Explaining Florida’s No-Fault Car Insurance
In some states, it matters who is at fault in an accident because the liable party’s insurance company must pay for any property damage and personal injuries caused by the accident. Florida, however, is one of 12 no-fault insurance states. In a no-fault state, each driver’s insurance covers their injuries regardless of fault. This allows for much faster claim processing and expedites payouts. In theory, this policy is also meant to free up Florida’s courts from being overburdened with accident cases meant to determine fault as insurance companies battle over which policy must cover damages. In effect, however, often accident victims must file lawsuits to recover their damages which often extend far beyond Florida’s required $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
If you’ve had an accident in Florida, you may be wondering how the state’s no-fault insurance rule impacts your claim.
Bodily Injury Liability Claims May Become Complicated in Florida
Florida’s insurance laws only require drivers to carry the minimum PIP coverage of $10,000 as well as a minimum of $10,000 in property damage coverage. Sadly, rising costs of medical treatments make this amount too small to cover much more than minor injuries. Also, most PIP policies only cover tangible economic damages like medical bills and a percentage of a victim’s lost wages. These policies rarely allow coverage for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, emotional anguish, or loss of quality of life—factors that are often more detrimental and damaging to accident victims than their economic losses. In some circumstances, drivers purchase additional insurance as protection, including personal injury liability insurance. Even in a no-fault state, if you’ve been hurt in an accident with a driver who carries personal injury liability insurance, you may be entitled to additional compensation. Unfortunately, high insurance premiums mean the majority of drivers opt out of extra coverage.
What some Florida accident victims don’t realize is that they may still be able to recover damages in Florida by filing a personal injury lawsuit if their case meets specific criteria recognized by the court.
When Can I File a Personal Injury Claim in Florida?
Florida’s courts have threshold requirements in place for gaining financial compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. The courts must consider your injuries to be significant under these threshold criteria which include the following:
- An injury resulting in the “significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function”
- A reasonable degree of medical probability of a permanent injury
- Scarring and/or disfigurement
Typically, the more serious the injury, the more significant the damages; therefore, a court is more likely to award higher amounts for pain and suffering damages.
Florida’s no-fault insurance state status helps victims to recover damages more quickly than in states with at-fault insurance laws because the accident victim’s own insurance automatically covers up to $10,000 for economic losses. Most PIP policies also offer $5,000 in death benefits for accident fatalities. However, when your damages far exceed the $10,000 in bodily injury compensation, your only option for recovery is to file a lawsuit.
In Florida, the best way to recover significant compensation for damages after a rideshare accident is to work with a Fort Lauderdale rideshare accident attorney who is highly experienced in navigating Florida’s no-fault insurance laws.