WHAT IS NO FAULT CAR ACCIDENT?
Most car accidents are the fault of at least one party, either through deliberate actions or negligence. If you live in Florida, here is what you need to know about no-fault insurance as it relates to car accidents.
Florida is one of a handful of states that operate with the no fault insurance laws. Florida is joined by Hawaii, Kentucky, MA, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Minnesota, and NJ in having the no fault car accident laws.
For these no-fault states, such as Florida, there is no need for a driver to wait and prove that someone else was at fault in order to get compensation for their own medical bills. Insurance companies are required to pay their insured’s medical bills up to 80% and 60% of lost wages, up to a total of $10,000.00 when there is a car accident, no matter who was or was not at fault.
Florida recently modified the no fault laws so that as an insured driver, you must obtain medical care within fourteen (14) days of an accident in order to qualify for no-fault benefits. Further unless you are diagnosed with an emergency medical condition or EMC, you will not be eligible for the full amount of benefits under no-fault, and may be entitled to only $2,500.00 in benefits.
Florida lawmakers, having already placed severe restrictions on no-fault insurance, are considering moving further away from the traditional no-fault system and moving to a torts system, consistent with most of the other fifty states. The current policy in the state requires that all drivers should have at least $10,000 in PIP or no fault coverage, and property damage insurance which covers damage to other vehicles but not injuries to other driver. With mandatory bodily injury coverage, drivers would be required to coverage for bodily injury, as well as property damage.
However, there are concerns about this change in policy. Moving away from the no-fault system means that the at-fault drivers will not be automatically covered by insurance companies. This is a worry for the hospitals and emergency rooms that treat people after accidents. Many people that show up at hospital emergency rooms have no health insurance but may be covered under the current no-fault system.
Lawmakers seem determined to get these bills passed, and it seems as though they are being encouraged to do so by insurance companies. The trial lawyers have long supported a move to mandatory bodily injury coverage. Citizens are rightfully concerned that the change in policy will be beneficial to insurance companies, but not for the people of the state, as is the case with the recent change to no-fault or PIP.
In summary, no fault refers to personal injury protection or PIP. In Florida if you are injured in a car accident, your own PIP insurance covers your medical bills following a car accident regardless of who is at fault. No fault only pertains to payment of your medical bills. You may have a claim against the other driver for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, as well as medical bills not covered by PIP.