Is Florida a “No-Fault” State, and What Does That Mean?
If you’ve been in a car accident in Florida, you might be surprised to learn that Florida is a no-fault state. What does that mean for Florida drivers? Can you still take an at-fault driver to court to recover damages for an accident in a no-fault state?
What Is the Meaning of the “No-Fault” Law in Florida?
The short answer is YES. “No-fault” simply deals with who is responsible for your initial medical treatment. The at-fault party is still responsible for your damages.
The no-fault insurance law in Florida means that any person who sustains injuries in a car accident should turn to their own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy for coverage. PIP will cover medical expenses, lost wages, and associated costs for your physical injuries after an accident up to your coverage limit.
Your PIP coverage will cover 80 percent of “necessary and reasonable” medical expenses from the accident, including hospitalization, surgeries, dental restoration, ambulance rides, and other essential treatments. It will also pay 60 percent of lost wages and lost future earnings. To qualify for your PIP coverage, you must seek initial treatment for your injuries within 14 days of the accident.
Your PIP coverage also covers injuries of passengers in your vehicle. In some cases, your injuries or a passenger’s injuries exceed your coverage limits or exceed the “injury threshold” for the severity of injuries. In that case, you or your passenger may pursue additional compensation from the driver who caused the accident in a personal injury lawsuit.
Florida Minimum Insurance Requirements
In Florida, the minimum vehicle insurance requirements include the following:
- $10,000 in PIP (protection insurance policy) coverage
- $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage
This is also called “full coverage”.
Unlike most states, Florida does not require bodily injury coverage (BI coverage), which is the insurance that some carry to be protected if you injure another person in an accident. As Florida law only requires PIP and PDL coverage, many drivers don’t have insurance or have too little to cover most costs if they cause an accident. Because of the high risk of someone without insurance causing an accident, you should have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage on your policy. UM/UIM coverage protects YOU if you are injured in a car accident by someone else’s negligence. We advise all of our clients to purchase UM/UIM coverage.
Seeking Compensation for a Car Accident Injury
If you seek additional compensation for your injuries against the other driver, you can either file a claim through their bodily injury coverage if they carry it on their policy or file a personal injury lawsuit against them.
If you are injured in a car accident, you are entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to objectively verifiable monetary damages, such as past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, rental expenses, etc… Non-economic damages include,
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life
- Loss of consortium (companionship with a spouse)
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Scarring or disfigurement
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
Non-economic damages don’t have a set dollar value like a medical bill. Instead, a jury will attempt to estimate the value of your mental or emotional trauma due to your injuries or the value you provided to your household and family before suffering your debilitating injuries.
To recover damages for your injuries, you or your attorney must prove negligence on behalf of the other driver. Proving negligence requires that the other driver owed you a duty of care, that they neglected that duty, that their negligence caused the accident, and that your injuries are due to the accident they caused. For help building your case, contact an experienced Florida car accident lawyer.
Contact a Key West & Marathon Car Accident Attorney
Florida is a no-fault state. If you need help managing an injury claim with your insurance company or seeking compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, contact us at Florida Keys Injury. Call one of our three South Florida offices today at 786-605-8500 or contact us online for a free consultation.