Florida is one of a handful of states with no-fault insurance laws for car accidents. While the majority of states require car accident victims to prove the other driver at fault for an accident so the negligent driver’s insurance company covers property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering, in Florida, accident victims must file claims against their own insurance policy regardless of who caused the accident.
If you are an accident victim in Florida facing your first crash claim, you may wonder, “How does Florida’s no-fault insurance system work, and can I still recover compensation for my losses?”
The no-fault insurance law in Florida has its drawbacks and benefits for accident victims.
A no-fault insurance state offers the advantage of not having to investigate an accident to determine the cause, which can be challenging in some cases. Because you don’t have to prove anyone at fault for the accident, the claim process typically works much faster. This system greatly reduces the number of lawsuits on the courts’ dockets.
Car accident victims in Florida file claims against their own insurance companies regardless of fault. Because of the no-fault insurance system, Florida requires all residents to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance as part of their auto insurance policy. This is a non-liability insurance that covers only the policyholder. The policy pays out up to $10,000 for the injury victim’s medical expenses and lost wages. PIP insurance pays 80% of medical bills and 70% of lost wages until the policy reaches its $10,000 limit.
Florida’s PIP insurance provides coverage for the individual even when driving a rented or borrowed car. It also covers any driving family members living under the same roof as the policyholder. In an accident, Florida’s no-fault insurance pays up to $10,000 per injured person in the vehicle, but with a limit of $20,000 per accident and a $5,000 death benefit. Florida drivers must also carry a minimum of $10,000 in property damage coverage.
Florida’s no-fault insurance law compels car accident victims to file claims only against their own auto insurance unless they’ve sustained serious or catastrophic injuries and the other driver was at fault for the accident due to negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing. The law defines “serious” injuries as those such as limb loss, serious disfigurement, loss of an organ or organ system function, or the permanent loss of an essential bodily function. The “loss of an essential function” is often interpreted as any of the following:
If an injury victim suffers a serious or catastrophic injury with life-altering circumstances, they may file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, the manufacturer of a defective auto part, or a negligent road maintenance agency for their damages.
If a Florida car accident victim suffers serious injuries, and someone else caused the accident, they may pursue a legal claim to recover damages such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and diminished future earning capacity. This works just like car accident claims in fault-based insurance states. The injury victim must investigate the accident and document evidence of negligence showing the following:
A skilled Florida car accident attorney can help determine whether or not an injury victim may make a claim against a negligent driver and then craft a compelling case for compensation. Contact our car accident lawyer in Sarasota and Bradenton today by calling (941) 954-4000 or reaching out online.