Non-Florida Residents Go Uninsured In the Event of an Accident

November 10th, 2011
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A woman in a car accident

Florida residents are protected under the personal injury protection (PIP) coverage that provides up to $10,000 in urgent medical assistance to those involved in auto accidents. Florida’s main source of revenue is brought in through tourism and yet that same coverage provides zero assistance to non-Florida residents involved in similar auto accidents says Florida insurance lawyer Patrick J. Tighe of X1LAW.com.

“If a non-Florida resident is injured as a pedestrian or while riding a bicycle or while down on the road after falling off a moped or bike, they’re not covered by the driver’s PIP policy,” says Tighe, a veteran insurance lawyer who assist both Florida residents and visitors for more than a decade.

Tighe continues, “This is completely contrary to how other no-fault insurance policies work in other states. Indeed, many Florida visitors just assume they are covered, since they’d be covered at home. But they’re not, and it often comes as a terrible surprise, at a terrible moment.”

In other jurisdictions coverage is stressed to both residents and visitors from out of state. “If you’re hit by a car while walking or riding a bike, the driver’s policy covers you. In Florida, unless you have your own health insurance, you’re out of luck. Given how much Florida depends on tourism and how much visitors contribute to the life and vibrancy of this state, you would think we would do the same thing — the right thing.”

Tighe, who is currently representing a Massachusetts resident who was seriously injured when he was struck by a pickup truck after falling off his moped, encourages the state legislature to reconsider this. “We’re biting the hand that feeds us with this short-sighted, senseless, and grossly unfair prohibition.”

Until then, Tighe urges all those visiting Florida to consider taking the precautionary steps that could help them in the event of an emergency during their trip. These steps include:

  • Obtaining catastrophic health insurance, which is sometimes offered on a month-to-month basis
  • Checking with your credit card company, they sometimes provide important medical care benefits for travelers.

“As legislators watch the tourism dollars come in, they really should think about how we can better serve, and assist, our guests,” says Tighe. “We should be doing more to help visitors who are tragically, even catastrophically injured while visiting our great state — not turning our backs on them.”

In the upcoming months the state of Florida will start to see a pickup in tourism due to the new football season and them parks and we should be more inclined to protect the people that take the time to visit.

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