Florida is one of 12 states in the US that have a no-fault auto insurance policy law. No-fault laws were put into place with the intention to simplify and expedite the ability of anyone injured in an auto accident to receive compensation for their medical treatments and lost wages.
What Is No-Fault Auto Insurance?
No-fault auto insurance simply means that each party involved in a motor vehicle accident must first utilize their own insurance coverage for compensation for medical expenses and lost wages – regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
Florida’s No-Fault Auto Insurance Policy Requirements
Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law requires every licensed driver in Florida to carry auto insurance coverage with at least $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability, or PDL.
Personal Injury Protection insurance covers 80% of medical expenses, including emergency transportation, hospitalization, surgical procedures, nursing services, dental work, and more. It also covers 60% of gross wages and loss of future earning capacity if you cannot work because of your injuries. If the car accident resulted in a fatality, PIP will provide you with $5,000 in death benefits per covered individual. The insurance company pays these benefits on top of coverage for the deceased’s final medical expenses and lost wages.
PIP coverage extends to members of the policyholder’s household, as well as any passengers in the vehicle who do not own a vehicle and have their own insurance policy. PIP also protects you when you are a passenger in someone else’s vehicle and if you are a pedestrian who is injured.
Property Damage Liability insurance provides financial protection when the accident causes damage to another person’s vehicle or property.
All too often, these minimum policy limits are not enough to cover the economic damages resulting from a car accident. A PIP insurance claim will only cover 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages. If your medical expenses total $12,500, you would be eligible to collect the full policy limit of $10,000 (80% of $12,500.) However, you would still be responsible to pay the additional 20% ( $2,500.)
Another example – if you were injured in a serious accident which resulted in medical expenses in the amount of $10,000, and lost wages in the amount of $3,300 because you were unable to work, your PIP insurance would pay $9,980 of the total claim. This means that you are responsible to pay $2,000 for the remaining medical costs and would still lose $1,320 in wages.
Exceptions to No-Fault Insurance
Florida has a “serious injury threshold” that must be exceeded before an injured driver can file a liability claim or personal injury lawsuit against another driver. This means that the type and severity of your injuries determine if and when you can pursue a liability claim against a negligent driver. In Florida, car accidents that result in permanent injury or significant and permanent scarring/disfigurement permit the injured driver to make a claim against the negligent driver or file a personal injury lawsuit.
To file a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident and seek compensation for “pain and suffering” and other non-economic losses, your injuries must qualify as “serious” as defined by state law. In order to meet the standard of “serious injury” at least one of the following must have occurred as a result of the accident:
- significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- permanent injury, within a reasonable degree of medical probability
- significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement, or
If your injuries meet this definition, you are not limited to making a PIP claim under your own policy. You can hold the at-fault driver responsible for the accident and seek to recover compensation.
Get Help From a Florida Car Accident Attorney
If you are seriously injured in a car accident in Florida, the no-fault insurance policy law will make it easier and quicker to recover compensation to pay medical bills and lost wages. But if you only have the minimum coverage, it may not be nearly enough to eliminate the financial burden. Get help from a legal professional today. We are experienced Florida personal injury lawyers who can help you get the fair compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
We pride ourselves on providing our clients compassionate, honest, and dedicated legal counsel. As one of Florida’s leading personal injury firms, we have helped countless car accident victims recover compensation.
Furthermore, we understand how devastating an unexpected accident can be, especially if you have sustained severe injuries. Therefore, let us handle all of your legal proceedings so that you can prioritize recovering and healing.
Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation or call (727) 381-2300.