Is Florida a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?
Florida is a no-fault state for auto accidents, one of only twelve in the United States. This system ensures that motorists with insurance have financial recovery options after suffering collisions. Yet, thanks to provisions made by HB 837, the state’s personal injury system has slightly changed––potentially complicating some legal cases.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a collision, we encourage you to connect with Meldon Law. Our car accident lawyers can evaluate your financial recovery options and pursue the compensation you need to rebuild your life. Call (352) 373-8000 to begin a free case review.
Florida Is a No-Fault State for Car Accidents
Because Florida is a no-fault state for motorists, you’re required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Per the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, you must have at least $10,000 in PIP and $10,000 in property damage liability coverage.
PIP pays for your losses following a collision. Property damage liability coverage pays for the damage to the other party’s vehicle. There are many nuances to seeking damages outside of PIP (as we’ll explain later), and you could benefit from entrusting your case to an injury lawyer from Meldon Law.
What Does PIP Cover?
What your insurance policy covers depends on, well, the details of your insurance policy. If you carry the minimum PIP policy mandated by the state, then you’ll have:
Coverage for Most of Your Medical Expenses
PIP coverage pays for up to 80 percent of your reasonable medical costs, which may include:
- Emergency care
- Hospital bills
- Doctors’ visits
- Rehab costs
You can access these benefits regardless of who caused the collision. However, you must seek medical care within 14 days of the collision or risk losing your right to this coverage.
Partial Coverage for Your Lost Income
The minimum PIP coverage accounts for 60 percent of your regular income up to the $10,000 limit. Your regular income can include tips, bonuses, benefits, and hourly rates.
Minimum PIP coverage in Florida will pay $5,000 for each person who passes away in a car accident. Death benefits can account for funeral, burial, and memorial expenses.
The Pros and Cons of Living in a No-Fault State for Car Accidents
There are some pros and cons that come with pursuing damages in a no-fault state. Consider the following:
Pro: PIP Aims to Straightforward Access to Medical Coverage
PIP offers prompt and efficient access to medical coverage. You file a claim with your PIP coverage and ideally get compensated. It also offers options if you get into an accident with an uninsured driver.
Pro: PIP Doesn’t Require Proving Fault
To access the benefits of your PIP coverage, you don’t have to prove that another party caused your accident. You pay premiums to keep the policy active, and you’re entitled to that coverage when you need it.
Con: PIP Doesn’t Pay for Everything
As noted, the minimum required PIP policy covers 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost income. That could still leave you with out-of-pocket expenses.
Con: PIP Comes With Strict Deadlines
To file a claim with your PIP provider, you must seek medical attention within 14 days of the collision. Yet, you might not have experienced symptoms until weeks after the crash. This could make seeking damages under your PIP policy complicated if you didn’t seek medical attention immediately.
You Have Limits to Seeking Damages Outside of the No-Fault System
For many people who get into minor collisions, PIP covers their medical expenses and other various losses. However, the $10,000 might not even put a dent in a seriously injured person’s situation. So, in certain situations, the state allows you to file a claim beyond your PIP coverage and seek damages from the other driver’s insurer.
Per Florida Statutes § 627.737, injuries that allow you to file a fault-based claim include:
- The significant or permanent loss of a bodily function
- Scarring or disfigurement
When you work with our car accident lawyers, they can evaluate your situation and explain what options you have for seeking financial recovery.
What if the Insurance Company Denies Your PIP Claim?
You would think that by maintaining a PIP policy, your own insurer would grant coverage when an accident happens. That’s not always the case. Insurance companies are motivated to make profits by selling policies––not paying for claimants’ damages. The insurer could deny your claim because it believes:
- You are seeking coverage for damages not covered by PIP, such as property damage expenses.
- Your injuries aren’t serious enough to merit compensation.
- You delayed the necessary medical care.
You have legal options if the insurance company denies your claim. For instance, you could file an appeal with the help of Meldon Law. We can assess the reason for your claim’s denial, assess the value of your losses, and seek financial recovery from the liable party.
Lawmakers Made Recent Changes to Florida’s Personal Injury System
HB 837 has made some changes to Florida’s personal injury system, some of which aren’t exactly clear-cut. Those changes include:
- Florida has a 51 percent bar. If you’re found to have caused more than 50 percent of the accident, you can’t recover damages. Before, you could file a claim regardless of who caused the collision. Even if you caused 90 percent of the crash, you could seek damages. Not anymore.
- You have a limited time to seek damages. Under Florida’s statute of limitations, you now have two years to file a lawsuit. Previously, you had a four-year filing window.
Begin Your Free Case Review With Meldon Law
Given the provisions of HB 837, Florida’s no-fault laws can be challenging to navigate. If you still have questions about navigating the claims process, Meldon Law encourages you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can calculate your damages, work toward a fair outcome, and pursue the compensation you need to cover your auto accident-related expenses. Dial (352) 373-8000 to get started.