There is renewed talk about repealing Florida's no-fault auto insurance coverage, which was first attempted earlier in the year. The insurance industry has been pushing for the repeal since the 2012 no-fault reforms signed by Gov. Rick Scott were stayed by Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis in March. Now some legislators are promising to repeal the program altogether.
What is no-fault insurance?
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) auto insurance is required of all motor vehicles in the state of Florida to cover medical treatment and lost wages incurred following a motor vehicle accident. The coverage is provided from the insurer of the vehicle the injured person was driving or occupied without regard for who was responsible for the accident. Hence, the coverage is commonly referred to as No-fault insurance.
The 2012 reforms attempted to limit the minimum coverage for most non emergency medical treatments from $10,000 to only $2,500. The reforms also eliminated coverage for treatment by acupuncturists and massage therapists. Judge Lewis found the reforms may illegally restrict policyholders and issued a temporary restraining order blocking the reforms from taking effect.
Possible effect of repeal on those injured in car accidents in Florida
Under the current system, when a person is hurt in a car accident, a lawsuit may be filed against the responsible party to recover damages including for pain and suffering, the cost of future medical care and the loss of livelihood. These claims are made against the bodily injury coverage for the other vehicle and evaluated based on their degree of fault. The elimination of no-fault coverage could have the following ripple effect on the litigation of car accident cases:
- The future of the serious-injury threshold preventing lawsuits for injuries that are not permanent
- More medical costs paid by private insurance creating liens and making it more difficult to settle cases
- The already insufficient bodily injury coverage limits will now also include claims for medical expenses, leaving less available coverage to compensate the injured party
- Car accident victims without adequate private medical coverage may not get the medical treatment they need
Suffering an injury in a car accident is scary in and of itself. It is important to have a Florida car accident law firm you trust to guide you through the often confusing maze of insurance coverage and laws to obtain your legal rights.