Florida is a no-fault state. Florida drivers rely on their personal auto insurance policies to cover their losses after a crash. Understanding no-fault insurance, also called personal injury protection (PIP), can get confusing. A car accident attorney in Tampa, Florida can explain your legal rights and access the compensation you are entitled to through your no-fault insurance.
What is Florida No-Fault Insurance?
Florida is one of many states that follows a version of the “no-fault” car insurance system. “No-fault insurance” simply means that after a car accident, your PIP insurance coverage pays for your medical bills and other damages related to the accident up to policy limits, regardless of who was at fault. Drivers are required to purchase PIP insurance coverage when they register their vehicle in Florida.
What Does Florida No-Fault Insurance Cover?
Florida No-fault insurance covers the reasonable cost of necessary medical treatment. However, drivers may have losses that exceed their PIP coverage, which covers the following:
- 80 percent of medical expenses
- 60 percent of lost income
- $5,000 in death benefits
Florida PIP insurance does not cover every type of medical provider. Your insurance company will not pay for your visit if their service is not named in your policy. Examples of a qualified healthcare professional under Florida PIP law include:
- A physician
- A chiropractor
- A dentist
PIP insurance covers treatment for emergency medical conditions. Florida Statute section 627.32 defines an emergency medical condition as a physical ailment with symptoms that include significant pain that requires emergency medical attention. Examples of emergency medical conditions include:
- Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part
- Serious impairment to bodily functions
- A condition that puts the victim’s health in serious jeopardy
An insurance company might pay a smaller settlement if it finds that your medical expenses are unrelated to the accident or not medically necessary.
How Does Florida No-Fault Insurance Work?
No-fault insurance and how it works can be confusing. In Florida, no-fault insurance pays your losses despite fault up to policy limits. Drivers must file a claim with their insurance company before they receive compensation. An attorney can guide you through the claims process.
How To File a Florida Personal Injury Protection Claim
Florida law requires car accident victims to get medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional within fourteen days after the accident. Failing to get medical care within fourteen days will keep you from your right to financial compensation.
A physician must determine whether the victim suffered from an emergency medical condition. Florida law prohibits access to PIP insurance coverage unless you have an emergency medical condition.
After getting a diagnosis, you must file a claim with your insurance provider. The insurance company has 60 days to investigate whether your claim is fraudulent. Despite Florida law allowing a 60-day investigation, the company must pay your claim within 30 days of receiving it.
Some claims get denied by the insurance company. If your PIP claim gets denied, you might need legal assistance. A Florida attorney who is experienced in fighting PIP denials will advocate for the financial recovery that is rightfully yours.
Is No-Fault Insurance a Part of My Florida Insurance Policy?
Florida law requires every driver to have no-fault car insurance. It is part of every Florida car insurance policy. Florida drivers primarily use no-fault car insurance after an accident. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage pays your medical bills and lost income after an accident up to a certain amount.
There are other coverage options for Florida drivers. Florida law requires that drivers carry Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage. PDL coverage pays for property damage up to a certain amount, including:
- Lost items
- The cost of alternative transportation
- Damage to the vehicle
Florida drivers might opt for more coverage. Drivers can purchase bodily injury liability, collision, comprehensive, and uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance for additional protection.
Bodily injury liability insurance is not mandatory in Florida, unlike in most states. Bodily injury liability insurance provides additional coverage for injury or death.
Collision and comprehensive coverage pays the cost for repairs to your vehicle up to a certain amount. Carrying collision and comprehensive insurance protects you from accident-related theft and damages caused by natural disasters.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance pays for losses that exceed insurance policy limits. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage pays for your medical expenses, lost income, and property damage up to a certain amount if the other driver does not have bodily injury liability coverage. This insurance also covers wrongful death and pain and suffering.
Does My No-Fault Car Insurance Cover My Passengers?
Florida no-fault insurance protects passengers after an accident. The driver’s PIP insurance coverage pays for their passenger’s lost income, medical expenses, and other losses up to policy limits. Passengers who carry individual PIP insurance can use the policy to pay for their losses.
Do Non-Residents Need Florida No-Fault Insurance?
Florida requires that non-resident drivers carry no-fault PIP coverage. Drivers who have regular work inside the state or if they have a child enrolled in a Florida school must purchase no-fault insurance. Drivers must have their registration and license plate within ten days of starting their job or enrolling their child in school.
Will I Need To File a Lawsuit After a Florida Car Crash?
Florida drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 in no-fault insurance coverage. However, some injuries cause more than $10,000 worth of damage. Accident victims with claims larger than $10,000 can sue the liable driver for their remaining losses.
