If you are a resident of Florida, then you must have heard the statement “no-fault state,” usually in relation to car accidents. Insurance companies are very secretive about their policies and do not disclose them until or unless you are a motor vehicle accident victim. Thus, it is important that you, as a resident, are aware of the laws, regulations, insurance coverage, etc., and know how it all works. This article will discuss Florida’s no-fault insurance claim and how you can get maximum compensation for your loss. Let’s get started!
Understanding Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law
Florida is among the few dozen states that follow a no-fault insurance policy for car accidents. This law states that after a motor accident, no matter who is at fault, your insurance coverage, known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in Florida, will cover the medical bills and other financial losses that occurred as a result of the accident, up to the limit of the insurance.
Almost all motor vehicles are covered by PIP, except for motorcycles. The state also requires non-residents to have no-fault coverage if their stay exceeds 90 days. There are also limits to what no-fault and PIP insurance covers. For instance, you cannot claim insurance for emotional loss, such as pain and suffering, or non-monetary damages resulting from the motor vehicle accident. To better understand Florida’s no-fault insurance law, let’s look at Personal Injury Protection (PIP).
What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
The minimum PIP requirement in Florida is $10,000. This amount is paid to the policy owner to cover losses that occurred due to motor vehicle accidents. Officially, PIP coverage applies to any injuries arising from a motor vehicle’s ownership, maintenance, or use.
As mentioned above, PIP doesn’t cover everything. It only covers the following:
- 80% of the medical treatments up to a $10,000 limit per person.
- 60% of disability up to a $10,000 limit per person. Disability means loss of wages, missed work, and hiring staff to help you do chores you normally do yourself.
- Travel to and from any medical facility.
- PIP also covers $5,000 for death.
As you can see, PIP coverage only covers monetary losses. However, there is a way to get out of Florida’s no-fault law when total losses exceed the $10,000. You can file a lawsuit against the person who caused the injury and get compensated for pain and suffering and non-monetary losses, depending on if your injuries adhere to the “Serious injury” threshold set by the state.
What Is a Serious Injury Under Florida’s No-Fault Insurance State?
As mentioned above, there is a serious injury threshold set by Florida’s government to determine if they can move around the limitations of a no-fault state policy and get compensated for their losses as a result of motor vehicle accidents. You have to experience at least one of the following serious injuries to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily functions
- Permanent injury, within a reasonable degree of medical probability
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
By experiencing any of the above serious injuries, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver and gather the necessary evidence to support your claim through the help of attorneys.
Who Is Covered Under Florida’s No-Fault Insurance
Understanding who is covered under Florida’s no-fault PIP coverage can be tricky. We have broken them down into points to get a clear idea.
- PIP is bought as a part of your car insurance but also covers situations in which you are not in your car.
- Any relatives or members of the PIP insurance owner’s household will be covered.
- The insurance owner’s children will be covered if involved in the insured car crash or any injuries that occur in another motor vehicle, like a school bus.
- The insurance owner will be covered even if they are in someone else’s vehicle during the crash.
- Uninsured or other people that sustained injuries while driving in your insured vehicle.
Florida’s no-fault PIP insurance will also cover the costs of injuries sustained if you are driving in your insured vehicle in another state.
Car Accidents in No-Fault States
In Florida, every car owner needs to have car insurance in place. This includes:
- $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP)
- $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) (used when you damage someone else’s vehicle or other property in an accident).
If you are a motor vehicle accident victim and want to claim your PIP insurance or file a lawsuit, you need to follow certain steps. For instance:
- You must notify your insurance company as soon as you get in an accident to avail the benefits of PIP.
- You need to see a doctor within 14 days of the accident and get diagnosed with an “emergency medical condition” to avail the full $10,000 amount, or you will only receive $2,500.
How to File a Claim under Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law
Now that you know what Florida’s no-fault insurance law means and how it works for car accidents, the next step is filing a claim if your injuries fall under any of the specified conditions mentioned above and if your losses exceed the $10,000 PIP coverage amount. Here is a step-by-step guide to filing a personal injury lawsuit:
- Seek medical care: No matter how “okay” you think you are, seek medical care immediately. Often, physical and outward injuries take a few hours or days to become prominent; thus, getting a full check-up is necessary after a car accident.
- Collect evidence: You probably won’t be in the state to think clearly after a car accident. However, it’s important to stay vigilant and gather evidence before it is tampered with. This evidence includes pictures of the accident, the license plate numbers of both cars, the other driver’s name and car number, statements from eyewitnesses, etc.
- Don’t say yes to anything: Your insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company will reach out to you with an agreement to sign. Don’t sign anything or say anything to your insurance company until you have a lawyer or attorney present. They will make you settle for an insufficient payment to cover your losses (and theirs).
- Proof of negligence: The only way to win a personal injury lawsuit is by providing evidence of the at-fault driver’s negligence. This includes them failing to adhere to all the traffic laws, being negligent while driving, etc.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit in a no-fault state and proving negligence can be extremely challenging. You need professional attorneys that handle such cases to gather evidence timely and accurately and help you get maximum compensation. Reach out to Boca Raton Car Accident Lawyers; they have years of experience and will help build a strong injury claim for multiple injuries.
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