Florida is a no-fault insurance state for car accident claims. Under state law, motorists are required to have at least $10,000 in personal injury protection, which covers their medical bills and lost wages regardless of who is at fault. In this system, each motorist goes to their own insurance provider first to seek compensation.
This system differs from most states, which use at-fault systems in which the insurance carrier covering the at-fault driver is responsible for paying out the damages to the party not at fault (subject to policy limits).
The personal injury protection portion of the insurance only pays 80 percent of the medical bills incurred by the insured and only about 60 percent of lost wages, and the insured is still responsible for paying the deductible.
Some exceptions do exist
There are a few circumstances in which there may be exceptions to Florida’s no-fault insurance processes. Most notable of these exceptions is if the accident victim suffers permanent injury, including:
- Permanent injury within a certain degree of medical probability
- Scarring and disfigurement
- The permanent and significant loss of important bodily function
Drivers who suffer these types of injuries (or their families, if the driver is deceased) are allowed to bring claims against the at-fault party for those damages. This includes noneconomic damages like pain and suffering and loss of consortium.
In addition, if damages exceed the $10,000 threshold, motorists are allowed sue at-fault drivers for the overage not covered by their personal injury protection coverage.
For more information about how car insurance works in the state of Florida, contact an experienced Sarasota, FL personal injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.