You might know that Florida is a no-fault state. But do you know exactly what that means? And more importantly, do you know exactly what Florida’s no-fault law means for you? This is an important topic to understand, and today we’re going to answer your top questions on the subject to ensure you have the information you need.
Understanding Florida’s No-Fault Law
Let’s begin with the basics and talk about what it means to be a no-fault state.
The simplest way to understand it is with an example. Let’s say you’re in a car accident with another driver who was clearly at-fault for the incident. Even though they are at-fault, you both will need to submit your insurance to make a claim for the damages.
Because both drivers use their insurance, this is where the term “no-fault” comes from. On the other hand, in fault or tort states, the responsible party is the one who needs to submit their insurance. As a no-fault state, one of the most important things to understand is the Personal Injury Coverage that’s required for drivers. This coverage isn’t required in at-fault states, but it plays a very important role in Florida’s no-fault law.
What Does Florida’s No-Fault Law Mean for You?
Now, what exactly does Florida’s no-fault law mean for you? How will it affect you in the event of a car accident?
For starters, it means all drivers must carry what’s known as Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage. This coverage is legally required under Florida law, including that every vehicle and every vehicle owner needs a minimum of $10,000 coverage on their policy. With this coverage, you can receive reimbursement for 80% of necessary and reasonable medical expenses up to $10,000 from a covered injury, no matter who is at-fault for the crash.
Along with PIP coverage, drivers must also have Property Damage Liability (PDL) automobile insurance. This coverage is meant to cover the damage to another driver’s vehicle or property.
Now, in the event you’re in a car accident in Florida, this also means your own insurance will be responsible for covering your injuries and resulting medical expenses. Essentially, this removes the issue of who was at-fault when it comes to making insurance claims.
Top Questions About Florida’s No-Fault Law
Next, let’s answer some more common questions about Florida’s no-fault law you might have.
What should I know about PIP insurance benefits?
Here are some more quick facts about PIP insurance:
- You must seek medical treatment following an accident within 14 days to obtain PIP coverage
- The PIP statute dictates the covered care you receive must be from an M.D., D.O., D.C., dentist, hospital, emergency medical personnel, or at a facility owned by a hospital
- This coverage caps at $10,000, offering 80% reimbursement for medical bills resulting from an accident as well as 60% of lost wages
- Your PIP coverage can also extend to other passengers in your vehicle at the time of the accident
What should I do if I’ve been in a car accident in Florida?
As soon as you and your passengers have called for medical help and received any necessary medical help, there are some very important steps to follow next. Ensuring you have all of these bases covered means you can resolve much more quickly and easily.
- Recording the other driver’s name as well as their driver’s license number and insurance info
- Contacting your insurance company as soon as possible to get started on your claim
- Writing down the license plates of both vehicles
- Taking pictures of the damage to both vehicles
- Writing down any information about the accident, including the time of day and other circumstances
- Taking pictures and make note of any visible injuries to you and/or your passengers
- Obtaining any official documents relating to the document, including police reports
What does this mean for Florida car accident laws and lawsuit process?
This is a great question! Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of assuming that because of Florida’s no-fault law, they have no grounds to pursue legal action against the other driver in the collision. But the truth is, drivers can still take legal action against these drivers, if their injuries are severe, permanent, or debilitating.
Because PIP coverage caps at $10,000, you can see how this limit is easily reached in the case of severe injuries. As such, drivers with severe or debilitating injuries with resulting expenses totalling more than $10,000 often choose to pursue legal action against the negligent driver.
(Are you curious about other Florida laws? Click here to read about Florida’s dog bite law and what it means for you)
What is the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit after a car accident?
Each state has a different time limit for when you can file a personal injury lawsuit following a crash. In Florida, the statute of limitations is four years from the date of the crash.
Working with a Florida Personal Injury Attorney
Now you know a lot more about Florida’s no-fault law and what it means for you as a driver. But if you have been severely or catastrophically injured in a car accident, we understand you might require more support and legal guidance. If your medical expenses exceed the $10,000 cap, we encourage you to pursue a third-party insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.
In doing so, both insurance companies will begin investigating the accident. This is another way the information you record and pictures you take following an accident are useful. But don’t just rely on the insurance company’s investigations. Trust your personal injury attorney to also conduct a thorough investigation in order to prepare the strongest case for you.
As your personal injury attorney on the Treasure Coast, we’ll work closely with you to accurately calculate the total damages you’re legally entitled to. We’ll carefully craft and file a complaint on your behalf, and then move on to the discovery process.
When you hire a personal injury attorney to recoup the damages you’re owed, this tells insurance companies you mean business. As a result, it often means they’re more likely to settle your case out of court. That means many, if not most, personal injury claims can be settled out of court. In the event you do come up against resistance? You can be sure your attorney will aggressively defend you if your case goes to trial.
Call Garcia Law, PL, today so we can begin fighting for you.