If you drive in Florida, you’ve probably heard the phrase “no-fault state” more than once. But what exactly does it mean, and how does it affect you? After any traffic accident, if you've been injured and/or incurred significant damage to your vehicle, you probably want to understand your options for getting compensated for your losses. That’s where Florida’s no-fault law comes in. We’ll discuss how it affects your car insurance and what happens if you get into an accident.
Florida’s No-Fault Law
You’ve gotten into an accident with another vehicle, but no ticket is issued, and there is not enough evidence to show a driver’s fault. Who’s to blame? The "no-fault" law in Florida means that both parties turn to their auto insurance policies to make claims, regardless of who was at fault in the event of an accident. That means you will need to file a claim under your own personal injury protection coverage to get compensation for medical bills and other financial losses, regardless of who caused the crash.
These laws were designed to make it easier for injured victims to seek medical treatment, but it may not be fair. In cases where injuries are severe enough that they meet the law’s “injury threshold” or exceed your PIP coverage, then you may bring a claim directly against the at-fault driver.
What Does No-Fault Insurance Cover?
There are some restrictions when it comes to this coverage. For example, PIP insurance often limits medical expenses, meaning it will only pay up to a certain amount.
Your PIP insurance covers your medical treatment and lost wages. It may also cover expenses incurred because of your accident, such as additional child care if your injuries have made it impossible for you to care for your children. PIP insurance also covers these same expenses for any passengers in the vehicle.
Reporting a Car Accident in Florida
If you are a Florida driver and get involved in a car accident, you have peace of mind knowing that your PIP insurance will cover any medical expenses. However, you should still make detailed notes of the crash in case of a future lawsuit. If your injuries are severe, permanent, or debilitating, you may still choose to file a claim. At any accident, it is wise to record the following:
The other driver’s name, driver’s license number, insurance info
License plates of both vehicles
Pictures of the accident
Any visible injuries to you and/or your passengers
Obtain any official documents, especially police reports
If you or your passenger is injured in a car accident, you may file a liability insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. With Florida’s no-fault law and your PIP coverage, you can seek medical attention right away, without waiting for the insurance companies to decide who is responsible.
Florida Car Accident Statute of Limitations
A "statute of limitations" is a law that sets a time limit on your right to bring a lawsuit. Suppose you miss the time limit set by this law and try to file your car accident lawsuit after the deadline has already passed. In that case, the Florida court system is almost certain to dismiss your case unless some rare exception applies to extend the deadline.
In most situations, you have four years, starting from the crash date, to start your car accident case in Florida.
Contact a Miami Car Accident Lawyer Today
Despite Florida’s no-fault laws, it should not prevent you from pursuing an auto accident settlement or lawsuit. It’s best to speak to an attorney as soon as possible about your situation and the best course of action. Our team at Mitchell & West, LLC is here to help you ensure that your rights are protected.
Contact Mitchell & West, LLC at (305) 783-3301 if you have been injured in a car accident.