You may have heard that Florida is a “No Fault” state, but what does this actually mean? And how does it impact car accident claims?
At Gallagher & Hagopian, we often speak to car accident victims who are confused about Florida’s no-fault laws – and rightfully so. The rules can be quite complex and could leave you with unpaid bills. However, the more you understand about how the law works, the more likely you are to receive proper compensation after a car accident. Here are a few things you need to know.
Why is Florida Called a “No Fault” State?
In Florida, all drivers are required to carry a type of “no-fault” insurance known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP). When an accident occurs, each party files a claim with their own insurance companies and their PIP coverage pays without any consideration of who was at fault for the accident.
Florida also limits an injured person’s right to sue the person who was at fault. However, if your injuries are severe, permanent, or debilitating, you may still be able to file a claim.
What Does PIP Insurance Cover?
The minimum required amount of PIP insurance is $10,000. Your policy will also include a $5,000 death benefit. This insurance pays for 80% of the cost of “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses following a car accident. This may include emergency transportation, hospitalization, surgical procedures, and dental work. It’s important to note that to receive this compensation, you must seek initial treatment within 14 days of your accident.
If you’re unable to work due to your injuries, your PIP insurance may also provide 60% of your gross wages and loss of future earning capacity.
What if I Have Damage Beyond My PIP Coverage?
Despite Florida being a “no-fault” state, if you’ve suffered severe injuries, you may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault party. This can either be done by making a claim against their liability insurance or filing a personal injury lawsuit.
While PIP only covers medical expenses and lost wages, if you seek damages from another party, you may also be eligible to receive compensation for property damage and pain and suffering. This may include accident-related damages that impact your quality of life such as anxiety, depression, and/or loss of mobility.
Before you can win a settlement or verdict, you must be able to prove that another party’s negligence caused your accident. This may apply if the other driver ran a stoplight, traveled into the wrong lane, or was driving while intoxicated. Sometimes, accidents are caused by vehicle problems, such as faulty brakes or defective tires. In this case, the injured party may be able to seek compensation from the vehicle manufacturer or auto parts maker. In other cases, a municipality or government agency may be liable, such as when flawed road design or negligent maintenance contributed to the accident.
Consult with a Florida Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in car accident in Florida, don’t make the mistake of misinterpreting the state’s “no-fault” laws. While they can sometimes make the claims process more complex, a skilled accident attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free case review.