Navigating Florida’s No-Fault System After An Accident
An automobile accident is always a difficult life event to get through, but dealing with liability and insurance afterward can be ten times worse. Unlike most other states, Florida has a pure no-fault system, which can sometimes be a blessing and sometimes a curse for injured drivers. If you have been hurt in an auto accident in Florida, you must understand the laws surrounding your ability to seek compensation.
Insurance For Every Driver
Florida has chosen a no-fault system of auto insurance, which means that every driver in the state must (PIP) and $10,000 in bodily injury liability coverage (BIL). In theory, this gives every driver (and passenger, depending on the situation) enough insurance coverage to draw on to ensure that any medical bills they incur will be paid, especially since Florida law requires that any ‘emergency medical condition’ you sustain must be covered up to a certain point by law.
That said, the insurance requirement is not universally enforced – Florida has, as of this writing, the highest percentage of uninsured drivers at roughly 26 percent, with thousands more underinsured. This means that sometimes, a person may be in an auto accident involving a person who has no insurance. If this happens, you may need to rely on your own insurance, but it is not as easy as simply declaring your intention to do so.
How To Be Compensated?
Perhaps the most important thing you can be aware of if you live in Florida – or indeed, any other no-fault state – is that most of the occasions where a car accident happens, the first person you will contact to settle your medical bills is your own insurance. Florida law makes PIP insurers liable for 80 percent of “all reasonable expenses for medically necessary … services,” if you seek medical treatment within 14 days of your accident. However, this still leaves 20 percent where you may remain on the hook, so to speak.
Be advised that there are rare occasions in Florida where you are permitted to file suit against the person who allegedly harmed you. The law allows suit when you have suffered a permanent and disabling injury, or when you have lost the use of a significant bodily function, but if neither of these have occurred, your case will generally be a non-starter. The spectre of permanent disability moved the Legislature enough to allow suit, simply because caring for a disabled person can be a constant and expensive endeavor – but nonpermanent disability is not given the same weight.
Contact An Orlando Auto Accident Lawyer
Personal injury protection coverage is meant to ease people’s worries after an accident, but it and Florida’s no-fault system can sometimes create more worries and concern for an injured driver. If you need help navigating the system, contacting the Orlando car accident attorneys at the Hornsby Law Firm is a good first step toward getting your bills paid. Telephone our office today for a free consultation.