Florida is one of eight No-Fault states left in the United States. The term No-Fault is confusing. In the 1970s, Florida's legislature was concerned that there would be a bunch of lawsuits because of small damage car accident claims. Whether there really was a crisis or not is for another post. In response, Florida followed states like New York, and instituted "Florida No-Fault."
What is No-Fault Coverage?
No-Fault or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) only applies to medical care and wage loss. No-Fault auto insurance is mandatory. The purpose of the law is for quick payment of medical expenses after an accident regardless of fault. So, if you own a vehicle and it's insured in Florida you have PIP, which will pay for up to $10,000 of medical expenses or wage loss that stems from the operation and/or maintenance of a "motor vehicle."
People are PIP Resistant
Many folks who are injured in an accident are hesitant to have their insurance pay anything. They are concerned that their insurance will raise their rates. This is simply not true. If you are not at fault for the accident, your insurance company cannot raise your rates or drop you.
How PIP Works
If you are injured in an accident, you are entitled to up to $10,000 in benefits. There are specific requirements:
You must see a healthcare provider within 14-days of the accident. If you do not see a healthcare provider within two weeks, you lose the coverage.
- The initial PIP benefit for medical care is $2,500.
- To receive the $10,000 PIP benefit, you have to meet the qualifications of an "Emergency Medical Condition", which is defined in the law.
- If you receive payment from the other driver's insurance company, you do not have to pay your insurance company back.
How PIP plays into your Florida bodily injury claim
The trade-off for Florida No-Fault in the law has to do with money for "pain and suffering". If you are injured in a car accident, you are only entitled to pain and suffering damages, if you are able to show one of the following:
- A permanent injury;
- Loss of an important bodily function; or
- Significant scarring.
Florida's No-Fault statute has a number of nuances but the most important thing to understand after a Florida car accident is that you receive immediate medical attention and report the accident to your insurance company.