In January, Florida returned to a partial no-fault car insurance system, after a brief three month break. Each state that has adopted a no-fault system has slightly different laws. Florida’s system is no-fault with regard to medical payments. However, with regard to body damage done to the car, Florida remains a fault state.
Florida law requires that all drivers carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL).
Personal Injury Protection coverage pays for injuries that occur to you while in your own or someone else’s vehicle. PIP also covers members of your household who do not own their own vehicle. PIP is truly “no fault” coverage, in that your insurance company will pay for your medical bills regardless of who was at fault in the car crash. Under a fault system, the company that insured the driver who was at fault would be responsible for paying medical bills and lost wages of the injured driver.
If your medical bills exceed the level of your coverage, you will be responsible for your own medical bills. However, when you reach the “no fault threshold,” you may be allowed to recover damages from the other driver or his insurance company. In Florida, if you have sustained a loss of major bodily function, permanent injury, significant scarring, or disfigurement, you may be able to recover against the other driver.
Unlike fault states, in Florida you may not recover for “non-economic” damages like pain and suffering, mental anguish, or inconvenience unless you have reached the threshold. This is considered a trade-off for the quick settlements for medical bills and lost wages that the no-fault insurance system is supposed to bring.
Property Damage Liability coverage pays for certain damage, up to the policy limit, caused by the insured driver to someone else’s automobile. This coverage is “fault” coverage, in that the company insuring the driver who caused the accident is liable to the other driver for damage to the vehicle.
If you have been involved in an accident and have been injured, contact our offices for a free consultation. If you are eligible for compensation, we can help you file your claims.