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Is Florida a No-Fault State?

Those who have never been in a car accident or recently moved from another state may wonder, “Is Florida a no-fault state?” and if so, “What is the Florida no-fault law?” Each state has its own laws for how vehicle accident claims are structured, processed, and paid for. Florida is no exception.

With a collection of ever-evolving rules and regulations governing car accident claims, navigating a claim in Florida can be confusing. After a car crash, making informed decisions ensures your rights are protected and you are able to secure the compensation you need and deserve for your damages.

Here, we will review these laws to help you better understand the claims process in Florida. If you have any questions about your specific situation, please contact the Orlando car accident attorneys at Colling Gilbert Wright.

Call (407) 712-7300 today to schedule a FREE case evaluation. We have vast experience working with the Florida no-fault law and are honored to serve our neighbors in Orlando and throughout Florida.

What Is a No-Fault State?

Most states have an at-fault system for deciding who should pay for car accident damages, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, etc. This means that if a driver is deemed to be wholly or mostly responsible for a crash, they are liable for the damages caused by the accident. Their insurance company may completely or partially cover these damages.

Florida is one of 12 states that have a different system called no-fault. In no-fault states, responsibility for an accident does not impact the resolution of most claims. Each driver will file a claim with their own insurance company to cover the costs associated with the accident.

How Does No-Fault Work in Florida?

Instead of negligent parties paying for damages, Floridians and residents of other no-fault states must purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. When you get in an accident, a percentage of your medical treatment will be covered by your PIP insurance regardless of who was at fault. If you fail to secure PIP insurance, the state may suspend your driver’s license and/or vehicle registration.

What Does Florida No-Fault Insurance Cover?

PIP insurance will cover 80% of personal injury damages, up to $10,000, per Florida Statutes § 627.736. This can be used to cover medical expenses for the driver, their passengers, and “relatives residing in the policyholder’s household,” according to § 627.7407. However, your insurance company must deem any medical procedures “medically necessary.” Otherwise, they may refuse to cover your claim.

Beyond medical expenses, PIP can cover 60% of lost income or loss of earning capacity up to $10,000. PIP can also pay $5,000 per individual in death benefits.

What Are the Advantages of the No-Fault System?

While there are downsides to the Florida no-fault law, there are also some advantages, including:

It Can Be Easier To Recover Compensation

Instead of negotiating with an insurance company or arguing a claim in court, accident victims are essentially guaranteed compensation, provided they have PIP insurance.

It May Be Faster

While accidents in at-fault states can result in weeks or months of negotiations and legal proceedings, PIP coverage in no-fault states generally kicks in quickly.

It’s Guaranteed, Even If You Are At Fault

In no-fault states like Florida, you can recover compensation through PIP, even if you were responsible for the accident.

The point of the Florida no-fault law is to simplify the process and mitigate litigation, which it does in some cases. That said, if your injury is severe, the no-fault system may not work as well as intended.

Can You Sue in a No-Fault State Like Florida?

What do you do if your damages are more than $10,000? Ideally, you have additional bodily liability insurance that can cover some or all of these damages. If not, you may be able to sue, though the Florida no-fault law is very specific about when this is permissible.

According to § 627.737, you can only sue for accident-related damages if it results in:

  • Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
  • Permanent injury
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Death

If any of these apply to your situation, you may be able to recover additional compensation to cover damages that exceed the $10,000 PIP limit.

Read More: What To Do When the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Won’t Pay

What Is the 14-Day Accident Law in Florida?

According to § 627.736(1)(a), recovering compensation for medical damages after an accident requires that you receive medical attention within 14 days. If you attempt to file a PIP claim for medical benefits but you failed to seek medical treatment within this timeframe, you will likely be denied coverage.

What 4 Things Should You Do Immediately If You Are Involved in A Collision

First and foremost, seek medical treatment. This is due in part to the 14-day rule; however, your health should always be the priority. Receiving medical treatment after you are involved in a car accident is imperative.

Once your health has been attended to, there are a few more things you should do after a collision, including:

1. Call the Police

If the police do not arrive at the scene and file a report, you will not be able to file an insurance claim.

2. Exchange Information with the Other Driver

Gather their name, address, phone number, and insurance policy numbers, along with the model, make, and VIN of their car.

3. File a Claim with Your Insurance Company

They will need to perform their own investigation, which can take time. The sooner you get the process moving, the better.

4. Get In Touch with a Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver or believe you may qualify for an exemption to sue the other party, we highly recommend consulting a car accident attorney. They can evaluate your claim and begin discussing options.

Read More: How Do I Know If I Have a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Contact the Orlando Car Accident Attorneys at Colling Gilbert Wright Today!

At Colling Gilbert Wright, we know how frustrating it can be to deal with the aftermath of a car accident, especially when you may be unable to recover the compensation you need to cover the full extent of your damages. The last thing you need is to decipher the ins and outs of the Florida no-fault law alone.

That’s why we’re here. We have been fighting for the rights of injured Floridians for over 30 years, and we are prepared to put that experience to work for you. Whether you have been denied PIP benefits, want to explore legal options for recovering additional compensation, or have been in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, we’re here to help you navigate the process and pursue justice for you and your family.

Don’t wait to start the process—contact our Orlando car accident attorneys today and schedule your FREE case evaluation. We are dedicated to our clients and will walk with you every step of your claim.

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