Whose Insurance Pays for a Car Accident in Florida?
Navigating the aftermath of a car accident in Florida can be a perplexing and stressful experience. One pressing question that often arises is: whose insurance pays for my losses? Understanding Florida’s insurance laws and regulations is crucial in addressing this concern, and it plays a pivotal role in ensuring adequate compensation for injured parties.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Florida, you could benefit from the assistance of the trusted car accident attorneys of Colling Gilbert Wright. Call (407) 712-7300 today to schedule a FREE case evaluation. We are proud to advocate for the rights of our neighbors in Orlando and throughout Florida.
Understanding Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law
Florida is one of 12 states that follow a no-fault insurance law. The Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law dictates that every vehicle owner must carry a certain amount of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance.
According to § 627.736(1)(a)&(b), in the event of a car accident in Florida, your PIP coverage will cover:
- 80% of your medical expenses up to $10,000
- 60% of your lost wages and earning capacity up to $10,000
These are mandated coverages no matter who is at fault in the car accident.
Importance of PIP Coverage
No-fault insurance aims to minimize the number of car accident lawsuits clogging the courts and to expedite recovery of losses for the injured. Because Florida adheres to the no-fault insurance system, your PIP insurance is used first to cover your own losses.
PIP coverage is mandatory and provides initial financial support, helping you avoid the delays often experienced when determining fault. The minimum PIP coverage in Florida is $10,000, which is the limit your insurance will pay for medical expenses related to your injuries and those of your passengers.
When Does At-Fault Insurance Come Into Play?
While PIP covers minor accidents, what about severe accidents where damages far exceed the PIP limits? For significant or permanent injuries, the at-fault driver’s insurance can be pursued for additional compensation.
Florida law § 627.737(2) defines a significant injury as one that results in:
- Permanent loss of a significant bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
To prove that your injury is significant or permanent, you will need to seek medical attention promptly (within 14 days) and keep documentation of all diagnoses and treatment.
Seeking Compensation Beyond PIP
If the accident results in injuries that meet the significant injury threshold, you can step outside the no-fault system and file a claim against the at-fault driver. You can also pursue damages for non-economic losses like pain and suffering.
Here, the at-fault driver’s Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) insurance could cover your expenses. Unfortunately, Florida does not mandate drivers to hold BIL insurance, potentially complicating the compensation process if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.
Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage
A 2019 study by the Insurance Research Council found that 20.4% of Florida drivers were uninsured. In cases where the at-fault driver does not have adequate insurance to cover your expenses, your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage, if you have it, will come to your aid. This coverage pays for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages when the at-fault driver’s insurance is insufficient, providing an essential safety net.
Third-Party Liability in a Car Accident in Florida
There may also be scenarios where third parties can be held liable for a car accident in Florida. Beyond the drivers involved, liability may extend to vehicle manufacturers for defects that contributed to the accident or a mechanic shop for negligent repairs. Employers might be held accountable if an accident occurs while a driver is operating a vehicle for work-related tasks.
Additionally, if the accident is due to poor road conditions or faulty traffic signals, the governmental body responsible for road maintenance could be liable. Establishing third-party liability requires a thorough investigation and strong evidence. Legal assistance from experienced attorneys is crucial to navigate these complex situations, ensuring all liable parties are held accountable.
Handling Insurance Claims in Florida
Handling insurance claims post-accident is complex, especially when multiple parties and insurance companies are involved. Documentation, timely filing, and negotiation with insurance adjusters are all crucial aspects that can significantly influence the compensation you receive.
When trying to recover from your injuries, you need to focus your energy on yourself, your family, and getting healthy again. You needn’t be overwhelmed with the legal ins and outs of your claim.
An experienced car accident lawyer can guide you through the intricate maze of Florida’s car accident and insurance laws, ensuring that you pursue all possible compensation sources. They will champion your rights, handling negotiations and legal processes, allowing you to give all of your attention to your recovery.
Contact Colling Gilbert Wright Today
Understanding whose insurance pays in a car accident in Florida is fundamental for anyone on Florida roads. While PIP coverage provides initial relief, the various avenues for additional compensation in more severe accidents can seem confusing. Equip yourself with a robust insurance policy, and do not hesitate to contact a Florida car accident lawyer in the event of an accident.
Timely and adept legal support can make a monumental difference in securing the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident in Florida, do not delay in contacting Colling Gilbert Wright for legal guidance. Our dedicated and experienced team is here to support you. We will ensure your rights are upheld and you pursue the compensation you are entitled to.
We will remain by your side throughout this process, securing the peace of mind you need during these trying times. Let us be the beacon that guides you through the legal intricacies, steering you toward justice and recovery.