Although it has been decades since Florida first passed its Motor Vehicle No-Fault Laws, most people in the state still do not understand what it means or how it works. The stated purpose of the law is to provide insurance benefits to Florida drivers without regard to fault for the automobile accident. An additional purpose of the Act is to require each driver to carry a minimum amount of automobile insurance. This minimum amount of insurance is typically referred to as personal injury protection or PIP coverage.
PIP insurance is insurance purchased by you which pays for treatment of any injuries which you may sustain as a result of an automobile accident, regardless of who caused the accident. In other words, even if the other driver caused the accident, your insurance is responsible to pay for your medical treatment. The minimum amount of PIP insurance required under Florida law is $10,000. However, you may elect to secure a policy which provides for a deductible up to $2,000. While the premiums for a policy with such a deductible are less expensive, it is important to understand that in the event you are injured in an accident, you are responsible for the payment of the first $2,000 in medical bills. This payment must be made before your insurance even begins to cover the cost of treatment. More importantly, you are not permitted to recover the amount of your deductible from the individual who may have caused the accident unless you have sustained a permanent injury.
Additionally, the Florida No-Fault Law provides for a limitation on your right to recover damages against the individual who may have caused the accident. You do not have the right to sue the other driving for pain and suffering damages unless you suffer significant and permanent loss of an important body function, permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability or other significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement. The result is that many drivers who are injured do not ultimately pass this threshold and are not entitled to damages from the driver responsible for the accident.
The lawyers at Alley, Clark & Greiwe hope that this article helps you better understand the Florida No-Fault Laws. If you or someone you know has been in an automobile accident and you have questions regarding your rights under Florida law, please do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at Alley, Clark & Greiwe.