Florida is known for a lot of things, and this includes that Walt Disney World, warm weather, and beaches that are worth seeing even for once. The state is also known for its “no-fault” state law, which is available to Florida and other states like Hawaii and Kansas. The “No-fault” law is quite complicated and widely misunderstood, even for the people who live in the state.
When a car accident happens and an injury was made to either party, who will take the responsibility? How will this dispute be settled in court? What happens when someone dies? Is your state covered by the No-Fault law? This article aims to explain the No-Fault Law and its proper usage.
What Is Florida’s No-Fault Law?
Florida’s No-Fault law is usually a requirement for drivers living in “no-fault” states. Every car owner is required to have the Personal Injury Protection or PIP insurance coverage when they live in a state that requires it. When a car accident happens, this insurance will be available to use for medical and other expenses. Depending on the state, this insurance policy does not require to know who is at fault. An insured individual will get compensated whether he or she caused the accident or not. The reason for this is to encourage people to not immediately sue each other after an accident, which can be caused majorly of negligence when driving at the road.
As of this writing, there are 16 states in the United States that support PIP as a requirement for owning a car. These states include Florida, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hamshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
All of these states except Delaware, Maine, Maryland, and New Hampshire are “no-fault” state. This means that regardless of whoever triggered the accident, both drivers and their passengers can go to their respective insurance companies and make a claim. However, there are thresholds that are needed to be exceeded before someone can file a lawsuit to the other driver. Florida is one of those states with such threshold.
The Confusion And PIP Coverage
There is confusion when it comes to dealing with PIP coverage in no-fault states. A driver would sometimes think why would he or she pay for liabilities when the expenses are already covered by the PIP insurance? The thing is, even though the insurance covers $10,000, the PIP will only cover 80% of the medical bills and 60% of the lost wages. There are car insurers who offer what they call the “deductible”. In this setup, the individual will pay for the deductible before being covered by the insurance. This setup will allow the insured individual to pay smaller premiums.
For example, A crashed into B’s car while B is waiting on a parking lot. Under Florida’s law, the minimum requirement for PIP insurance is $10,000. “A” received a $2,000 medical bill and lost $4000 monthly income because of his hospital stay. Even though his medical bill is smaller than his coverage, he will only receive $1,600 ($2,000*80%) from his car insurer. The same goes for his monthly income, which he will receive for $2,400 ($4,000*60%=$2,400). If, for example, the same value applies for “B”, he can sue “A” for the remaining damages because “A” is at fault.
In case a deductible is present, the PIP insurance policy will not be triggered until the deductible is not consumed. There are reasons why a deductible is a great option for some. Maintaining a car is not an easy task, and sometimes, buying the cheapest car insurance Florida services is the better option.
The Exceptions To “No-Fault Law”
The personal injury victim can only sue the driver at fault for the damages not covered by the PIP insurance. However, there are instances where the victim can sue the driver at fault directly even under the no-fault law. This prevents the driver at fault in escaping the responsibility when the damage was too severe.
If the injury victim sustained permanent damage, he can sue the driver directly regardless of the no-fault law and whether both individuals are insured by PIP or not. An injury is a permanent injury when the victim lost an important bodily function, or when the injury cannot be repaired, or if the body is severely disfigured. Death can also void the no-fault law.