If you’ve heard that Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to auto accidents, you might be confused about what that means. The phrasing “no-fault” leads many people to misunderstanding the law.
Here is what you need to know about Florida being a no-fault state and what it means for you if you have been injured in an auto accident.
The Difference Between Fault and No-Fault States
A state is typically considered either a fault or no-fault state when it comes to auto accidents.
Most states are considered “fault states.” They operate in a tort insurance system. In a fault state, the driver who caused the accident is responsible for damages incurred by the injured party.
Fault is typically determined by a police officer who uses evidence such as witness statements and on-site details to explain what they believe happened. If a party doesn’t believe they are at-fault, they can create a legal argument to prove that they did not cause the accident.
The insurance company for the at-fault party pays the damages for other involved parties. If the insurance company does not cover all of the losses, the injured party can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Twelve states are considered “no-fault states.” In these states, the party responsible for the accident is not necessarily responsible for paying for damages incurred by the injured party. Both parties use their own insurance to cover their damages.
In these states, drivers must have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) auto insurance. Drivers insure themselves to protect themselves from the financial costs of being in an accident. PIP insurance covers damages for the driver whether they are at-fault or not. PIP insurance typically covers the costs of medical fees, lost wages, and funeral costs.
No-fault insurance is intended to make it easier and faster for injured parties to receive financial compensation. Each driver’s insurance is responsible for their claims, lessening the need for litigation and negotiation between two parties. This design does not mean that litigation is never involved in a no-fault state. Parties who believe they have not received fair and adequate damages can bring litigation against their insurance company.
Florida Is a No-Fault State
Florida is a no-fault state. Other no-fault states include Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
What Does It Mean If You’re Injured in a No-Fault State?
If you have been injured in an accident in Florida, an experienced car accident lawyer can help you determine what that means for your unique situation. In most cases, it means the following.
Seek medical treatment right away. Under most PIP coverage, an injured party is required to seek medical treatment within 14 days of their accident. If you don’t, your insurance may try and deny your claim. If you are injured in an auto accident, it is always recommended to immediately seek medical treatment.
Your insurance company is responsible for damages. In a no-fault state, your insurance company is responsible for compensating you for personal injury damages as they relate to medical expenses, lost wages, and funeral costs.
You don’t need an attorney to receive compensations from your insurance company — but it is a good idea to seek representation. While you can file a claim with your insurance company on your own, it is a good idea to work with an attorney if you have been injured in an auto accident. Insurance companies are set up to provide injured parties with the lowest amount of compensation possible. An attorney will fight for you to ensure that you get the full settlement you deserve.
You can still file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent driver. Even in a no-fault state, you can still sue for personal injury if you suffered serious and/or permanent injuries during an auto accident that wasn’t your fault. In the event that the negligence of another driver left you with long-term damages, you can seek additional damages from the at-fault party. An auto accident attorney can help you file a lawsuit and negotiate a settlement that covers damages related to:
- Medical expenses beyond your PIP limit
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
Talk to an Auto Accident Attorney in Florida
Dealing with insurance companies after an accident can be confusing and stressful. Don’t put pressure on yourself to figure it out on your own.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Florida, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you sort through the legal guidelines and ensure that you get what is fair and due to you from your insurance company.
Schedule a consultation with TJ Grimaldi to see how we can help you with your case. All consultations are free so schedule or call 813-226-1023 today.