Personal Injury Protection: Is Florida a No-Fault State?
Florida is a no-fault insurance state for automobile accidents. In a no-fault state, each driver is required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage to pay their medical expenses after a car accident. PIP coverage pays 80 percent of the medical expenses and 60 percent of lost wages for an injured party regardless of whether of who caused the accident. In Florida, the minimum PIP coverage is $10,000.
The theory behind PIP insurance is to ensure that injured victims receive immediate medical care after a traffic accident without having to wait until an at-fault driver’s insurance company pays a claim. An injured party can only use another driver’s insurance under very limited circumstances under Florida laws.
Because PIP coverage only pays a portion of your medical bills and lost wages, you could be responsible for paying thousands of dollars in damages even though you did not cause the accident. Our Florida car accident attorneys have experience fighting for the rights of injury victims in a no-fault insurance system. Insurance companies don’t want to acknowledge that victims have permanent injuries because they don’t want to pay high injury claims. Let our attorneys take up the fight for you to ensure you are treated fairly under Florida’s insurance system.
Filing a Car Crash Lawsuit in Florida for Damages Exceeding PIP Coverage
If your medical bills and lost wages exceed your $10,000 PIP coverage, you can file a lawsuit against the other driver for your losses. The lawsuit will seek compensation for your financial losses not covered by your PIP insurance. However, you cannot file a lawsuit for non-economic damages (i.e. pain and suffering damages) unless you meet a certain threshold.
Currently, a bill is pending in the Florida legislature to change to a fault system for motor vehicle accidents. Until the legislature passes new laws doing away with the no-fault system, you must prove you suffered permanent injuries to sue another driver for non-economic damages sustained in a traffic accident.
Proving a Permanent Injury Under Florida’s No-Fault Insurance System
Under Florida’s No-Fault Laws, an injury that meets the threshold for a pain and suffering claim is defined as an injury:
- That results in significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- That has a reasonable degree of medical probability that the injury will be permanent
- That results in significant disfigurement or scarring
- That results in death
If one of these conditions is met, an injury victim may be able to file a car accident lawsuit to recover compensation for his or her physical pain, emotional suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience experienced because of the injury.
Common injuries that may qualify as meeting or exceed the threshold include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord or back injuries
- Burn injuries
- Internal organ damage
It can be difficult to determine if an injury meets one of the above requirements for a claim for non-economic damages. You must look at the entire situation to determine how the injury impacts your everyday life and examine the medical evidence to determine if the injury is expected to cause damages indefinitely. An experienced Florida car accident attorney can be very helpful in proving that an injury meets or exceeds the pain and suffering threshold.