If you are a driver in the State of Florida, it is likely that you will have heard mention of no-fault insurance laws and how every driver is expected to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance as a minimum on their vehicle. But what does this mean for you if you have been involved in an auto accident, and how does it impact the personal injury claims process?
If you have been involved in a car accident in the past four years, it is likely that you will be entitled to claim compensation for injuries, medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering you received as a result. To find out more about how an experienced personal injury lawyer from The Law Place could help maximize this compensatory amount, get in touch today for a free consultation. We will discuss your case-specific details in a totally confidential environment and give you free legal advice at no obligation.
All personal injury work conducted by The Law Place in Florida is done on a no-win-no-fee contingency basis, and our phone lines are always open. Call (941) 444-4444 for more information!
What Does the Law Say About a Car Accident That Occurs in a No-Fault State Like Florida?
Florida Statute 627.7407 sets out the laws regarding the no-fault system.
This statute states that when a car accident occurs, both parties deal with their own driver’s insurance company to make a claim, even if the other driver was clearly at fault. This is true for all car accidents, as well as motorcycle accidents and truck accidents.
What Does the No-Fault System in Florida Mean for Car Insurance Coverage Requirements?
No-fault states would not work if they did not require every driver on the road to carry some sort of auto insurance policy as standard. Theoretically, ensuring that everybody has coverage means that each driver is able to deal with their own insurance company correctly after an accident occurs.
Florida Statute 627.736 sets out the minimum required auto insurance policy for this no-fault state. It states that all vehicle owners must have personal injury protection coverage on their insurance policy.
Personal injury protection (PIP) is a legal requirement for any driver in Florida. Driving your vehicle without this minimum level of no-fault insurance will mean that you are considered to be an uninsured driver, and if you are caught or involved in an auto accident, then you risk large fines, the confiscation of your driver’s license, and other legal complications.
Other policies you may have with your car insurance company, such as fully comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, medical payments coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, property damage liability coverage, and bodily injury liability insurance, are all optional extras that are not required by law. Instead, these seek to give you additional financial defense against the potential financial complications involved in an auto accident.
Are Other States in America No-Fault?
While it is the minority, Florida is not the only no-fault state in the United States of America. There are 11 other no-fault states.
It is important to remember that every no-fault state will handle its no-fault insurance policy minimum in a different way. The information on this page concerns Florida as a no-fault state and should not be confused with specific information on the no-fault system in any other state.
Who Is Covered By a Basic PIP Insurance Policy?
Personal injury protection coverage does not only cover your car accident injuries. It also provides PIP coverage for the following other parties:
- If you did not own the car that you were driving at the time of the accident, PIP coverage would extend to the person who insured the vehicle.
- Other members of the same family household who share the vehicle.
- Any passengers inside the vehicle at the time the accident occurred.
- Any party who received an injury from an accident that involved the insured vehicle.
Personal injury protection insurance is designed to cover at least a portion of the medical expenses for all of those listed above.
What Are the Limits of Coverage for Personal Injury Protection Insurance?
As the minimum basic type of insurance coverage, PIP has clearly defined coverage limits that have the potential to be easily overshot by the potential devastation of a serious car accident.
The limits of a basic PIP car insurance policy will be up to $10,000 for out-of-work disability benefits and the cost of medical expenses. An additional $5,000 is also available as death benefits for the family of any loved one who tragically lost their lives as a result of a car accident.
Furthermore, basic PIP no-fault insurance will only cover up to $2,500 in medical expenses when these expenses are not considered an emergency.
Finally, there are even limits inside of these limits. Basic PIP no-fault insurance will only ever cover up to 80% of the total medical expenses and 60% of total lost wages.
How Claiming for Lost Wages From Your Insurance Company Works With Basic PIP Insurance
If one of the results of your car accident was that you were forced to spend time off from work recovering from your injuries, PIP would include benefits that work as a disability living allowance.
Here the insurance claim will provide support for lost wages, which come in the form of a set biweekly allowance. This should usually include considerations for any additional costs involved in running your household with the additional accident-related complications, as long as these complications and expenses can be linked to your accident with proof.
Unfortunately, all of this takes place in an ideal world. It is often the case that your insurance provider will try to unfairly fight or negotiate your no-fault claim under PIP coverage. They may also use tactics like being deliberately slow or obtuse to attempt to put you off.
Thankfully, the personal injury lawyers here at The Law Place are well acquainted with the tricks of insurance companies and can help ensure your process moves smoothly and that you get the support you deserve and are legally entitled to.
What Is the Breakdown of the Medical Expenses That Are Covered by Florida’s PIP No-Fault Car Insurance Laws?
As stated above, PIP auto insurance has been designed to provide coverage for a certain percentage of medical bills, up to a value of $10,000 or 80% of the total for medical bills that cost less than this – as well as a limit of $2,500 for non-emergency medical bills.
Medical bills included in this PIP coverage include:
- The cost of any ongoing physical therapy.
- The cost of any medication you have been prescribed.
- The costs involved with medically necessary imaging exams and scans.
- The costs involved with other laboratory services which are deemed medically necessary.
It is worth noting that some things, such as ongoing physical therapy, are often not designated as emergency medical care under PIP coverage no-fault laws. This means that PIP coverage will only extend to $2,500 for them.
How Do PIP Death Benefits Work in the Tragic Case of an Automobile Crash Fatality?
