Is Florida a No Fault State? (And What Does That Mean?)Posted on: June 24, 2022
You may have heard the phrase “no fault insurance” bounced around by your friends, neighbors, or even your insurance agent.
Several states (and the territory of Puerto Rico) have adopted “no fault” laws pertaining to auto insurance. But what exactly is no fault insurance and how does it affect you in the event of an accident?
As personal injury attorneys with decades of experience, we have plenty of insight into handling Florida no fault insurance and we believe it’s something every Florida driver should know.
What Is No Fault Insurance?
For starters, “no fault” insurance does not mean that no one is to blame for the car accident.
Rather, under the no fault law, each party is required to turn to their own insurance coverage for compensation for medical bills and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault.
Even though someone is usually “at fault” for an accident, compensation for these medical bills and lost wages does not depend on the person who is at fault.
No fault laws were designed so that those injured in an accident can receive compensation for their medical treatments more quickly, without having to spend valuable time proving who was to blame.
Is Florida A No Fault State?
Yes! Florida is a no fault state. In fact, they are one of 12 different states throughout the country that have no fault laws on the books.
Drivers in some states, like Kentucky, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, can choose to opt out of a no fault policy, but in Florida, no fault insurance is mandatory.
The basis of Florida’s no fault system is that every licensed driver in Florida is required to carry at least $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability, or PDL.
PIP coverage pays for 80% of your medical treatment bills and 60% of lost wages up to your policy limit. The additional 20% and 40%—and anything beyond your limit—is your responsibility.
Florida’s no fault insurance also covers members of the policyholder’s household and vehicle passengers who don’t own a vehicle. PIP also protects you as a passenger and pedestrian. PDL coverage is for when the accident causes damage to another person’s vehicle or property.
Exceptions to No Fault Insurance
No fault insurance does not mean that every reckless driver gets away scot-free.
Every no fault state has a threshold at which injured drivers can file a liability claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.
In some states, your losses must reach a certain dollar amount before you are entitled to bring a lawsuit.
Florida has a “serious injury threshold” which means that the type and severity of your injuries determine if and when you can step outside the no fault system and file a liability claim.
In Florida, car accidents that result in permanent injury or significant and permanent scarring/disfigurement will result in a non-economic claim or personal injury lawsuit.
However, even if the injury is not permanent, the at fault party is responsible for the 20% of medical expenses not paid by your PIP insurance as well as the 40% of lost wages not covered by PIP.
Can I Admit Fault?
From an early age, we are trained to apologize for hurting others. This response is so ingrained into us that some of us even apologize to inanimate objects!
While it’s important to own up to your faults and strive to be better, avoid admitting fault for a car accident at all costs.
Multiple factors go into causing car accidents, from weather conditions to the state of the roads.
By accepting the blame for a crash, you will be ignoring the many factors at play while also welcoming a host of other issues (such as lawsuits and increased insurance premiums).
Many times, people panic and think that they were at fault when a careful analysis of the facts demonstrates that another party caused the crash.
Car accident attorneys, on the other hand, are trained to evaluate all the factors that went into an accident.
Above all else, after an accident, we recommend (1) calling the police, (2) exchanging insurance information, and (3) following up with your insurance company.
When No Fault Insurance Isn’t Enough
In some cases, PIP coverage as required by Florida’s no fault insurance may be all you need to recover from your accident injuries.
But in other situations, the no fault system isn’t enough to cover economic damages, personal injury, or medical payments, and you may need to file a liability claim against the person at fault for the accident.
If you only carry the minimum amount of PIP, your insurance company will pay the providers up to $10,000 for medical bills. This sounds like plenty of money, but remember that they will not reimburse you for every single cent.
A PIP insurance claim will only cover 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages. Even if your total losses were $8,000—under the coverage limit—you will be responsible for 20% of those medical bills while only collecting 60% of your paycheck.
How Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you are permanently or seriously injured in a car accident, Florida’s no fault law may help you financially recover sooner, but $10,000 may only be a drop in the bucket toward relieving your ultimate financial burden.
It is always a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney after a car accident. A licensed and experienced personal injury attorney can review the details of your case and guide you toward a solution that works best for you.
An attorney may be able to help you collect the funds you need to cover all of your bills so you can focus on recovery (rather than worrying about how you’re going to pay for it).
The personal injury attorneys at Beers & Gordon have more than 70 years’ experience working for both insurance companies and injured victims. This background has given us valuable insight into how insurance companies work and thus, how we can fight for you!
Call our law firm today to schedule your free consultation.