By: KGD Law
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Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Rule Makes Your Policy Pay No Matter What Happened
When you get into an auto accident that isn’t your fault, you don’t expect to pay. The person at-fault will pay via their insurance policy. You don’t have to worry about deductibles or premium increases because it wasn’t your fault. This is true in Florida as it is in every other state but ONLY when dealing with automobile damage. For personal injuries, Florida’s no-fault insurance rule makes your policy pay for the first part of the medical bills and/ or lost wages.
Florida’s Auto Insurance Requirements
In the state of Florida, insurance is a requirement in order to lawfully drive on the streets. You can carry insurance that has higher limits and affords more monetary protections. However, the law only requires you to carry minimum amounts of coverage. The bare minimum limits are:
- Property damage liability: $10,000
- Personal injury protection: $10,000
This means many people drive in Florida without having insurance which provides coverage if they cause a motor vehicle collision. For this reason we highly encourage our friends, family and clients to carry under insured motorist coverage (UM), which protects you if the at fault driver does not have bodily injury coverage.
Property damage is similar. The minimum limits offer $10,000 in repairs. Many people in Florida drive with the bare minimum, which can leave you in a bind if your car is worth more than $10,000.00. To protect yourself, try to purchase collision coverage, which pays to repair, or replace your vehicle regardless of fault.
Personal injury protection (PIP) offers immediate payment for injuries in an auto accident regardless of who is at fault. The no-fault insurance rule is meant to ensure that medical treatments are not delayed during investigations.
Penalties for No Auto Insurance
If you don’t have insurance and are driving a vehicle, you are committing a crime. The courts may fine or jail you. The court may suspend your license. Reinstating a license can cost up to $500. The courts worsen the penalties for driving without insurance for repeat offenders. If you are in an auto accident, the courts may force you to pay damages. This could be highly detrimental to your life. If you have any valuable assets, they may be seized.
No-Fault Insurance Rule
Florida has a no-fault insurance rule, which means your own PIP coverage will cover the first part of the medical bills, or lost wages, regardless of who is at fault for the motor vehicle collision. This may seem unfair, and it is unfair, as you did nothing wrong and should not have a claim against your policy; but insurance companies should not increase your rates over PIP claims, if you are not at fault. It is like having an emergency fund ready to pay for your medical bills in the event of an accident.
Keep in mind, the no-fault law means you don’t get to sue the at-fault party for minor medical bills, but the other party will still be covering property damage and injury damages exceeding PIP coverage (assuming they have bodily injury coverage on their policy). PIP coverage is not about fairness. It is about having a mechanism in place to guarantee payment of medical bills, for people without health insurance. If you do have health insurance, the PIP law essentially works as an additional tax you are required to pay to live in Florida.
Do you need a lawyer to file a PIP claim?
Personal injury claims are meant to simplify the process. They can still be complicated at times. You don’t have to hire an attorney to make a PIP claim. If you feel you aren’t getting proper compensation for your damages, you will need a lawyer. Additionally, if you have damages that exceed your PIP coverage, you will need a lawyer to file a personal injury suit.
PIP claims typically only cover 80 percent of medical bills and 60 percent of lost wages. You will want to file a claim to get additional damages and make sure that you are getting everything your policy covers. You will also want to file a claim to ensure that the other party pays for any remaining damages. Lawmakers never meant for the personal injury protection law to compensate you for the entirety of your damages. The only way you can gurantee you are fully compensated for someone else’s negligence is to get competent legal advise.
Stay away from people who call you out of no where, or offer you money to seek treatment at a clinic. If someone approaches you at the scene of the accident, stay away from them, even if they seem helpful. It is fraud to solicit personal injury cases or offer patients money to receive medical care. The insurance companies know which clinics practice in this manner and your claim will be rejected.
A lawyer who has years of experience and makes himself or herself available gives you a good indicator that you aren’t going to get roped into committing fraud. Most people know when they are committing fraudulent acts. In PIP cases, it is possible for you to get involved in fraud with unnecessary medical care. This doesn’t mean you should try to limit care you get after an accident. It simply means that you should go to reputable practitioners who will give you the care you need in order to get better.
At Kirshner, Groff, and Diaz, we have decades of experience dealing with Florida’s personal injury law. We are also available, and you can speak with an actual lawyer in order to figure out the best course of action for receiving fair compensation if you have been injured by someone else’s negligence. Insurance claims can be difficult to handle alone. People who go solo generally don’t get everything they are promised in their policy or in the policy of the at-fault party. Hiring a reputable law firm ensures that you get what you paid for in your policy and from the at-fault party.