If you tragically lost a member of your family to a car accident, and they were carrying the minimum auto insurance required by Florida’s no-fault laws, then you will receive a car insurance payout as standard. This amount is capped at $5,000.
While money and auto insurance policies are likely to be the furthest thing from your mind in such a terrible situation, these are designed to help you with costly extras that many families do not plan for. These include the actual cost of burial, funeral expenses, and the impact on your usual household income.
The parties who may be eligible to receive money in this way include:
- The legal spouse who survives the person who lost their lives in the accident.
- The children of the person who lost their lives in the accident, both biological and adoptive.
- In some cases, the person designated as the executor of the deceased person’s estate in their will.
If a member of your family recently lost their life in an auto accident, and you want to know how to go about claiming for the benefits you are entitled to, you need to find personal injury lawyers who are not only skilled but also sensitive to your difficult situation.
Here at The Law Place, we only employ lawyers with the right combination of skill and sensitivity to get a job done right while treating you with all of the care and compassion you need at this difficult time. Call our office today for a free consultation to find out more.
What Happens If the Costs Involved in Your Car Accident Exceed the Limits of Your Own Insurance PIP Coverage?
It is the unfortunate truth that many car accidents that happen on a day-to-day basis in the United States of America cause much more damage than is covered as standard by no-fault car insurance. This is especially true for crashes that cause serious injuries, as we are all only too familiar with the astronomic costs involved with healthcare.
However, if your damages well exceed your no-fault car insurance and the accident was at least partially the fault of the other driver, you can recruit the help of an attorney to help you file a car accident lawsuit.
Car accident lawsuits, especially those handled by a capable attorney, will seek to reimburse you the maximum amount of compensation possible in relation to the damages, injuries, and complications you received as a result of your accident.
To find out if you have a case and how to go about filing a personal injury lawsuit in this way against the at-fault driver, call us today for a free case evaluation and consultation at no obligation.
What Potential Expenses Are Accounted for When You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida?
The expenses claimed when making a personal injury lawsuit are divided into several categories, known as damages. These will be worth more the more severe the complications to you were.
The most common damages sought by attorneys following car accidents include:
- The cost of medical care – Simply by retaining copies of your medical bills, a lawyer can help you fight to recover compensation for the often astronomical cost of medical care.
- Lost wages – Many accident victims lose out on huge chunks of their potential income due to being forced to remain home recovering instead of going into work. Keep copies of all relevant correspondence with your employer, and a lawyer can fight for you to recover this.
- Property damage – It is not only your physical self that can be damaged in car accidents. Often valuables, including the car being driven, are irreparably destroyed, costing you a fortune out-of-pocket. Your lawyer can also fight for you to recover the value of these.
- Pain and suffering – Your lawyer can fight for these aptly-named damages, which calculate a compensation amount by using the length and pain level of your total recovery process. Also covered under pain and suffering are permanent impacts to your lifestyle, such as disfigurement, emotional trauma, impairments, and disabilities.
- Wrongful death – Florida Statute 768.21 allows the family of a loved one who lost their life due to the negligence of an at-fault driver to claim for compensation too. This includes considerations for loss of companionship, loss of consortium, loss of household income, and the often surprising costs involved with your loved one’s funeral and burial.
This is a lot of information, so the best way to find out which categories you could be owed and how much this compensation could potentially be is to get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Here at The Law Place, we operate our phone lines around the clock to provide free case evaluations and consultations so that any accident victim can quickly find out their legal options.
Is There a Time Limit for Making Claims and Filing Lawsuits After a Car Accident Happens?
Unfortunately, every accident that happens in Florida is covered by the statute of limitations, as well as no-fault laws.
Florida Statute 95.11 states that the time limit for making claims and lawsuits after auto accidents is four years. This time begins to expire on the exact day the accident occurs.
There is one exception to this. Families wishing to make a wrongful death claim have an even shorter window of time in which to make their claim, lasting two years from the date of the accident.
While both of these may seem like a long time, especially in the anxious aftermath of an accident, you should never delay when raising a claim. This gives evidence time to disappear, rival legal teams time to solidify their cases, and means less time for your attorney to provide a solid case to maximize your compensation.
Struggles You May Face With Your Car Insurance Company When Making a Claim
Unfortunately, car insurance carriers often have problems recovering the compensation they deserve in a timely manner after car accidents.
This is because car insurance companies are for-profit businesses and will try to protect their profitability by attempting to shirk their financial responsibilities to you.
This may happen in a number of ways:
- They may try to devalue your claim with methods like employing personal investigators to tail you or tricking you into divulging unnecessary information.
- They may refuse or delay payments, or fake administrative delays, to avoid paying you what you are entitled to under your own car insurance coverage.
- They will almost always try to negotiate your settlement amount and almost always lowball you, hoping that intimidation and a lack of legal knowledge will persuade you into settling for an amount lower than your claim’s worth.
The best way to handle your insurance claim is with the help of a skilled and experienced attorney. They will ensure that the company responsible for fielding the insurance claim acts promptly, fairly, and within the limits of the law.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you have been involved in a car accident in the past four years and you are struggling to understand the complexities of Florida’s no-fault insurance laws, we can help you. We can also help you deal with your insurance company if they are giving you any trouble. We can even help maximize your compensation should you need to file a lawsuit to recover damages.
Whatever your no-fault questions or personal situation, you should get in touch with our Florida office today and arrange a free consultation. We will talk through your case in a confidential and obligation-free environment and tell you your legal rights.
For more information, call us today on (941) 444-4444!