Understanding the Basics of No-Fault Insurance in Florida
Paul Brannon | May 11, 2022 | Car Accident
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Florida, and it wasn’t your fault, you’re probably expecting the other driver to be responsible for your medical bills, property damage, and any other damages you suffered. However, your car accident lawyer may have some bad news for you – Florida is a no-fault state. This blog post will fill you in on what this means and how it might impact your case.
What Does a No-Fault State Mean?
Florida is referred to as a “no-fault state” because it requires drivers to carry car insurance that pays for damages no matter who was at fault for the accident, called personal injury protection (PIP), or “No-Fault” insurance.
PIP coverage is mandatory in Florida. This can affect your claim in two ways. First, the insurance pays for your damages without considering who caused the accident. Second, the PIP insurance restricts a plaintiff’s right to sue the person who was at fault for the car accident.
What Are Florida’s Personal Injury Protection Insurance Requirements?
Florida PIP insurance holders must carry insurance with at least $10,000 in medical and disability coverage per person per accident and a further $5,000 for death benefits.
The insurance company will pay these expenses out without determining fault for the accident. These benefits cover the owner of the policy as well as any relatives that live in the same household as the PIP holder. Additionally, these people are covered if they’re pedestrians or riding in someone else’s vehicle, or even when injured in another state.
PIP coverage will pay 80% of the medical treatments for each person, up to the $10,000 limit, and 60% of disability up to the $10,000 limit. Disability coverage includes any loss of income or earning capacity due to the accident. It also covers in-home care, such as a home health nurse or personal care, to help with your care or activities of daily living while you recover.
How Does Florida PIP Fit With My Auto Insurance Policy?
No-fault coverage is only one aspect of most Florida auto insurance. These policies can be complicated with different coverage types and limits. However, the PIP is considered to be the primary coverage in Florida and will start paying first for any damages.
Therefore, you must contact your personal PIP insurance company as soon as possible after the accident to start receiving benefits from this policy. Many policies stipulate that you must see a doctor within 14 days of the accident to receive benefits. The insurance company will be responsible for paying your medical bills.
Who Is Responsible for Damages in a No-Fault State?
This answer can be tricky. The PIP coverage doesn’t go a long way for modern medical care, and it doesn’t fully cover medical bills and lost wages. So if you didn’t cause the accident, you could claim damages against the person who did cause it depending on the seriousness and facts of your case.
Hiring an experienced car insurance lawyer who can sift through your Florida coverage and understands no-fault cases is important if you’re seeking damages. For example, PIP doesn’t cover non-economic damages whatsoever. Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Therapy for mental trauma or PTSD after a car accident
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium (typical in wrongful death cases)
Non-economic damages may only be recovered if your injury is serious enough, which often requires determination in court. Significant disability or permanent disfigurement is one instance. Wrongful death would be another.
The no-fault laws in Florida are complicated, so it’s important to have legal representation to protect your interests.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Northwest Florida
If you need legal assistance, contact the Car Accident Florida lawyers at Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541