An experienced attorney can file a lawsuit for you. Legal support is valuable, especially if this is your first car accident as you can take advantage of the knowledge and skills attorneys bring.
Can I Recover For Pain and Suffering After a Florida Car Accident?
Florida law allows car accident victims to collect for their pain and suffering in specific situations. If the victims suffered one of the following types of injuries, then they may also recover from pain and suffering:
- An injury that caused significant and permanent loss of a bodily function
- An injury that is likely to result in permanent harm
- The victim suffered from permanent scarring to disfigurement
Do I Have To Repay My Insurance Company If I File a No-Fault Claim?
Generally, drivers do not repay their PIP insurance after an accident. However, drivers of commercial vehicles do need to repay their insurance company if it covers a PIP claim under certain circumstances.
Benefits of Florida No-Fault System
There are several benefits to the Florida no-fault insurance system. Some of the potential benefits Florida drivers can receive from the no-fault system include the following.
- Through no-fault insurance, drivers can avoid filing a lawsuit.
- Drivers work with their own insurance company, and the fault is not an issue. Therefore, accident claims might be paid sooner than in at-fault states.
- Drivers are covered in hit-and-run accidents.
- Florida drivers can rely on their own policy and avoid the trouble they can face with an uninsured driver.
Are There Downsides Because Florida is a No-Fault State?
No-fault states typically have fewer lawsuits, but there are some downsides to driving in a no-fault state. First, Florida PIP insurance offers limited compensation. The $10,000 minimum for PIP insurance can work great for accident victims with minor injuries, but if your losses exceed the minimum, you will need to file a lawsuit to cover your remaining losses.
How Long Do I Have To File a Claim After a Florida Car Accident?
Time is of the essence after a car accident in Florida. Car accident victims do not have an unlimited amount of time to pursue compensation after the crash. If you do not settle with the insurance company, and Florida law allows you to sue, you must comply with the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations is a deadline for suing a driver for damages after a car crash. Florida law gives injured drivers two years from the accident to file a lawsuit against the liable party. If the accident causes a wrongful death, the victim’s surviving family members have two years from the day that the victim died to file a lawsuit.
What Should I Do After a Florida Car Accident?
What you do after a car accident is important to your legal rights. After a Florida car accident, you should immediately see a medical provider. Drivers who do not comply with the PIP 14-day rule will lose their right to recover compensation after an accident. Continue with your treatment plan. Failure to comply with your physician’s order can give your insurance company a reason to decline your claim.
Contact a car accident lawyer. Accident attorneys know how to protect the legal rights of car accident victims. You can rely on their experience to collect the financial compensation you deserve after a Florida traffic accident.
How Can a Florida Car Accident Help Me?
An attorney can help you seek financial compensation after a car accident. Many car accident victims only have a casual understanding of the legal process and what they should expect after a car accident. That is understandable, especially if this is your first accident. An attorney can benefit you in the following ways:
You can expect a fight from the insurance company after a car accident. Although it seems backward to get resistance from the insurance company you pay monthly premiums to, your insurance company is not on your side. Every insurance company is a business and wants to protect its bottom line. Insurance companies save money by denying accident claims.
Having an attorney puts you in the best position for a successful negotiation. Car accident lawyers know how insurance companies operate. Your attorney can avoid any strategies the insurance company might use to avoid paying your damages.
Each car accident is unique. Because each accident has special circumstances, there is no one-size-fits-all way to determine your damages. A lawyer will review your case and help identify relevant facts. After a review of your claim, your attorney will help give you a general idea of how much your case might be worth. Many accident victims tend to downplay their harm. An attorney will affirm how much you have lost because of the crash so you can properly financially recover.
Help Build a Strong Case
An attorney and their legal team will work with you to build the strongest case possible. They will investigate what caused the crash. Lawyers may have access to more resources that can prove your losses than you do. For example, your attorney might have a relationship with an accident reconstructionist. An accident reconstructionist can be a valuable resource to help prove why the crash happened.
Represent You In Court
The case will move forward to court if the insurance company does not offer an adequate settlement amount. Advocating by yourself to a judge or jury can feel intimidating. A lawyer with experience in courtrooms will persuasively present your case.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney Today
Getting an attorney is a great next step after a Florida car accident. Drivers involved in traffic accidents fare better when filing PIP claims as they try to get compensation after a crash.
There is no reason to pursue compensation alone after a crash. Contact a Florida car accident attorney today if you have suffered an injury and get the support you deserve. Making the call to schedule your free consultation is the best way to protect yourself and your future. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by seeking help.