If you’re a licensed driver in Florida, you have probably heard the term “no-fault state.” But do you know what it really means? How does it affect you if you’re involved in a car accident? If there is a car accident, how can no one be at fault? As a Florida driver, it is important to understand what “no-fault” insurance actually means.

What is no-fault insurance?

Only 12 states, including Florida, have a form of no-fault insurance law. Drivers and their passengers injured in a car accident submit their claims to the no-fault insurance company covering their personal vehicle. The only time you file a claim under another party’s auto insurance is when you do have your own policy. Submitting a claim allows you to obtain compensation for your injury without filing a lawsuit. 

No-fault benefits
usually include payment of medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket injury-related expenses regardless of who was at-fault for the accident. 

What does no-fault mean in Florida?

It is required by law that all drivers in the state of Florida carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage, which applies if you damage someone else's vehicle or property in an accident. PIP insurance covers all injuries to you, regardless of who was at-fault for the accident. It can also cover you for any lost wages or work days missed due to the injury. 

Under PIP, you can claim the following benefits::
  • Medical care and treatment 
  • Prescription medications 
  • Hospital stays
  • Physical and rehabilitation therapy 
  • X-rays  
  • Nursing or in-home care services 
  • Ambulance 
  • Prosthetic devices

Keep in mind that PIP only pays 80% of medical expenses related to the accident and 60% of lost wages up to the policy limit of $10,000. You can further protect yourself by purchasing coverage above the $10,000 minimum required by law. In order to claim PIP benefits, you must see a medical provider within 14 days after your accident or you waive your rights to these benefits.

How does the no-fault law affect accidents?

The no-fault law does not compensate you for any pain and suffering as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident. Despite these regulations, Florida law limits your right to sue another party to recover damages beyond that PIP payments. As an accident victim, you may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against another party if one of the following circumstances are present: 
  • Death 
  • Permanent or significant loss of a vital bodily function 
  • Permanent or significant scarring 
  • Permanent injury (based on examination by a medical professional)

How can I legally protect myself?

You can protect your right to sue in Florida (and other no-fault states) by documenting as much as you can about the accident. There are steps you can take to protect your right to sue in Florida and other no-fault states. The information gathered after an accident should include but is not limited to:

  • Names, drivers license numbers, and contact information for all drivers 
  • Insurance company information for all drivers and vehicles
  • Year, make, model, color, and vehicle identification number of all involved vehicles
  • Names and contact information of all accident witnesses to the accident, including passengers of the vehicles 
  • Photos of the accident scene as well as the location of all vehicles involved
  • Any information or documentation gathered after the accident that can help your attorney evaluate your options for compensation

At Hudgins Law Firm, our sole responsibility is to YOU. We will fight for the compensation you deserve following an auto accident. We deal with insurance companies and take them to court if necessary. To set up a FREE consultation, call us toll-free at 800-950-5534, or complete the contact form on our website. We’re the right team for you!