If you get into a car accident in many states across the country, whoever caused the accident is responsible for paying for the injuries, property damage, and other losses of the other driver. This system is known as the traditional fault system. However, Florida is a no-fault car insurance state – this means that each driver involved in an accident must turn to their own insurance companies to compensate themselves for their injuries.
Florida is one of about 12 states that follow a no-fault insurance system instead of the traditional fault-based model. The purpose of a no-fault system is to eliminate the liability question for smaller car accidents, saving questions of negligence for serious injuries and lawsuits. After a car accident, you will file a claim with your own insurance company to receive compensation for the injuries in your accident.
When you use a no-fault car insurance system, you will receive coverage not only if you are the driver in an accident, but also when you are a passenger, pedestrian, or cyclist in any other motor vehicle collision. In addition, your children, any passengers in your vehicle without their own no-fault insurance coverage, and any other members of your household receive coverage under Florida’s no-fault insurance system.
All drivers in the state of Florida must carry the minimum amounts of car insurance to lawfully operate their vehicles. Drivers can choose to purchase more than the following minimum amounts for additional protection.
Property damage liability kicks in if you cause damage to another person’s vehicle or property during a car accident. The main form of insurance you will use in your no-fault insurance claim is personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. With PIP coverage, you can compensate yourself for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and any other financial damages you may sustain in a car accident.
While PIP coverage can help you recover from the financial damage you suffer as a result of the car accident, it may not be enough to recover from all of your injuries. Your medical expenses may exceed your policy limit and you may suffer emotional trauma as a result of your accident. If you need additional compensation for high financial damages or noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, you can pursue two additional pathways.
First, you can file a third-party insurance claim against the other driver’s insurance company to claim additional compensation and pain and suffering damages. To do so, you will need to prove that the other driver was liable for the accident. In addition, your injuries must be so severe that they meet Florida’s serious injury threshold requirements. To qualify as a serious injury, you must satisfy one of the following criteria.
You can also pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in your car accident. To do so, you will need to prove that the driver was at fault for your accident. A Florida personal injury attorney can help you build your case and seek the damages you need to recover. This option will allow you to seek compensation beyond insurance policy limits and receive pain and suffering damages.
Deciding what legal option to pursue after a car accident can be a challenge. Speak to a Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to determine which pathway would lead to optimal compensation for your losses.
Have a legal question? Would you like to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney? You can get in touch with us via the form on the right, by call or text (FL: 954-860-8434; GA: 404-287-2856), or on our social media profiles below.
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