If you own a car in the state of Florida, you’ve likely heard the term “no-fault state” more than once. But what does it mean, and why is it important? In short, the law indicates that drivers are required to have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as part of their auto insurance and that, regardless of who was at fault in a car accident, the insured individual’s bills will be paid up to the insurance limit. Contrary to what many Floridians think, it does not mean that there’s never any liability for a car accident—nor does it mean that you can’t contact a lawyer and receive compensation for your injuries.
Florida is one of only twelve states that have implemented no-fault accident laws in some variation with the goal of reducing the number of frivolous lawsuits that may occur. From how Florida’s no-fault law affects your car insurance to what happens if you get into an accident, here’s everything you need to know.
Understanding Florida’s No-Fault Law
If you’ve been in an accident with another driver—assuming you both have insurance as per Florida law—you will both turn to your own auto insurance policies to make claims, regardless of who was at fault. The policy is designed to not only lower the overall number of tort car accident lawsuits, but also to quickly provide compensation for both parties to pay personal bills incurred by the accident. As long as you have the required insurance, the law applies to you whether the vehicle you’re driving is owned, borrowed, or rented.
The minimum limit in Florida is 10/20/10, which means that the insured would receive $10,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, with no more than $20,000 paid per accident, and $10,000 of property damage coverage per accident.
In Florida, the following is covered:
- Medical bills: Up to 80 percent of medical costs for emergency medical conditions are paid by the insurer if you have personal injury protection, provided the treatment is received by a licensed physician, dentist, hospital, or facility owned by the hospital. For non-emergency-related injuries, the policy will provide you with up to $2,500.
- Lost wages: Up to 60 percent of lost wages are provided to the insured. In other words, if the injured party is too hurt to work, their insurance company will pay for 60 percent of their lost or reduced income based on what they earned in the 13 weeks prior to the accident.
- Death benefits: If a driver dies as a result of the accident, the insurance company will provide up to $5,000 in expenses relating to the funeral and burial service.
- Prescription medication: The insurance company will also pay for up to 80 percent of the prescription medication you require as a result of the accident.
Items not covered by Florida’s no-fault insurance policy include:
- Damage to your car and other property
- The bodily injuries of another car’s occupants
- The bodily injuries of adult passengers in your vehicle who have borrowed your car, provided that they’re not named on your policy
- Pain and suffering claims
After you submit a PIP claim with your insurance company, they will have 30 days to accept the claim and pay the expenses. In the rare case that your claim is denied, the insurer must provide you with a written explanation detailing the reasons for which the claim was denied. Note that if your insurance company denies your claim without a sufficient reason, they may be acting in bad faith. In this case, contacting a trusted personal injury attorney would be in your best interest.
What If the Amount You Need Exceeds What Is Covered in Florida’s No-Fault Coverage?
It’s important to note that no-fault doesn’t mean that you can’t make a claim against the at-fault driver for causing injuries in a car accident. If the compensation you need to pay for property damages, medical bills, and lost income exceeds the state’s injury threshold or your PIP coverage, then you can choose to file a lawsuit against the other driver. Florida is a “no-fault” state, but if your injuries are severe, permanent, or debilitating, you may still choose to file a claim.
Contact an Expert Florida Personal Injury Attorney
If you were involved in a car accident as a result of another driver’s negligence, not only do you qualify for Florida’s no-fault policy, but you have the right to pursue a personal injury claim to receive the full compensation you deserve. Consider reaching out to the trusted car accident lawyers at Baker Legal Team for help. Robert B. Baker is a trusted trial attorney with more than 30 years of experience helping injured car accident victims get the compensation owed to them.
As a Board-Certified personal injury lawyer with experience handling complex claims and tricky insurance companies, Robert has represented Florida residents for years. He will help you recover the damages you deserve. Give us a call at (561) 320-0000 or complete our contact form today!