By Marcus Fernandez
If you get into a car crash, keep in mind that insurance regulations and policies can vary depending on which state a car accident occurred. Until you reach an “injury threshold” in a no-fault car accident and seek medical treatment, it’s pretty easy to ignore the answer someone gets when they ask the question, “Does Florida have a no-fault system?”
Most of the time, the information given by the insurance company when someone calls to report an accident and to file an insurance liability claim is confusing. However, the KFB law firm is here to help! The answer is simple — Florida is a no-fault state, but beware of what your own insurance company may tell you about submitting the bills for medical treatments to them for payment. It is best to consult an attorney or law firm if you are having problems getting accurate information from your insurance company. During the insurance claim process, companies can deny a no-fault state claim or deny you the full Florida no-fault car compensation you’re owed for your injuries and damage.
What Is Covered Under a No-Fault Policy in Florida?
Keep reading to learn more about how no-fault affects your right to be compensated when injured in a motor vehicle collision and how a personal injury attorney can help you file a claim with a no-fault insurance policy carrier.
The procedure followed in most states, which lawyers refer to as “fault states,” is for a person injured in an auto collision caused by the aggressive driving of another motor vehicle to retain the services of a personal injury lawyer. The lawyer files a lawsuit seeking damages against the other driver, who is responsible for causing the accident.
Some of the damages recoverable in personal injury lawsuits include, but are not limited to:
- Medical expenses or medical bills associated with hospitalization, rehabilitation, physical therapy, personal bodily injuries caused by car accidents
- Lost wages and benefits due to the injured party being unable to work while recovering from the severe injuries of the car accident
- Lost or diminished future earnings for an accident victim suffering a full or partial disability
- Compensation for pain and suffering endured by the victim
- Repair or replacement of personal and private property damaged liability during a car accident
Maximum recovery of any damages by accident victims in a fault state using fault car insurance or even fraudulent claims depends upon the police report and the ability to prove it was the negligence or fault of another party that caused the car accident. Victims found to be partially at fault in causing the accident or injuries suffered may have awarded damages reduced as a result.
However, The process for handling claims for damages is quite different in Florida, and our team at KFB law can share its professional expertise with you or provide a free consultation or even a lawyer referral service and send you in the right direction.
Only 12 states have a form of no-fault car insurance law. Some states, such as Florida, make it mandatory for their drivers to carry no-fault car insurance, while others make it optional.
Drivers and their passengers injured in a no-fault car accident submit their claims to the no-fault insurance company covering their vehicle or property damage liability.
No-fault benefits usually include payment of medical expenses or medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket costs related to the injuries, regardless of who may have been the at-fault driver.
In a no-fault state, what an injured party may expect to receive may differ from one state to another. One thing no-fault states have in common is that injured parties submit claims to their own insurance coverage carriers. Submitting claims allows injured parties to potentially obtain compensation without filing a lawsuit or proving negligence on the part of another driver.
What does no-fault state mean in Florida?
Drivers in Florida must carry $10,000 of personal injury protection coverage, also known as PIP liability coverage or PIP claim insurance, to satisfy the state no-fault law.
A personal injury protection policy includes $5,000 in death benefits.
Injured drivers in an accident in Tampa submit their claim to their own auto insurance company. When the injured party is a passenger in a vehicle or a pedestrian, their insurance claim for personal injury protection or PIP insurance benefits must go through their own car insurance policy.
If a passenger does not own a car but has coverage, they should submit the no-fault personal injury protection PIP claim to the company insuring the vehicle they occupy.
Pedestrians who do not own vehicles must file their claim with the driver’s insurance company for the car that hit them.
Payable medical bills under no-fault or PIP insurance covers the following:
- Health insurance
- Medical treatment
- Prescription medications and X-rays
- Hospitalization after a serious injury or permanent injuries
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Nursing services
- Prosthetic devices
- Lost wages
- Funeral costs if someone loses their life in an accident.
Keep in mind that after a car accident, your own insurance company does not pay all of your medical expenses or lost wages through its personal injury protection coverage or bodily injury liability coverage. You only receive 80% of the cost of medical services. Moreover, you only receive 60% of lost wages up to the policy limit of $10,000. If your injuries are not considered an “emergency medical condition,” your reimbursement is limited to $2,500, or just 25% of your policy limit. (Florida Statute 627.736)
What exactly qualifies as an “emergency medical condition?” Without legal know-how and medical evidence, it can be hard to prove to an insurance company that you suffered an emergency medical condition. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced personal injury attorney such as the Kinney, Fernandez & Boire personal attorneys on your side after a car accident.
How no-fault law affects accidents
No-fault insurance does not compensate for the pain and suffering you endured because of the injuries suffered in a no-fault car accident. Nevertheless, Florida law restricts your right to sue another party to recover damages beyond what personal injury protection coverage pays. An accident victim may have the right to bring a lawsuit when injuries consist of one or more of the following:
- Permanent loss of mobility after a significant bodily injury
- Permanent and significant scarring
- Permanent injury identified by medical professionals
There are steps you can take to protect your right to sue in Florida and other no-fault states. These steps include documenting as much as you can about the accident, including gathering:
- Names, license numbers, and contact information of all drivers involved
- Insurance company information for all vehicles
- Year, make, model, color, and vehicle identification number of each party involved
- Names and contact information of all witnesses to the accident, including occupants of all vehicles and pedestrians
Also, you can use your smartphone or any available device to take pictures and recordings of the accident scene, damages incurred, and the locations of all vehicles. Information gathered immediately after an accident can assist your attorney in evaluating your options for compensation.
Do you need a Tampa car accident attorney to file a no-fault claim?
While hiring a car accident attorney or law firm is not required to submit a claim to a no-fault insurance company in the state of Florida, a Tampa personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and inform you of your options in the case of a car accident claim that your own insurance company denies or tries to withhold compensation from.
With over 50 years of combined experience, the legal team at KFB Law firm knows how to stand up to your insurance company so that you can get the financial help you need if you or a family member are car accident victims. To learn more about your rights under Florida no-fault state law, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys of Kinney, Fernandez & Boire for a free consultation or call us at (813) 452-4518.
Is your insurance claim a First or Third-Party claim? Learn more by reading this blog.