What Does Florida’s “No-Fault” Car Insurance Mean?

Understanding Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law

The State of Florida adheres to a “no fault” doctrine when it comes to payment of personal injury insurance claims arising from car, truck or motorcycle accidents.

For smaller auto accidents, no-fault car insurance coverage cancels the need for personal injury claims or lawsuits. All motorists are required to have a minimum of $10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. If you suffer injuries in an accident, PIP benefits in your policy pays for medical (and some non-medical) expenses.

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No-fault car insurance also covers family members in your household who do not have their own policy. So no matter who is at fault, immediately following the accident you would file a claim on your own PIP coverage for compensation of medical costs and certain other damages.

Can I File a Personal Injury Claim against the At-fault Driver in Florida?

Florida’s mandatory no-fault car insurance coverage is rarely adequate to cover severe or disabling injuries. Damages frequently surpass the dollar amount available under PIP coverage where serious or long-term injuries are sustained.

Suppose your injuries exceed $500,000, or even $1 million in damages. When considering possible lifelong disabilities, immobility, future surgeries and treatments, home medical equipment, disfigurement—these are very feasible sums.

In these cases you may also be able to file a claim directly against another driver who is responsible for the accident. These cases require going outside of Florida’s no-fault system. And for Florida courts to permit a liability claim following an auto accident, a “threshold” must be met by the injured party.

Florida’s no-fault car insurance law requires that you meet the “serious injury” threshold.

To compensate for what PIP cannot cover, Florida statutes allow you to sue a negligent driver for your injuries if your injuries are:

  • considered “permanent”
  • significant or permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • significant and permanent loss of important bodily function(s)

In these cases, the personal injury claim seeks financial recovery for a host of medical expenses, income and earnings losses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience due to serious bodily injury and certain other damages.

Terms such as “permanent” and “significant” are somewhat vague and therefore can be a debatable subject of negotiation. Your attorney must demonstrate to the insurance company that your injuries meet the “serious injury” threshold of Florida's no-fault statute.

The insurance adjuster will try to classify that the injuries sustained are temporary and otherwise not serious. In negotiating your claim with the insurance provider, your attorney will need to assemble and organize supporting medical evidence to develop and present a strong, unshakable case.

Examples of serious or permanent injuries often include

Does the At-Fault Party Have Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Coverage?

You may collect up to the total value of your claim from all drivers who are in some part responsible for the accident. To do this, you may file a liability claim under the negligent party’s bodily injury liability insurance, if they have it.

What happens if the at-fault driver does not have bodily injury liability insurance? You may file a claim on your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM) for much-needed compensation to cover the losses caused by the at-fault driver.

Kramer Law: Serving Orlando and Central Florida Car Accident Victims

When injuries sustained are serious, representation from an experienced attorney may prove to be invaluable in a no-fault car insurance claim.

If you have been injured in an automobile accident, you need to speak with an attorney quickly. To find out how our Orlando accident lawyers may be able to assist you, please contact us for a free case evaluation.

Most importantly, your settlement should cover all damages you have suffered. Do not settle without talking to an attorney.

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