Roughly a dozen states operate under a no-fault car insurance system, and Florida is one of them. A no-fault system prevents clogging up courts with lawsuits for minor injuries. It provides fast payouts for claims since fault is not an issue. However, if the injured party’s damages exceed the insurance limit, Florida law allows the driver responsible for the crash to be sued for the injured party’s medical expenses, as well as lost wages, pain and suffering, and other forms of compensation.
Drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance as part of Florida’s insurance requirements. They must also carry that same minimum in property damage liability insurance, which covers damage they cause to another vehicle.
A Florida car accident attorney at Kogan & DiSalvo can help you file your claims and complete paperwork after a motor vehicle accident. If your injuries are serious, you may be able to go outside the no-fault system and file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
No-Fault Insurance in Florida
Under the no-fault system, the injured person’s insurer pays for medical treatment no matter who was at fault. PIP pays for 80 percent of all reasonable, necessary medical expenses. If your injuries keep you from working, PIP pays 60 percent of your gross wages and any loss of future earning capacity. Such disability payments are made every two weeks.
Under Florida no-fault, accident victims do not receive compensation for pain and suffering. If someone dies from their injuries, their family receives a $5,000 death benefit for funeral and burial costs. This is in addition to some compensation for lost wages and final medical expenses.
Florida does not require drivers to carry Body Injury Liability (BIL) coverage on their car insurance policies, but it is wise to do so. There is an exception in that drivers convicted of a DUI must carry BIL. In the event of an accident in which you are at fault and someone is seriously injured, a lack of BIL means if the injured person sues, you are personally liable for that individual’s losses.
No-fault insurance does not apply to property damage. For instance, if your car was totaled by another driver, you have two years from the accident date in which to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Injuries Outside of No-Fault Coverage
Anyone severely injured in a car accident may seek compensation outside of the no-fault system. Under Florida law, those suffering significant and permanent injuries can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Anyone whose injuries are serious enough that they are beyond the threshold for no-fault insurance can seek compensation, or damages, for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
In Florida, serious injury refers to:
- Significant and permanent loss of a bodily function
- Permanent injury
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
If the seriousness of your injuries means you can pursue a personal injury lawsuit outside of the Florida no-fault system, you must generally file such a lawsuit within four years of the accident date. If a family member succumbed to their car accident injuries, the personal representative of their estate has two years from the death date in which to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
It is not uncommon for an injured person’s accident-related medical bills to exceed their $10,000 PIP coverage. When that is the case, an attorney can file a claim with the other party’s insurance company for the additional amount.
No-Fault Insurance in Florida and Your Accident Claim
If your accident occurred in a state outside of Florida, much depends on whether the state uses the no-fault or tort system. If you are involved in a crash in a no-fault state, PIP should still pay for your injuries. However, if the collision takes place in a tort state, the negligent driver is held responsible for your injuries and damages. The at-fault driver’s insurance policy determines the payment of medical bills and lost wages.
Within Florida, if you were injured seriously enough to go outside the no-fault system, expect specific questions to be asked by your insurer. Do not answer these questions before obtaining legal counsel.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer
If you were seriously injured in a Florida car accident due to another party’s negligence, you need the services of an experienced Florida car accident attorney at Kogan & DiSalvo. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today. While most cases are settled, we are ready to take your case to court if necessary.