Why Sue for Personal Injury When There is Insurance Coverage?

When a person is injured by the fault of another, he or she is generally entitled to payments for the damages that he or she received. These payments for damages are designed to compensate the victim for the injuries and their effects. These damages typically come in two forms:  economic and non-economic.

Economic damages include expenses for medical care and rehabilitation, lost wages, the replacement or repair of property, and funeral expenses.

Non-economic damages are those that are not directly connected to money lost because of the accident, but instead relate to the decrease in quality of life that results from the accident.   They include the following examples of pain and suffering:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Permanent disability
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium (benefits, both emotional and physical, of marriage)

Florida law requires that all drivers carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP), with a minimum coverage of $10,000 per person. Someone who is injured in a car accident is paid, without regard to fault, by the insurance company. While in such cases the law makes it very difficult to sue for economic damages, in cases where the physical or emotional pain and distress is great enough, a victim can still sue for pain and suffering.

Outside of the automotive context, the value of a personal injury lawsuit extends further.  If a homeowner, business owner or other entity is inadequately insured, the victim can sue to recoup economic damages that were not covered by the defendant’s insurance policy.

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