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Florida’s No-Fault Law: What You Need to Know About Car Accident Claims

Cassidy Loutos

4 min read

Jun 28

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Florida's No fault law and what you need to know about car accidents with Loutos Law

Accidents are a daily occurrence on Florida roads. While some collisions only result in a few dents and scratches, others cause serious physical injuries. The state legislature passed the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law to make certain Florida drivers have medical coverage when they need it after a car accident.

What is No-Fault Insurance?

In no-fault states like Florida, drivers must carry a minimum amount of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as part of their auto insurance. Regardless of fault in an accident, injured drivers make a claim to their own insurance companies when seeking compensation for medical costs and lost wages.

Benefits of a No-Fault System

The Florida legislature has kept the no-fault system in place because of the benefits it offers Florida drivers. Additionally, the no-fault mandate takes pressure off the legal system.

Less Litigation

No-fault insurance reduces the number of lawsuits related to minor accidents. Since each party's insurance covers their own expenses, there's less incentive to sue the other driver.

Faster Claims Processing

No-fault insurance systems streamline the claims process by eliminating the need to establish fault before claims are paid. This results in faster compensation for medical expenses.

Guaranteed Coverage

Regardless of who is at fault, no-fault insurance ensures that policyholders receive compensation for their injuries and losses up to the policy limits.

Reduced Fraud Rates

With the reduced emphasis on determining fault, there is less opportunity for fraudulent activities, such as exaggerated injury claims or false liability claims.

How No-Fault Insurance Works in Florida

You must show proof of PIP coverage of at least $10,000 before registering your vehicle in Florida. This coverage will typically pay 80 percent of your necessary medical expenses after a collision no matter who was at fault.

This coverage must be continuous even if you’re not driving the vehicle or are temporarily out of state. If you’re making a permanent move, you shouldn’t cancel your Florida coverage until you have surrendered your Florida license plates and registrations.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLSHMV), the failure to maintain the required coverage may result in a suspended driver’s license along with a $500 reinstatement fee.

The Limits of PIP Coverage

No-fault insurance is designed to help drivers recover from injuries they sustain in car accidents by paying up to 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages up to the limit of the coverage. While the state mandates $10,000, individual drivers can purchase a larger policy.

Limits and Caps

The 80% cap of PIP coverage means that policyholders might still be responsible for the remaining 20% of their medical bills. In a serious accident with a long recovery, this can be a heavy financial burden.

The 60% cap on lost wages can also be a problem for some policyholders. Missing 40% of their income for an extended period may not be sustainable.

Excluded Expenses

PIP does not cover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of enjoyment of life. These types of damages can be significant, particularly in cases of serious injury or long-term disability.

Insurance Disputes

Insurance companies may deny PIP claims if they believe the treatment was not medically necessary or if the policyholder failed to comply with policy terms, such as seeking treatment within the required 14-day window.

The Florida Serious Injury Threshold

Florida’s no-fault system includes a serious injury threshold that allows accident victims to step outside the no-fault system and pursue a claim against the at-fault driver. However, meeting this threshold can be challenging. Injuries must be classified as:

·        Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function

·        Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability

·        Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement

·        Death

When to Pursue a Claim in a No-Fault State

If the injuries sustained in a car accident meet the requirements of the serious injury threshold, it may be appropriate to pursue additional compensation through legal action. Filing a claim legal claim after a car accident opens the possibility of seeking a different class of damages such as:

·        Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical pain and ongoing suffering caused by the accident.

·        Emotional Distress: Compensation for the psychological impact of a traumatic event.

·        Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Payment for the ways a serious injury can impact your overall quality of life.

·        Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the impact of the accident on your relationships with your spouse or family members.

Negligence and Car Accidents

Moving from a no-fault system to an at-fault claim involves providing proof of negligence on the part of the other driver. The claim might be against the auto manufacturer if a malfunction played a part in the accident. Florida follows a comparative negligence rule, which means your compensation can be reduced by the percentage the court determines you were at fault.

The Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims in Florida

In personal injury cases, Florida law has a two-year time limit for filing a claim. This period starts on the date of the accident. It’s crucial to act promptly to preserve the right to pursue compensation.

How an Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help Your Case

Pursuing a claim beyond PIP coverage is often necessary for obtaining full and fair compensation after a serious accident. If you have sustained a serious injury from a car accident, engaging an experienced car accident lawyer can help move your case forward.

The personal injury attorneys at Loutos Law have an in-depth knowledge of Florida’s personal injury and car insurance statutes. We can listen to your story, help you gather evidence, prepare your case, and give you outstanding representation in the court system. Please contact us today for a free consultation.

 

Resources:

FLHSMV. (2024). Florida Insurance Requirements. flhsmv.gov.

Florida Legislature. (n.d.). 2023 Florida Statutes: Title XXXVII. Chapter 627.737. Online Sunshine.

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