Roadside Assistance: Florida Needs to Follow Other States’ Lead and Better Aid Visitors Injured by Automobiles, Says Insurance Lawyer Patrick J. Tighe

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Current law excludes non-Florida residents from Personal Insurance Protection (PIP) coverage in many automobile accident scenarios, says attorney Tighe of With the height of tourist season approaching, it’s time to change that and come in line with other states. In the meantime, Florida visitors need to know the risks they face -- and how they can take steps to protect themselves.

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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 - Indeed, many Florida visitors just assume they are covered...

Given that tourism is one of Florida’s leading sources of revenue, it will surprise many to learn that the Sunshine State excludes visitors from an important -- and often crucial --insurance benefit that is readily available to residents. But an unnecessary, unwise, and woefully out-of-step policy is doing just that, says Florida insurance lawyer Patrick J. Tighe of The personal injury protection (PIP) coverage that provides up to $10,000 in urgent medical assistance for Florida residents involved in automobile accidents provides zero for non-residents injured in many common accident scenarios. That damaging -- and self-defeating -- bias must end, says Tighe.

“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 has been assisting both Florida residents and visitors for more than a decade. “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, says Tighe, coverage is extended 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 urges the state legislature to change that. “We’re biting the hand that feeds us with this short-sighted, senseless, and grossly unfair prohibition,” says the Florida insurance lawyer, who is currently representing a Massachusetts resident who was gravely injured when struck by a pickup truck after falling off his moped.

In the meantime, Tighe urges visitors to Florida to consider steps that could provide extra protection should disaster strike during their trip. These, says the injury lawyer, include obtaining catastrophic health insurance, which often can be purchased on a month-to-month basis, making it particularly appropriate for travelers. “Non-Florida residents could also check with their credit card companies,” says Tighe, “as they often provide important but little known medical care benefits for travelers.”

With the college football season beginning -- and the Florida theme park season never ending -- the state will see its annual uptick in tourism over the coming months. “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.”

About X1Law P.A.
For over a decade, Florida personal injury and insurance law firm X1Law has been protecting the rights of consumers, and those who have suffered catastrophic injury in automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other life-changing events. In that time, Patrick J. Tighe has represented -- and come through for -- thousands of individuals in insurance claims that were wrongly denied, delayed, or undervalued. Earlier in his career, Tighe spent nearly ten years working on ‘the other side,’ defending insurers in injury lawsuits. That experience gave him invaluable insight on how big insurers approach and handle insurance claim cases -- insight that is leveraged every day to bring results, and justice, for clients.

Patrick J. Tighe
(561) 537 5059


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