Is Florida a No-Fault State?
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers | Florida Law
The majority of states have either at-fault or no-fault systems for automobile insurance. In a fault state, drivers must carry liability insurance that compensates victims if the driver causes an accident. Accident victims in fault states can file insurance claims or sue the responsible driver.
Drivers must carry no-fault insurance called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance in no-fault states. Florida is a no-fault car insurance state. Drivers must have minimum amounts of PIP insurance and are not required to have liability insurance (note that Florida is unique in not requiring liability insurance). No-fault insurance laws restrict an accident victim’s right to sue an at-fault driver.
What Are Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Requirements?
You are required to have a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. You must also have a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage. Liability insurance coverage is optional, except for drivers convicted of DUI and taxis.
What Is the Difference Between Liability and PIP Insurance Coverage?
Liability insurance pays economic and non-economic damages to an accident victim when an insured driver or vehicle causes a collision. However, the accident victim must prove fault to recover damages. The injured party needs to prove the following:
- The driver was under a legal duty of care to the accident victim
- The driver breached the duty of care by failing to use a reasonable level of care while operating their vehicle
- The breach of duty caused the accident
- The victim sustained injuries and incurred damages because of the driver’s conduct
The other driver is not liable for damages if the victim cannot prove fault.
On the other hand, PIP coverage is no-fault insurance. Regardless of who caused the accident, covered parties file claims with their PIP providers. They can receive PIP benefits even if they caused the accident.
However, PIP benefits are limited. They do not include non-economic damages for pain and suffering. The economic damages are also limited.
What Does No-Fault Insurance Pay for After a Car Accident?
Your PIP insurance covers up to 80% of your medical bills and expenses. Examples of medical bills covered by PIP include, but are not limited to:
- Ambulance services
- Emergency medical care
- Hospital and emergency room bills
- Surgical procedures
- Dental procedures
- Nursing services
- Diagnostic tests
PIP also reimburses you for 60% of your lost wages if you cannot work because of your injuries. However, you cannot receive these amounts unless you seek medical treatment within two weeks of the car accident.
Furthermore, PIP is limited to $2,500 in benefits unless you sustain a medical emergency condition. These conditions impair bodily functions, put your life at risk, or impair specific organs or body parts.
Can I Sue an At-Fault Driver in Florida for a St. Petersburg Car Accident?
If you sustain severe injuries in a car accident, you might have a liability claim against the at-fault driver. Florida insurance laws include a serious injury threshold exception that allows accident victims to sue at-fault drivers in some situations. There are other exceptions that may allow you to file a lawsuit as well, such as if your case involves a drunk driver.
A liability claim could result in compensation for all medical bills, lost wages, and other financial damages. However, you can also recover compensation for pain and suffering damages. These non-economic damages include diminished quality of life, emotional distress, physical pain, and long-term impairments.
However, as mentioned above, if you sue another driver alleging fault, you have the burden of proving the legal elements of a negligence claim. A St. Petersburg car accident lawyer can help you build a case against the at-fault driver. An attorney investigates the car crash and gathers evidence to prove fault.
Evidence in a car accident case could include:
- Photographs of the accident scene
- A video of the collision from a traffic camera or other device
- Physical evidence from the accident scene and vehicles
- Evidence and opinions from accident reconstructionists and other experts
- Statements made by the drivers and eyewitnesses
- Medical records
The evidence in a car accident case depends on the specific factors involved in the crash. An attorney understands how to use the evidence to build a case proving causation and fault to establish liability for damages.
How Long Do I Have To Sue a Drive in Florida for a Car Accident?
The Florida statute of limitations for most negligence-based personal injury lawsuits is two years from the accident date as of March 24, 2023, including car accident claims. Before that date, the statute of limitations was four years. However, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations that could change the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to consult a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a car crash. An attorney advises whether you have a legal claim against the other driver and the deadline for filing your claim.
Contact the St. Petersburg Car Accident Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help
For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg car accident law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve in Pinellas County, and its surrounding areas:
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,