No-Fault Automobile Insurance Laws
There is a confusing concept out there called the Florida No-Fault Law. This law applies to Florida Automobile Accidents. Many people are confused by the title and operation of this law. Many people believe that No-Fault means that a person cannot be held liable for personal injuries resulting from an automobile accident. Frankly, it is a confusing term for many people. Insurance companies and Florida Automobile Accident Attorneys are quite familiar with the concept and how the insurance rules and regulations work as they pertain to Florida Automobile Accidents; however, the general public is not. Here is an explanation as to how Florida No-Fault Laws work when applied to a Florida Automobile Accident. Let's assume that John Smith was injuries in a crash. The other driver negligently crashed into the rear end of John Smith's vehicle. The other driver spilled his coffee and had looked down for a moment. The other driver did not notice that traffic had stopped and then crashed into the rear end of John Smith's vehicle. The other driver was clearly at fault and was issued a traffic citation. Let's say that the other driver is insured through State Farm. John Smith is insured through GEICO. Following the crash, John Smith pursues a claim for his personal injuries. Under this fact scenario, does the Florida No-Fault Law apply? The simple answer is "Yes". Certainly, it is a confusing concept that the Florida No-Fault Law applies to a situation in which one of the drivers was clearly at fault. The Florida No-Fault Law essentially applies to two broad concepts: 1. PIP (Personal Injury Protection); and 2. Pain and Suffering DamagesPIP (Personal Injury Protection)
PIP (Personal Injury Protection) is required coverage for every registered personal motor vehicle in the State of Florida. Generally, PIP provides for the payment of 80 % of medical bills and, under some policies, 60 % of wage loss for a total of up to $10,000 in benefits. Under the above fact scenario, John Smith would need to have his medical bills and wage loss processed up front under the PIP provisions of his GEICO automobile insurance policy. That's right, even though the other driver was at fault, John Smith must use his own PIP insurance to process the bills and wage loss. This does not seem fair but it is way the system works and is one of the key parts of the Florida No-Fault Law. An injury victim will qualify for PIP under his or her own policy OR under the policy of the vehicle occupied by the injury victim but only if the injury victim did not own a vehicle and did not reside with a resident relative who owned a vehicle. PIP (Personal Injury Protection) is quite complex. It makes sense to contact a Florida Automobile Accident Attorney for guidance and advice regarding these issues.Pain and Suffering Damages
The second main component of the Florida No-Fault Law deals with entitlement to compensation for Pain and Suffering damages. In Florida, an injury victim is only entitled to Pain and Suffering damage if the victim suffers a permanent injury, permanent scarring, or permanent loss of an important bodily function. If a person dies as a result of a Florida Automobile Accident, a claim or case can be brought for wrongful death.
Section 627.737 (2), Florida Statutes - Tort Exemption - Limitations on Right to Damages- provides as follows:
In any action of tort brought against the owner, registrant, operator, or occupant of a motor vehicle with respect to which security has been provided as required by ss. 627.730 - 627.7405, or against any person or organization legally responsible for her or his acts or omissions, a plaintiff may recover damages in tort for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease arising out off the ownership, maintenance, operation or use of such motor vehicle only in the event that the injury or disease consists in whole or part of:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
The Florida No-Fault Law is confusing. Furthermore, the related laws, rules, and regulations associated with Florida Automobile Accidents are also confusing. Insurance companies are well represented by claims adjusters and attorneys. You should be well represented to make sure that your rights are protected and enforced.
David A. Wolf has devoted his career to the representation of individuals who have suffered personal injuries due to the negligence of others including personal injuries related to rear end car accidents. He is the author of several books including the book titled - When the Wheels Stop Spinning - Legal Rights of the Injured Child - What Parents Need to Know After the Accident. The book focuses on personal injuries to child caused by an automobile accident, bicycle accident, or pedestrian accident. David A. Wolf has represented clients of all walks of life and of all age groups from infants to teens to adults to seniors.