No Fault Auto Insurance
After being involved in a traffic collision caused by a negligent driver, most people assume that the first step in receiving compensation is to file a claim against that other driver. However, Florida is one of 12 no-fault insurance states, which means that both parties are required to seek financial compensation from their own insurance companies first, regardless of who is at fault, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Whether you file a claim under your own PIP policy, or seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company, an attorney can help streamline the process and ensure that you are compensated adequately and fairly.
PIP, Which is Required in Florida, is the First Step Towards Compensation
In Florida, as with other no-fault insurance states, all drivers are required to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) as part of their auto coverage. PIP insurance covers the driver’s own:
- Bodily injury expenses;
- Lost wages; and
- Death benefits.
PIP does not cover the other party’s expenses.
However, PIP only covers a percentage of each of these aforementioned damages, and only up to a relatively small amount. A $10,000 PIP policy, which is the minimum coverage in Florida, only covers up to $8,000 in medical bills. This same policy covers 60 percent of your lost wages, but maxes out at $6,000 total. The average hospital stay costs over $10,000, according to Business Insider, and does not take into account pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost earning capacity, scarring, disfigurement, or lost wages. Obviously, something is missing here. As such, one’s own PIP policy has an obvious lack in funds for someone who is seriously injured by another party. The no-fault insurance system was designed to reduce the cost of auto insurance by removing small claims from the court system, essentially making insurance companies more profitable and the likelihood of true compensation more difficult for victims.
When You Can Sue the Other Party
In order to sue the other driver or their insurance carrier, victims must prove that their injuries reach a certain threshold, otherwise they are stuck with their own meager PIP benefits. Under statute 627.737, the threshold for suing the other party can only be met by proving one or more of the following:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring of disfigurement;
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement;
An Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer is Here to Help
Florida’s no-fault law throws a wrench into personal injury claims caused in traffic collisions, and makes it more difficult for victims to be fairly compensated by the other party. Unfortunately, the no-fault law is one of the many reasons why driving, walking, and riding are so dangerous in our state. Whether your injuries are moderate or severe, we urge you to call an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney. Contact the Payer Law today at 407-307-2979 to schedule a free consultation.