After a vehicle collision, it is your duty as a driver to know how the insurance laws operate in your state so you can file a claim. Insurance laws will determine how to go about requesting compensation for your damages, such as medical bills and property damage repairs. Most states abide by fault-based laws, which hold the at-fault party accountable for his or her actions by making that driver’s insurance company pay for victims’ damages. In 12 states, however, no-fault insurance laws apply to car accidents. No-fault insurance requires every driver to file claims with their insurers, regardless of fault. As of 2019, Florida remains a no-fault state. Our Tampa injury attorneys or Clearwater personal injury attorneys help explain the meaning of no-fault insurance and what happens during a car wreck.
How Do Florida’s Insurance Laws Work?
Despite most states adopting fault-based insurance laws, Florida remains a no-fault car insurance state. Florida’s insurance laws hold that each party involved in a collision will seek damage restitution from their own insurance providers, with no concern for fault. Injured parties do not have to determine fault before filing insurance claims. They may call their insurance companies immediately after the accident to seek financial relief no matter which party caused the collision.
Under Florida’s no-fault laws, an injured accident victim cannot file a lawsuit against the at-fault party in most situations. The victim must accept an insurance settlement as the only available form of compensation. If, however, the victim’s injuries reach Florida’s threshold, the person may have the right to bring a lawsuit outside the state’s no-fault laws. The threshold states that the car accident must have caused significant or total loss of an important bodily function, a permanent injury, scarring, disfigurement, or death.
The no-fault laws in Florida can limit how much a car accident claimant can receive in damages. Since in most cases, the victim will only have the right to file an insurance claim, his or her recovery will only reflect as much insurance coverage as he or she has purchased. This may not completely cover a victim for serious or expensive losses. In a fault state, on the other hand, a victim will always have the option of filing an injury lawsuit if the other party caused the wreck. A lawsuit could result in greater damages than an insurance claim alone.
Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Requirements
Due to Florida’s no-fault laws, the state requires specific insurance coverage for all drivers. Failure to purchase the correct coverage could lead to a fine. It could also force the uninsured driver to pay for his or her losses out of pocket after an accident. Under Florida’s no-fault rules, every driver must maintain at least the minimum amounts of coverage under each mandatory category.
- Bodily injury insurance per person: $10,000.
- Bodily injury insurance per accident: $20,000.
- Property damage liability: $10,000.
- Personal injury protection insurance: $10,000.
The difference between Florida’s insurance requirements and most other states’ requirements is personal injury protection (PIP). PIP insurance covers an at-fault party’s medical expenses after an accident. It can cover the costs of medical treatments, surgeries, ambulances and other health care expenses. PIP insurance also reimburses lost wages. However, PIP will not cover 100% of a victim’s damages. Many victims will still have to pay some money out of pocket even after successful insurance claims in Florida.
When to Call an Accident Attorney
If you get into a car accident that causes serious or catastrophic personal injuries, or the death of a loved one, contact a wrongful death lawyer in Tampa for claim assistance. It may be in your best interest to file an injury lawsuit against the party or parties that caused your crash rather than settling with your car insurance company. Filing an injury claim for a serious or permanent injury could fully reimburse you for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage repairs and other damages, such as pain and suffering. An accident attorney in Tampa can let you know if your injuries are severe enough to qualify you for a lawsuit against another driver, as well as what your claim could be worth.