Getting into an auto accident is always jarring and scary. Even if you or your passengers don’t receive an injury, you must deal with insurance companies, the police, lawyers and sometimes enter a court battle.
Florida is a no-fault state, which can simplify the process. However, it’s essential to know what steps to take after an auto accident in Florida and how the no-fault laws can affect your ability to get the compensation you deserve after a devastating accident.
What Does No-Fault Mean?
No-fault laws in Florida mean that each drivers’ own insurance company covers them in an accident, even if they caused the crash. This makes it easier than chasing down someone else’s insurance company since you already have the contact information and a connection with your own company.
However, there is a limit on how many medical bills your insurance covers. If you reach that minimum, you can work with a lawyer to file a claim to ensure you receive compensation to cover all your medical expenses.
Florida Auto Insurance Requirements
Every vehicle owner in Florida must have Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This requirement includes owners of all vehicles with four or more wheels.
To register a car in Florida, you must have:
- PDL insurance with a minimum coverage of $10,000 for private drivers and $50,000 for taxis
- PIP insurance of at least $10,000 coverage
- Taxi drivers must have Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) of at least $125,000 per person, and $250,000 for each occurrence
- Insurance from a licensed Florida insurance company
If you let the insurance lapse, either because the car becomes inoperable or you move to another state, your Florida registration immediately becomes void. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) requires you to return your license plate before you cancel your insurance.
For those who move because of the military, you may be exempt from specific requirements or have some allowance for early, late, or online renewals.
If you fail to turn in your license and tags before canceling your insurance or don’t renew your insurance before driving your car, the state can suspend your driver’s license and charge you up to $500 to reinstate your registration.
What Does Your PIP Insurance Cover?
Your PIP insurance covers your medical bills, lost wages if you miss days of work, and death benefits like funeral costs, regardless of who caused the accident.
However, in Florida, your PIP Insurance only covers up to 80% of your medical bills. If you have the minimum coverage of $10,000, and your medical bills hit $10,000, your PIP insurance only covers $8,000 of that. For non-emergency injuries received after an accident, your PIP insurance only covers up to $2,500.
You can receive up to 60% of your lost wages through your PIP Insurance as well.
Many injuries resulting from car accidents, including Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), can cause long-lasting medical issues which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you did not cause the accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit to cover those damages.
Filing a PIP Insurance Claim
To ensure you receive your maximum coverage, you must receive your medical treatments within two weeks of your accident. This makes seeking medical attention as soon as possible after the accident essential. Additionally, your company has up to 30 days to reimburse you for your damages but can take up to 60 days to investigate if they suspect fraud.
Keep a detailed record of all medical appointments, treatments, and bills to ensure reimbursement. If you have difficulties contacting your insurance company or they try to claim fraud, Jesse Davidson, personal injury attorney in Florida, can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Pursuing Further Compensation Under No-Fault Laws
The no-fault law in Florida allows injured drivers to sue if their injuries are severe, cause disabilities or the medical costs exceed $10,000. However, you can only sue for the amount not covered under your PIP insurance.
You must first file with your PIP insurance company. Then, you can speak with an attorney about filing a lawsuit against the other driver. In Florida, you have four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, but the sooner your file, the sooner you receive your compensation.
Florida also recognizes a concept called pure comparative fault, meaning that the amount of compensation you can receive depends on how much fault the court determines you hold for the accident. For example, if the court deems you 10% at fault and that the damages amounted to $20,000, you receive $18,000 in damages.
Unlike other comparative fault states, Florida still awards you damages even if you were 90% at fault; however, you must pay the other driver 90% of the damages and receive 10% in return.
You can receive damages for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and damage to your vehicle or other property, like laptops.
When to Work with an Attorney
Some accidents are straightforward, particularly those involving lower amounts or ones with a clear at-fault driver, and typically won’t require an attorney’s help. Ensure you report your accident to the police if it involved over $500 worth of damage, and inform your insurance company as soon as possible.
However, if your insurance company challenges your receipts or refuses to pay, an attorney can negotiate on your behalf.
If your medical expenses exceed $10,000 and you wish to file a lawsuit, consult an attorney before proceeding. An experienced auto accident attorney like Jesse Davidson can guide you through the process, ensuring you don’t miss deadlines, file your paperwork correctly, and ask for an appropriate settlement. Without an attorney, accident victims may underestimate their costs or forget to include pain and suffering in their damages.
Contact the Law Firm of Jesse Davidson, P.A.
Whether you need help getting your PIP insurance company to reimburse you after an accident, or you want to file a lawsuit against the driver at fault to cover your medical expenses, Jesse Davidson, Personal Injury Attorney, can help. With over a decade of experience helping Floridians win lawsuits, he can help you get your compensation, allowing you to focus on healing and getting back to your life.
Call our law firm today at (561) 252-7850 to schedule an initial consultation and learn how we can help you get back on your feet after a devastating car accident.