Florida is one of the several states that have no-fault auto insurance laws. Under this regulation, victims of a car accident must seek damage recovery through their own insurance policies, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This makes it difficult to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for property damage or bodily injury outside of the no-fault laws.
Understanding the consequences Florida’s no-fault system has on a car accident claim is essential. Our knowledgable Florida personal injury attorneys are here to provide extensive information on our state’s no-fault car insurance laws and other specific information that can impact a claim.
The Break-Down of Florida No-Fault Laws
Enacted on January 1, 2008, the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law states that drivers must maintain at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and property damage liability (PDL).
PIP insurance protects the policyholder by covering medical expenses and lost wages as a result of an accident, regardless of who was at fault. It can also cover funeral expenses in the event of a death resulting from the accident.
PDL insurance covers the damages an individual caused another party’s property. For instance, if the driver hit a neighbor’s mailbox, PDL insurance will cover the cost to replace said mailbox. However, PDL will not cover any damages done to the physical vehicle if found at fault. In the above example, it is the driver’s responsibility to pay for damages incurred to their vehicle.
Advantages vs. Disadvantages of No-Fault Laws
When attempting to recover damages, injured drivers do not need to prove the other party was at fault. No-fault car insurance laws also save the at-fault driver from paying for any losses out-of-pocket. Since Florida became a no-fault state, the amount of personal injury cases brought to court have been significantly reduced, as it is much more difficult to file a lawsuit against a driver in pursuit of additional damage recovery.
However, Florida is one of the top ten most expensive states for auto insurance. After a car accident, most insurance companies will raise monthly premiums, regardless of who was at fault. In addition, states that honor the no-fault law leave the door open to insurance fraud.
There have been documented instances in which drivers purposefully cause accidents in order to obtain a PIP insurance payout. Others argue that no-fault auto insurance laws are unnecessary due to the fact that most health insurance plans cover personal injuries.
For those living in a no-fault state like our own, it is important to understand that an auto insurance policy is the main source of financial recovery after an accident. If an accident occurs, after calling the police, contact the insurance company immediately and report the details of the crash. If a claim is accepted, the insurance provider will investigate and offer compensation in the form of a settlement. There is no need to prove fault, however, a driver may wish to do so in order to reduce the chances of an insurance premium increase.