In the aftermath of a Florida automobile accident, there are a number of challenges and questions that arise. Many such questions involve insurance coverage and benefits. Florida has unique and confusing laws as to insurance coverage requirements, insurance policies, and entitlement to damages for pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and mental anguish. As a Florida Personal Injury Attorney, one of the first questions that I ask a prospective client involves insurance coverage. More often than not, potential clients do not know or understand the type or amount of coverage in place under the applicable Florida automobile insurance policy. In addition, it is a bit unknown up front as to the amount and type of coverage in place for the other driver who is at fault for the Florida crash.
The fault or liability for the accident is just the start of a potential case. Just because the other driver is deemed to be at fault or responsible per the police report. The personal injury case or claim does not begin and end with the police report. In fact, the police report in most personal injury cases cannot be used as evidence at trial. Back to the issue of Insurance, Florida only requires a motor vehicle owner to carry two types of insurance in the form of PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance and PD (Property Damage) insurance. Let’s day that there is a rear end crash in which Jane Doe (the victim) suffers serious personal injuries in the form of neck fracture. The at-fault driver was covered under an automobile insurance policy with PIP and Property damage coverage. The victim was covered under a minimal policy as well in the form of PIP and Property Damage. Under this Florida Automobile Accident fact scenario, the victim can get up to $10,000 for medical bills under the victim’s PIP policy and get up to $10,000 for the property damage claim. Even though the personal injuries are quite serious, there is no insurance in place under this fact pattern for the bills beyond the $10,000 or pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, or mental anguish.
From a practice standpoint, it is important that the at-fault driver / owner have Bodily Injury insurance. In addition, it is helpful if the victim has access to what is called Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist insurance. Both Bodily Injury insurance and Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist insurance is optional. The amount of coverage can range from $10,000 to over $1,000,000.