You may know that Florida is a No–Fault state when it comes to car insurance. However, you may not know exactly what this means and how it will affect you if you are in an accident. Florida’s no-fault insurance laws can be confusing, especially since, in most accidents, one driver is more to blame than the other. Here is a quick guide to Florida no-fault insurance law for drivers in Vero Beach.
Why does no-fault car insurance law exist and how does it work?
No-Fault simply means that it really does not matter how the accident happened or who is at fault for the purposes of paying the initial damages caused in a car accident since your own automobile insurance company, not the other person’s insurance company, is responsible to pay for those initial bills. Those benefits are often referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) which are benefits for yourself and Property Damage (PD) which pays for collision related damages done to others you may be responsible for. Prior to adopting No-Fault law, each driver would blame the other and neither would pay the other’s medical bills, lost wages, mileage reimbursement and property damage repairs. Things would essentially come to a standstill. For that reason, decades ago, Florida lawmakers chose the no-fault system as a way to immediately provide compensation to motorists without the necessity for a lawsuit. Since each driver must recoup his crash costs from his/her own insurer, accident victims can get necessary payments much more quickly and efficiently than by filing a lawsuit. If the injured person is insured, they are contracted to receive compensation for medical treatment, lost income, replacement services, and death benefits, without ever having to go to court. Since the damages involved with a car accident are often much higher than insurance limits, many injured motorists still have the option to make a claim or even sue an at-fault driver for damages above and beyond their own PIP benefits.
Exceptions to no-fault car insurance
The no-fault system may reduce the number of personal injury lawsuits, but it does not prevent them from happening completely. There are still cases in which injured motorists can take their cases to court and seek compensation from other involved parties. Some instances in which the no-fault system may not apply include the following:
- If there are permanent injuries: In some cases, such as when car accident injuries result in permanent, disability and loss of present and future income, insurance will probably not be enough to cover damages. In this case, Florida drivers can hire a personal injury lawyer and take legal action.
- When one or more of the drivers are uninsured: The no-fault system only works if all the drivers involved in an accident have at least the minimum amount of insurance cover. In cases where one driver is not insured, the other party will have to rely on their own insurance and/or take legal action against the uninsured party.
- When No-Fault Benefits are inadequate to cover all damages: The No-fault system is meant to cover a bare minimum of immediate expenses secondary after an automobile crash. However, very often, it is just the tip of the iceberg and damages like excess medical bills, lost wages, economic losses, future medical bills, pain and suffering, diminished value of your vehicle, etc. will exceed the minimally mandated No-fault benefits.
If you have been involved in a car accident, are not sure about no-fault insurance law, or believe you may have a case against one of the other parties, contact Sokoloff & Weinstein and book a consultation with one of our car accident lawyers. Our team can help you with everything you need to know about Florida no-fault insurance law in Vero Beach.