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Understanding the Florida Auto Accident No-Fault Law


The Stuart, Florida personal injury law firm, Lance P. Richard, P.A. can guide you through the complexities of Florida’s no-fault law if you are ever in a car accident. The following is general information on Florida’s no-fault law to remember.

What Does Florida Being a No-Fault State Mean?

Florida follows a no-fault insurance system, distinct from most other states. In a no-fault state, if you’re injured in an auto accident, your own insurance coverage—specifically your personal injury protection (PIP)—pays a portion of your medical expenses and lost income, irrespective of who was at fault for the accident.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage

In Florida, all vehicle owners must carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage. After an accident, your PIP coverage can pay for the following:

– 80% of necessary and reasonable medical expenses

– 60% of lost wages

– $5,000 in death benefits

These benefits apply up to your coverage limit, and you’ll be responsible for paying your deductible before your insurer pays out these benefits.

Who Is At Fault in a Car Accident in Florida?

While Florida’s no-fault system limits the liability of each driver, it doesn’t mean that fault is irrelevant. In severe accidents that exceed the no-fault threshold, fault may need to be determined. This determination can impact the liability of each driver and their insurance company.

What is the No-Fault Threshold in Florida?

In Florida, the no-fault threshold refers to the level of injury a person must sustain before they are allowed to step outside of the no-fault insurance system to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. Florida law states that an injury must be considered “serious” to surpass this threshold.

The specific criteria, as defined by Florida Statutes section 627.737(2), that allow a person to surpass the no-fault threshold include:

– Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.

– Injury that is considered permanent within a reasonable degree of medical probability.

– Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.

– Death.

If a victim’s injuries meet any of these criteria, they can sue the at-fault party for damages, including pain and suffering, that isn’t covered by their own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.

Limitations of the No-Fault Law

Florida’s no-fault law aims to reduce the number of personal injury lawsuits, expedite payments for injuries, and limit the amount recovered. However, it’s essential to understand its limitations. PIP only covers some of your losses, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering are not covered.

Who Pays for Car Damage in Florida’s No-Fault System?

In terms of vehicle damage, Florida’s no-fault law does not apply. If another driver caused the accident, their property damage liability insurance would typically cover the damage to your vehicle. However, if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, you would need to rely on your own collision coverage if you have it.

Stepping Outside the No-Fault System

As stated in the above discussion on Florida’s no-fault threshold, under specific circumstances, Florida law permits you to step outside the no-fault system and file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This can be done if your injuries are considered “serious” under Florida law, such as significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function, permanent injury, significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement, or death.

Navigating the no-fault law and understanding when to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party can be complex. Having an experienced auto accident attorney can make a significant difference.

Lance P. Richard, P.A. is well-versed in the intricacies of Florida’s no-fault law. With over 25 years of experience, including previous experience as a big law attorney, Attorney Richard is equipped to guide you through the process and fight for the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in Florida, don’t hesitate to contact us.



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