Florida is one of only 12 no-fault insurance states in the United States. What exactly does this mean? In a no-fault insurance state, your car insurance coverage pays for your medical treatment or other out-of-pocket expenses up to policy limits—regardless of who was at fault.
“It’s entirely possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver in the state of Florida, but only if you were seriously injured in the accident,” says Gary Alan Friedman, a leading attorney at Friedman & Friedman. “That’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced attorney when you consider filing a claim.”
At Friedman & Friedman, we’re committed to helping you navigate the complexities of your case—and pursue the justice you deserve. So today, let’s take some time to review the impact of the no-fault rule in Florida automobile accident cases, and key facts you’ll need to know as you consider filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
The no-fault rule pertains to insurance, rather than whether or not you are able to bring a lawsuit against an at-fault driver. Under this rule, a driver is required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, as well as $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL). Regardless of who caused it, this coverage is required to cover medical bills and lost wages the driver might have suffered as a result of the auto accident.
In simple terms, the no-fault insurance concept is supposed to make it easier for those involved in an accident to seek medical treatment. However, there are key restrictions. In Florida, there is a limit on medical restrictions—and insurance will only pay up to a certain amount. When injuries become serious enough to exceed the law’s “injury threshold,” it’s possible to file a successful lawsuit against the other driver.
What exactly is an injury threshold? If your accident resulted in a “serious injury” defined by the state of Florida, you will likely be able to step outside the confines of the no-fault rule and file a claim or lawsuit. With this exception, you may also pursue compensation for pain and suffering damages caused by the accident.
According to the Florida statute 627.737 (2), the following is what constitutes a serious injury in the state of Florida:
It may be unclear whether your injuries meet these key conditions—which is why it is critical to speak to a knowledgeable attorney if you believe you have suffered a serious injury from a car accident. It’s also imperative to take action right away to determine whether or not you are able to file a claim, as the statute of limitations for filing is four years from the date of the accident. In some situations there can be a shorter statute of limitations and certain time limits for notice requirements.
Another important aspect to consider is Florida’s pure comparative negligence rule. This rule means that, as the victim of an auto accident, you are still entitled to compensation even if both drivers are found to be partly at fault for the accident. Under this rule, your potential compensation for damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if the total damages for your case were equal to $100,000 and you were found to be 50% at fault, you would receive $50,000 in total.
If you’re interested in pursuing a personal injury claim for your automobile accident, then be sure to contact the attorneys at Friedman & Friedman. Our seasoned lawyers have a winning track record in personal injury cases involving automobile accidents—resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We’re here to listen to your problems, understand your goals, and help you achieve them.
You can also connect with us for more insights into Florida’s stance as a no-fault insurance state—and how this affects your case. We’re always here to help.