Seeking Compensation Under Florida’s No-Fault Auto Insurance Law
In many states, if you are involved in an auto accident that you believe is the fault of another person, you have the right to file suit against them in district court for the injuries and damages that you suffered. Florida, by comparison, has a different system, referred to as the no-fault system of auto insurance. What this means is that instead of relying on district courts to assess who is at fault and who is liable, Florida requires all drivers to carry insurance, with which they can make claims to get their medical bills paid. However, there are loopholes and exceptions to this system, and it is a good idea to understand them before deciding how to handle an accident case.
Intended To Lower Premiums & Streamline Recovery
Florida’s no-fault system hinges on it requiring all drivers based in the state to carry a certain amount of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance – a minimum of $10,000, plus $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. At least in theory, an injured person can use their insurance to get their medical bills covered – without regard to fault – without having to seek damages from anyone, which also helps ease the backlog in Florida’s district courts.
Florida chose to implement a no-fault system in the 1970s, with the intent that it would lower auto insurance premiums and make it easier for injured plaintiffs to recover damages after an accident. However, neither of these objectives have actually come to pass – in this day and age, plaintiffs often face innumerable roadblocks between them and compensation for their injuries, and insurance premiums in Florida consistently rank among the top five most expensive in the United States.
How Severe Are Your Injuries?
If you are injured in a car accident in Florida, you may be uncertain how to go about recovering for the harm you have suffered. The answer will generally depend on the severity of your injuries. If your injuries were minor, the answer is to file a claim with your PIP insurer (or, in some cases, you may be able to file a claim with the PIP insurer of the other driver involved in your accident). Be advised, however, that no-fault auto insurance does not cover non-economic damages like loss of quality of life or pain and suffering.
If your injuries are more severe, they may meet what is known as the ‘severity threshold’ in Florida law. The general rationale is that “significant and permanent” injuries deserve a chance to hold an alleged tortfeasor accountable, and thus the case should be settled in court, rather than by insurers. If you can show that your injuries are permanent “within a reasonable degree of medical probability,” you can file suit in the district court where you reside, or where your injury allegedly took place.
Contact An Orlando Car Accident Attorney
Being involved in an auto accident can be a frightening experience. Regardless of whether your injuries are minor or major, consulting an Orlando car accident attorney from the Hornsby Law Group can help offer you some insight about what the best legal options might be for you and yours. We are happy to try and assist you. Call our office today at (407) 499-8887 for a free consultation.