied the payments, citing failure to comply with F.S. 627.736(5)(c). The statute is extensive (which is why we recommend consulting with a personal injury lawyer if you aren’t sure of your rights), but that provision in particular refers to the requirement that any bills for emergency services or care must be submitted to the PIP carrier within 35 days (possibly for treatment rendered up to 75 days). The bills in this case weren’t submitted for a full 18 months. Continue reading