Is Florida a No-Fault Car Insurance State?
No-fault car insurance states allow people who have been involved in car crashes to get compensation for the damage to their vehicle and their personal injuries without needing to prove who was at-fault for the crash. If someone was at-fault, the law often takes this into account for especially severe or expensive injuries and damage, and you may be able to claim additional damages against them. However, your right to sue for car accident injuries is often limited in a no-fault state. Miami car accident lawyer Prosper Shaked discuses how Florida’s no-fault auto insurance rules work and how you can get compensation for injuries. For a free consultation on your car accident case, contact The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked today.
What Do No-Fault Auto Insurance Rules Do?
No-fault auto insurance rules allow injured drivers and passengers more access to compensation for property damage and personal injury damages after a car crash, with the trade-off of limiting those damages and your right to sue. This means that if you were injured in a car crash, you might be able to claim your damages more quickly by filing with insurance, but you may not get your full damages. These rules also apply to truck accidents and may even cover you if you are injured in a bicycle accident.
When you are involved in a car crash in Florida, you can file a first-party claim with your car insurance. Instead of filing with the at-fault driver’s insurance, you file with your own insurance. They can cover certain amounts of damage and personal injury based on your policy. Florida law requires every policy to carry at least:
- $10,000 for personal injury protection (PIP)
- $10,000 for property damage liability (PDL)
These are relatively low policy minimums compared to many other states. This means that if someone has only the minimum required policy amount, their insurance will only cover up to $10,000 toward vehicle damage and $10,000 toward their injuries. If the victim of the crash uses up their full policy limit, they may also reach out to the at-fault driver’s insurance and file a third-party claim. This can result in the at-fault party’s insurance paying some of their $10,000 coverage toward the injured person’s needs.
However, $10,000 (or even $20,00 total from both drivers) may not be enough to cover your damages. If you are severely injured and require extensive medical care and miss a lot of work because of your injuries, your damages can easily climb above $10,000. In addition, paying a deductible on your insurance or having a policy that only covers a percentage of your medical care might mean higher out-of-pocket expenses. Insurance also will not pay damages for pain and suffering, which could be a substantial part of your injury case.
When insurance fails to cover your needs, Florida law often allows you to file a personal injury lawsuit instead.
When Can You Sue For Car Accident Injuries with No-Fault Insurance?
Since no-fault rules allow injury victims to get compensation without proving who was at-fault for the accident, there are a few trade-offs. First, these damages may be lower than what you can get in court, including reductions for deductibles and inability to claim pain and suffering damages. Second, you give up your right to sue for many simple car accidents.
When you take your case to court instead of filing through insurance, you may be entitled to claim any damages that result from your accident. That means you can claim your medical expenses and vehicle damage in full without paying a deductible. You can also claim full wages for any work that you missed during recovery and any reduced wages you face as you return to work with an injury. If you experienced significant pain and suffering, you can also claim damages for this physical and emotional distress.
When you file through insurance, you are limited to medical expenses and lost wages up to $10,000 and property damage up to $10,000 (or whatever your policy’s limit is). That means that going to court often pays higher damages, but Florida’s no-fault laws still limit when you can sue.
To reduce the number of lawsuits in the court system, Florida law only allows you to take your case to court under limited circumstances. First, if your injuries exceed the $10,000 PIP threshold, you can sue the at-fault driver instead of relying on insurance. This means potentially higher coverage for your injuries. If your injuries are permanent, e.g. spinal cord injury, brain injury, amputation, a severe limp, or significant scarring, you can take your case to court. You can also always take your case to court if you are suing for the wrongful death of a family member.
Miami Car Accident Injury Attorney Offering Free Consultations
Your auto insurance carrier may claim that you can’t sue for injuries after a car accident in Florida, but Florida’s no-fault rules are not as limiting as they may lead you to believe. If you were injured in a car accident or lost a loved one to a car crash in Coral Gables, Hialeah, Doral, or anywhere in South Florida, talk to Miami personal injury lawyer Prosper Shaked today. For a free consultation on your case and help understanding your options, call The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked today at (305) 694-2676.