Florida No-Fault Laws and How They May Affect You
When it comes to auto insurance, Florida is a “No-Fault” state. Essentially, this means that in case of a car accident, your insurance company will cover you, regardless of which driver was at fault. In theory, No-Fault laws are there to cut down on lawsuits filed over car accidents. If everyone’s insurance company is involved and helping out, there is no reason for drivers to go after one another. And while No-Fault laws may cut down on lawsuits, they may also cause more problems for an injured driver.
First off, the law protects insurance companies by keeping them from giving you full compensation. PIP (Personal Injury Protection) is required for drivers by Florida law. If you are in a wreck, this protection is there to help you cover medical bills and lost wages. But here’s the catch: you won’t recover 100% of your loss, and you’ll still end up spending quite a bit of money.
Florida’s PIP coverage reimburses injured drivers only 80% of their medical bills and 60% of their wages. The minimum coverage for a Florida resident is $10,000. The payback happens only after the driver has met their deducible, as well. This all means that, if you are in an accident, you could still find yourself owing thousands of dollars, despite the fact that you received money from your insurance company. You also have only 14 days after your injury to see a doctor and report any injuries. Are you starting to see the problem, here?
The laws also define the injuries in ways that protect insurance companies. The above examples apply if the driver has suffered no “permanent injuries.” Permanent injuries, under Florida law, are defined by:
a. Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
b. Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.
c. Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
If you’ve suffered one of these permanent injuries, as defined by the law, then you are able to directly sue the at-fault driver. And while there is some comfort in knowing that the law will protect you in severe cases, you may still find yourself struggling if lawyers or insurance companies begin to argue that your injuries are not “permanent.”
If you find yourself injured in a car accident, call a lawyer. Martinez Law is an aggressive law firm that isn’t afraid of the insurance companies. We have the knowledge and experience to go after the compensation you deserve.