No-Fault Car Accident Law in Florida
Florida is one of a handful of states that follow no-fault insurance laws. However, many people do not fully understand what that means. We want to discuss what a no-fault car accident is and how it affects you. Whether you are a Florida native or are new to the area, it is a good idea to know this information. Car accidents in Florida are not uncommon. If you have recently been injured in an accident, speak to one of our experienced Jacksonville car accident lawyers today. When we look at the statistics provided by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), we see that there were over 400,000 total vehicle accidents during the latest reporting year.
What Does No-Fault Mean?
Many people look at the phrase “no-fault” and get confused. How can there not be someone at fault? In reality, vehicle accidents almost always involve one or both drivers being at fault. However, under Florida law, any person involved in a car accident, regardless of fault, is guaranteed personal injury protection (PIP) benefits for 80% of medical expenses up to $10,000. These PIP benefits are reserved for medical expenses and lost wages. Please note that in order to qualify for PIP, you must treat with a qualified physician within 14 days of the car accident.
Under Section 627.7407 of the Florida Statutes, all Florida drivers must maintain at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL).
Drivers in an accident will use PIP to cover injury-related expenses such as hospital bills, doctor visits, prescription costs, and lost wages. Florida law requires the policyholder to maintain personal injury protection insurance coverage and that this insurance pays covered medical expenses for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle crash by the policyholder, passengers, and relatives residing in the policyholder’s household.PDL insurance covers damages you cause to the other person’s vehicle or property. PDL insurance covers damages you cause to the other person’s vehicle or property.
What are the Pros and Cons of a No-Fault State?
The no-fault system was meant to ensure that drivers could get compensation for their medical expenses after an accident, regardless of who is at fault. In at-fault states, it can become burdensome to seek the compensation you need for your injury. In Florida, you will get the coverage you need fairly quickly without having to prove fault. If you have another accident, your PIP coverage resets. That is, you will get the $10,000 coverage limits all over again.
However, PIP does not cover the total costs of your injuries. PIP covers 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages.
Another downside of no-fault states is that insurance premiums tend to be higher than in fault states. Additionally, PIP acts as a substitute for bodily injury coverage which would cover you for pain and suffering whereas PIP would not.
What if Expenses Exceed the Limits Set Under PIP?
If your medical expenses are higher than what is covered under your PIP insurance, you can still file a personal injury claim against the person who was at fault.
What if an Uninsured Motorist Hits you in Florida?
This is an excellent question, and the answer highlights another downside to being a no-fault state. If you are struck by an uninsured motorist by someone without the required Florida car insurance, you are going to be on the line for property damage expenses. PLD is in place to cover another driver’s damages if you are at fault. In Florida, uninsured motorist coverage is optional. However, PIP insurance will still cover your injury expenses if an uninsured motorist strikes you.
What You Can Do Now
If you have been in a car accident in Florida and are confused about your options, you can always contact a personal injury attorney to consult with your particular case.