A no-fault car accident can be confusing for Florida drivers who are required by law to have auto insurance. No-fault insurance ensures that each driver’s auto insurance pays in the event of a car accident, no matter which driver is responsible. Florida is one of 12 states that doesn’t name a fault driver in the event of an auto accident. Here’s what you need to know if you are in a no-fault state:
What is no-fault insurance?
No-fault car insurance is the common name for personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. It’s a form of liability coverage that you can buy through your car insurance company to ensure you receive the medical treatment you need in the event of a car accident with bodily injury. In most states, PIP insurance is an example of optional coverage, but in some states it’s required to prevent underinsured drivers who choose limited benefits that don’t cover their medical bills and other needs in the event of a car accident.
PIP insurance covers three primary areas:
- Personal injury medical coverage
- Recovery of lost wages due to serious injury
- Acquisition of death benefits compensation
Can my PIP coverage claim be denied?
If you’re in a car crash with a serious injury or involves the death of a loved one, you might be wondering if your no-fault automobile insurance covers your damages, or if part or all of your claim can be denied. The truth is, part of all of your claim can be denied by your own insurance company, even in a no-fault state.
When PIP claimants have their claims denied it’s usually because the insurance company finds:
- The claimant is seeking coverage for things that aren’t covered by PIP insurance, for example, property damage.
- Damages can’t be paid out for passengers in the car who receive a bodily injury or people who borrowed the car but aren’t named on the policy.
- The claimant is seeking damages for pain and suffering.
Claimants who have their claim denied can file an appeal. Beyond that, there’s little recourse for claimants seeking compensation in the face of a denied accident claim. That’s why it’s important to consult with a car accident attorney that has experience with no-fault law.
What does no-fault state mean?
A no-fault state is a state that doesn’t assign a fault driver after the accident has been reported and assessed. Instead, these states require drivers to secure no fault insurance from their car insurance company.
In these states, PIP, which is usually optional insurance, is made mandatory to ensure drivers receive compensation for medical expenses and other personal injury protection as a form of liability insurance added onto their driver’s insurance.
Pros and Cons: Living in a no-fault state
No-fault laws are designed to protect consumers but there are benefits and disadvantages to mandates on PIP. Here are the pros and cons of living in a no-fault state:
Pro: Pays medical bills, offers broad coverage for driver
Possibly the most important of PIP benefits, liability insurance extends the coverage of the driver to ensure serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment and surgeries, like head injuries, traumatic brain injury, loss of limbs, physical disfigurement and disability attributed to the car accident are covered.
Con: No-fault car insurance increases your financial liability
No matter who caused the car accident, even if another driver is quite obviously responsible, no-fault insurance means simply that your insurance premiums will increase as well as the other driver’s to cover any covered costs associated with the claim.
Con: Insurance rates are higher
In addition to having more financial liability in the event of an accident with bodily injury, your rates are likely to be higher in a no-fault state than in a state where PIP is optional. That’s because the cost of PIP will be included in your monthly premium from the start, in addition to increasing in the event of an accident.
Pro: Other drivers can be added to a policy
Typically, PIP only covers a single driver but if you need to add more than one driver you can generally call your own insurance company to add drivers, effectively making sure anyone likely to be behind the wheel of your car is covered.
Con: Claims aren’t guaranteed approval
Another issue for Florida drivers is that even though they pay extra money each month, like any insurance, there is no guarantee a claim will be approved when they need it.
Pro: Florida has Florin|Roebig
While it’s not as common for PIP claims to be denied, they can be denied when certain conditions aren’t met. In some cases, confusing changes to driver’s insurance laws, for example, the addition of laws stating how many days you have to seek treatment, can cause your claim to be denied. Having said that, if you are seeking damages from your insurance company on a PIP claim in Florida, the experts at the law firm of Florin|Roebig have the unique knowledge and experience to evaluate your claim and fight for it in court.
Is Florida a no-fault state?
Florida is a no-fault state. If you are a driver in Florida, your auto insurance policy must contain personal injury protection liability insurance.
No-fault accident states
In no-fault accident states like Florida, your insurance policy must have PIP non-optional coverage. That way it goes beyond just covering property damage to your motor vehicle and instead you can make an insurance claim on portions of your medical bills. Your insurance coverage, however, has limits so contact your insurance company to learn what they are if you live in one of the following no-fault accident states and territories:
- New York
- New Jersey
- District of Columbia
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
Florida no-fault law
Florida statute 627.7407, Application of the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law, is the law that defines the terms of Florida no-fault insurance required by drivers. Florida’s law is unique from some other states in that it requires passengers, drivers and household members all be covered. This eliminates one of the main reasons claims sometimes get denied. Section 5 of the law states:
“No later than November 15, 2007, each motor vehicle insurer shall provide notice of the provisions of this section to each motor vehicle insured who is subject to subsection
(1). The notice is not subject to approval by the Office of Insurance Regulation. The notice must clearly inform the policyholder:
(a) That beginning on January 1, 2008, Florida law requires the policyholder to maintain personal injury protection (“PIP”) insurance coverage and that this insurance pays covered medical expenses for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle crash by the policyholder, passengers, and relatives residing in the policyholder’s household.
(b) That if the policyholder does not maintain personal injury protection coverage, the State of Florida may suspend the policyholder’s driver license and vehicle registration.
(c) That if the policyholder already has personal injury protection coverage, that coverage will be amended effective January 1, 2008, to incorporate legally required changes without any additional premium and that the policyholder is not required to take any further action.
(d) That, if the policyholder does not currently have personal injury protection coverage, the current motor vehicle policy will be amended to incorporate the required personal injury protection coverage effective January 1, 2008.
(e) The additional premium that is due, if any, and the date that it is due, which may be no earlier than January 1, 2008.
(f) That if the policyholder has any questions, the name and phone number of whom they should contact.”
How does no-fault insurance work in Florida?
In Florida, no-fault insurance ensures that no motorist with insurance coverage has to worry about taking on the full financial cost of medical bills associated with a car crash.
The Florida no-fault insurance system is mandated by state law which means it isn’t optional. So while consumers pay more in premiums they pay less in unexpected medical bills should a car accident occur. That said, insurance claims have limits that vary by state and factors, like whether or not the driver has primary health insurance. To find out what the limits are call your insurance company or look up the laws in your state.
Florida no-fault: Who pays?
In a no fault situation, like the law in Florida, medical and funerary expenses for drivers and covered individuals are paid by a settlement between both drivers insurance companies. These settlements do not include property damage liability, but standard driver’s insurance does.
Can you sue in a no-fault state?
Insured accident victims in no-fault states deserve compensation and non-economic damages for bodily injury. If you believe your driver’s insurance company is benefiting from the no-fault system at your expense, call the law firm of Florin|Roebig for your free consultation.
If you have a serious injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Don’t wait. Call a personal injury lawyer at Florin|Roebig. We have car accident attorneys that understand no-fault insurance laws and can take on the insurance system within your state.
If you have liability coverage and medical bills, get a free consultation right now.