Introduction to Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Laws
Most states in the U.S. follow an “at-fault” liability model, where the insurance provider for the driver determined to cause the crash pays for all the damages stemming from the accident, including medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering costs.
However, Florida follows a no-fault model, where your insurance company covers certain expenses regardless of who caused the accident. Instead of the at-fault driver’s insurance paying for all medical costs, each driver’s PIP policy covers their own medical expenses.
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What Are the Damage Limits for Florida PIP Claims?
One benefit of Florida’s PIP insurance claims is that you receive payment quickly after an auto accident. There’s no fight between insurance companies regarding who caused the crash. Additionally, what the insurance company must pay for is clearly outlined.
The major drawback to PIP; however, is the legal maximums on reimbursement. In Florida, PIP coverage tops out at $10,000. No-fault insurance covers 80% of your medical expenses following a crash. It also reimburses you 60% for any lost wages stemming from missed employment. However, no matter how high your medical bills reach, $10,000 is the most you’ll see from your insurance company under Florida’s PIP laws.
The $10,000 covered by PIP won’t go as far as you may think. For example, a standard broken leg costs $7,000 to fix. Car accident traumas often include injuries to multiple areas of the body. Any overnight stay in the hospital, such as after a concussion, can result in you approaching the $10,000 cap. Now you’re stuck footing the bill for any medical costs beyond PIP coverage.
What Is a Serious Bodily Injury?
Despite being a no-fault state, Florida allows you to sue another driver or their insurance company if you suffer a serious bodily injury and the other driver was negligent.
Florida state law defines a serious bodily injury as any of the following:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury that goes beyond scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement if they are significant
If you suffer any of the above injuries, you can avoid Florida’s no-fault vehicle laws and seek to hold the other driver liable for the harm they caused.
Comparing PIP Coverage to Personal Injury Lawsuits
While PIP only allows you to recover medical expenses and lost wages, up to a maximum of $10,000, a personal injury car accident lawsuit can allow you to receive much more.
The types of damages that you can seek include:
- Reimbursement for medical expenses
- Full economic damages, including lost wages
- Noneconomic losses like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience
Additionally, there’s no maximum amount capping your recovery in an injury lawsuit. You’re able to seek compensation for all injuries you endured from the car accident. Therefore, if you suffered a severe injury in a crash, it’s crucial that you retain a car accident lawyer to help secure the full amount you’re owed.
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Recovering Property Damage After a Florida Car Crash
Florida’s no-fault auto insurance laws don’t affect how property damage is covered after a car crash. To receive reimbursement for the cost of your car repairs, you can file a claim against your personal insurance policy if it includes collision coverage, or you can file a liability claim against the other driver’s insurance policy if they were at fault.
Traditional liability laws mean that the at-fault driver or their insurance company owes you for all property damage stemming from the wreck. This typically means the costs to repair or replace your vehicle, but it can also include costs for repairing or replacing your personal property that was inside your car. If the crash ruined your phone, laptop, or other items, the other driver is responsible for making you whole.
Property damage costs can add up quickly following a traffic accident and being without a vehicle can cost you employment opportunities or wages. If an insurance company is unwilling to cover your property damage, you can sue to enforce your rights.
When Do You Need a Florida Car Accident Lawyer?
Being in a traffic accident is a terrible experience, but dealing with insurance companies in the aftermath of the wreck can be even worse. After seeking medical treatment, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced Florida car accident lawyer. Insurance companies will do everything in their power to pay you as little as possible, so it’s crucial that you have a skilled personal injury attorney on your side as early in the process as possible.
The motor vehicle accident attorneys at GED Lawyers can review your case and explain whether you can file a lawsuit to receive full compensation for your injuries. Our skilled legal team has a deep understanding of Florida law, and we will work with your doctors and other medical providers to thoroughly evaluate injuries and damages you’ve suffered.
Whether you’re filing a personal injury lawsuit or a PIP insurance claim, GED Lawyers can help. We know how terrifying this process can be, and we will be by your side every step of the way. Our experienced car crash lawyers can evaluate your case and determine the best way to win you the most compensation possible. To meet with a member of our team, contact our office at 844-443-3529 or online to schedule a free review to discuss your case.