There are many complex issues to consider when a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian. This article’s intention is to help you make some sense of the basic multi-layered insurance compensation factors in a pedestrian vs. auto accident.
When a driver hits a pedestrian, the main question is often: Whose fault was the accident? Generally, fault is determined by the law of negligence. A person who fails to use a reasonable standard of care under the circumstances of the accident might be considered negligent. Both the driver and the pedestrian can be negligent, however. For example, the pedestrian might have been illegally crossing the street while the driver might have been speeding.
Which Insurance Covers?
Injured pedestrians can be covered under one or more auto insurance policies. Injured pedestrians can also be covered under their own health and disability insurance, or worker’s compensation coverage if the accident occurs on the job.
Auto Coverage Types
The federal government has long made it clear that state law dictates what form of liability insurance individuals must maintain to lawfully operate a motor vehicle. There are two basic types of auto coverage, no fault and comparative fault coverage. States that follow no fault coverage require insurance companies to pay for medical expenses of their own policy holders, regardless of who is at fault. This is also known as Personal Injury Protection or PIP.
States that follow comparative fault coverage allow a pedestrian to sue the driver for negligence even if the pedestrian’s own negligence also played a role in the accident. The pedestrian’s recovery will be reduced, however, by the percentage of fault attributable to him or her. For example, if a pedestrian suffers $100,000 in damages during a car accident, a jury will be asked to determine what percentage of the accident was caused by the driver and what percentage was caused by the pedestrian. If the jury finds the driver to be 70% at fault and the pedestrian 30% at fault, then the pedestrian will be awarded $70,000 in damages ($100,000 minus $30,000 for pedestrian’s fault).
Auto Coverage In Florida
Florida is both a no fault state and a comparative negligence state. In fact, Florida became the first no fault state in the country back in 1972, meaning that each person’s own insurance company pays for his or hers injuries under PIP regardless of who is at fault. Florida requires all Florida residents who drive or own a vehicle to carry auto insurance that must include $10,000 in PIP coverage and a minimum of $10,000 in Property Damage Liability. PIP protection pays for 80% of the insured’s injuries and 60% of lost wages to the insured regardless of fault, up to $10,000. Property damage coverage pays for damages to the property of other persons caused by the insured, if the insured person was at fault.
Many Florida drivers are not aware that their insurance policies may actually protect them if they are injured as a pedestrian under PIP coverage.
No Fault to Comparative Fault
Florida is a no fault state, which means that a pedestrian’s own insurance policy will pay for his or her injuries under PIP. But, what happens if the pedestrian’s injuries exceed his or her PIP coverage limit? In other words, what happens if the pedestrian’s injuries are $100,000, PIP coverage (the pedestrian’s or the driver’s) pays $10,000, who pays the remaining $90,000?
In situations in which damages exceed insurance coverage policies (or if there has been a permanent injury or disfigurement), Florida shifts from a no fault to a comparative fault state. This means that after the pedestrian has exhausted their insurance policies to pay for injuries caused in the accident, he or she may then file a lawsuit against the driver to pay for the remainder of their damages. In those instances, the pedestrian’s percentage of fault will be deducted from the total amount awarded to him or her.
Insurance coverage in pedestrian accidents is multi-layered and complex. This article contains only basic information. Please feel free to give me call for more information on your individual case at 800 373 8000 or contact me on line. Information and case evaluations are always free. I also suggest that you request or download my free insurance booklet to help you understand Florida insurance further.
For more information, please see:
What is PIP insurance? What does Florida being a no fault state mean?
Hello, I am Jeffrey Meldon. As an accident attorney, I strongly believe that public education is the first step in the prevention of an accident or in the recovery from one.
My Office and Assoicates are located in Gainesville, Florida. We are Personal Injury Attorneys (Accident Lawyers). I take pride in my work and the results that I and my experienced team of Associates and Staff get for our clients.
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