Could Florida be Enacting a No-Fault Bill?
Florida is currently a no-fault auto insurance state, but a third attempt by legislators may change that law.
Most states in the country are considered tort states when it comes to auto insurance. Under tort law, when two parties are involved in a collision and one person is at fault, the injured party must file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company or file a lawsuit against the driver directly.
Florida is one of the handful of states that is governed by no-fault auto insurance laws. Under this law, injured individuals must file a claim with their own insurance company, regardless of which party was at fault. Now, Florida legislators are trying once again to change the law, but it is not without controversy.
The Proposed Changes
Currently, all motorists in Florida are required to carry $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that will cover their medical expenses, disability, and funeral expenses in the event of an accident. Non-emergency medical care is capped at $2,500 under these laws. Motorists that are involved in an accident can claim this insurance coverage without regard to fault, but they do forfeit their right to a tort claim.
Under the proposed law, which is Senate Bill 54, all drivers would be required to carry a minimum of $25,000 in coverage for the death or injury of one person and $50,000 for the injury or death of two or more people. The law would also require motorists to carry $10,000 of coverage for property damage. The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee has already approved the bill and it will now go before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Along with the bill, the panel also approved an amendment that included a bad faith provision. The provision would require such measures as a very restrictive demand-for-settlement letter.
Reaction to the Bill
The bill has gained support from some lawmakers that argue it would save Florida motorists approximately $81 in insurance coverage each year. Currently, Florida drivers pay the third-highest premiums in the country. However, the bill has also received some criticism.
One critic of the bill, Senator Darryl Rouson, was also a co-sponsor of the proposed legislation. Rouson believes that the bad faith provision is too restrictive and would actually benefit insurers and not consumers, which counteracts the purpose of the bill. Other lawmakers argue the bill will actually significantly increase costs to motorists and that drivers would pay between $143 and $350 more in insurance costs a year.
This is not the first time such a bill has been proposed in the Florida Legislature. In 2018, a similar bill was passed through only one Senate committee before the session was adjourned. Last year, another bill passed through three House panels but died on the floor.
Have You Been Hurt in a Crash? Call Our Florida Car Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a crash, claiming the compensation you need is difficult, even with Florida’s no-fault laws. At Ged Lawyers, LLP, our knowledgeable Boca Raton car accident lawyers can negotiate with your insurance company to recover the settlement you deserve. Call us today at (561) 995-1966 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case review and to learn more about how we can help.