Were you or someone you love injured in a car accident in Florida? If so, here is what you need to know about how Florida’s no-fault law works.
When you’re in a car accident, your insurance policy will cover your medical costs in most cases, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. This personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is a mandatory part of auto insurance in the state.
How PIP (Personal Injury Protection) Works
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulations (FLOIR) defines the primary purpose of PIP insurance. It is designed to give injured parties access to compensation for their injuries quickly without going through a lengthy process to determine fault in an accident. PIP insurance:
- Immediately covers up to $10,000 in medical expenses
- Is required with all auto insurance policies on all registered vehicles in Florida
Can I Get Additional Compensation Outside of PIP?
To get compensation outside of PIP insurance, you must have injuries that meet the “serious injury” threshold. If your injuries are severe enough and your related costs are high enough, you might be able to recover damages from the at-fault driver via their insurance policy, or in some cases, a personal injury lawsuit.
To pursue an at-fault driver via a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit, your injuries must meet the state’s serious injury threshold. According to Florida Statutes § 627.737, your injuries must:
- Involve the permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Be declared permanent to a reasonable medical certainty
- Cause serious and permanent scarring or disfigurement
If a loved one was fatally injured in an accident, specific members of your family may also qualify for compensation. Your car accident lawyer will explain which family members can file a wrongful death action.
What If the At-Fault Driver Is Uninsured or Underinsured?
The Insurance Information Institute (III) lists Florida in the top ten states with the highest number of uninsured drivers. As of 2019, 20.4% of Florida drivers do not carry mandatory insurance. Many other drivers only carry the minimum insurance the state requires.
If your injuries exceed your PIP limits and the at-fault driver in your accident was uninsured or underinsured, you should consider hiring a lawyer for your personal injury case. Their involvement can help you understand which insurance policy to use and when to file a lawsuit.
How Florida Defines Negligence
To hold the at-fault driver responsible for your accident-related expenses, you must prove their negligence. Doing so on your own can be challenging. Your lawyer will help you collect evidence of:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
This evidence typically starts with your official police report. Since the significance of your injuries may make a third-party claim or lawsuit possible, we will also request your medical records. Your lawyer may also locate and interview eyewitnesses to attest to the cause of the accident and expert witnesses to support your right to compensation.
The Benefits of Working With a Personal Injury Law Firm
Navigating Florida’s no-fault law after a car accident can be complex. Without legal guidance and support, it can be difficult to understand when PIP insurance or the at-fault driver covers your losses. A lawyer may benefit your case by:
- Explaining your legal rights to compensation
- Assessing the financial value of your case
- Proving the at-fault party’s negligence
- Proving the severity of your injuries
- Handling all case-related communication
Your lawyer will negotiate with the negligent driver and their insurer. They will also represent you in court, if needed, and provide timely updates on your case.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations
If your car accident injuries are catastrophic, you can pursue compensation from the negligent driver. However, the state imposes a time limit — a statute of limitations — on your right to file a lawsuit.
According to Florida Statutes § 95.11:
- You generally have two years from the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit.
- You generally have two years from the date of a loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Your case is far more likely to be settled out of court than at a trial. If settlement negotiations are prolonged or non-productive, your lawyer will file your lawsuit to ensure you do not run out of time to seek compensation.
Let Us Help With Your Florida No-Fault Case
If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident, your insurance company will generally cover your resulting costs. However, a car accident lawyer from our team can explain how and when you may be able to recover damages from the other involved driver.
Learn more about how Florida’s no-fault law works by contacting our car accident team at GED Lawyers today.