Explaining Florida’s No-Fault Law
Perhaps more than any other industry, insurance companies lack transparency when it comes to informing their customers of the products they sell. For most Floridians, understanding the type, level, and extent of their coverage is often gleaned in the event of an accident.
The experienced car accident attorneys at the Shiner Law Group can dispel the complexity surrounding Florida’s no-fault law and help guide you through the claims process to secure a broad range of damages. For over 15 years, we have successfully represented thousands of car accident victims throughout Florida’s communities, recovering millions of dollars, because we are committed to ensuring that you receive the maximum financial compensation in order to not only get your life back, but to make a swift and full recovery.
Insurance companies are motivated by profits and will pursue every tactical advantage to mitigate or fully avoid financial liability. Having a Shiner Law Group attorney by your side means that we are prepared to take your case to court if the other side is unwilling to offer what you deserve. In fact, studies have shown that accident victims are usually able to recover three times more money when they are represented by an attorney.
Understanding the No-Fault System
In 1971, Florida became the second state to adopt the “no-fault” automotive insurance system. Under this statute, which was agreed to between the Florida Legislature and insurance companies, insurance companies are required to provide a basic level of coverage for their policyholders involved in a car accident, regardless of fault, in the amount of $10,000, which is used to cover medical bills and reduced or lost income. This is referred to as Personal Injury Protection, or PIP.
A common misconception persists that since Florida is a no-fault state, drivers who are responsible for causing an accident (and any sustained injuries) cannot have a claim made against them; however, unlike other states that operate under an at-fault insurance system, Florida drivers must report to their insurance company to file a claim, regardless of fault.
It is important for Florida drivers to be aware that Personal Injury Protection does not cover the full extent of damages:
- 80% covers medical bills for injuries sustained in an accident
- 60% covers lost or reduced income
- 80% of medications prescribed
- Travel to and from any medical facility
Exceptions do exist to Florida’s no-fault statute that allows drivers to file a claim directly against another motorist who was responsible for causing the accident: the driver or passenger must have sustained a permanent injury that is directly related to the accident. Florida law defines “permanent injury” as the significant loss of a primary bodily function, a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, significant or permanent scarring and/or disfigurement, as well as death.
Car accident victims who sustained permanent injuries as outlined above are eligible to pursue a claim against an at-fault driver for a broad range of damages, including, but not limited to, medical bills and rehabilitation, reduced or lost income, and pain and suffering.
Another exception that would allow a driver to operate outside of the no-fault system is when medical bills, or reduced or lost income, exceeds the Personal Injury Protection amount of $10,000.