Each person’s own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance pays for up to 80 percent of the treatment cost for injuries they suffer in a car crash – as long as they have enough coverage.
This “no-fault” insurance system is different than most states that use at-fault insurance policies. In an at-fault state, whoever is responsible for an auto accident is liable for the damages.
Whether or not no-fault is a benefit or detriment to drivers really depends on the situation. In Florida, every driver is required to carry at least $10,000 of personal injury protection and $10,000 of property damage liability insurance. If vehicle damages and injuries aren’t serious, getting your own insurance company to pay for damages is often easier than arm wrestling the other driver’s insurance company for the compensation you deserve.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers on the road. Their most recent estimate is 26.7 percent of Florida motorists are uninsured.
Drivers without insurance will receive no compensation from the other driver’s insurance company unless the severity of their injuries meet the state’s no-fault threshold and they can prove the other driver shares at least some of the blame for the accident.
You may be able to take the other driver to court if your injuries are significant and may result in permanent disability or disfigurement. Personal injury protection only covers economic damages related to accident injuries, so you may also be able to sue the other driver for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
The “no-fault threshold” is designed to limit lawsuits between motorists except in cases involving serious accident injuries.
The other driver’s insurance company won’t want to pay for your medical costs if they can avoid it, even if your injuries are severe and may result in permanent disability. That’s why many injured Florida drivers turn to personal injury lawyers with experience in auto accidents. Personal injury lawyers investigate accidents and negotiate on behalf of injured people to ensure they receive fair compensation to cover their medical costs and property damage.
You can learn more about no-fault thresholds and who pays for passenger injuries on our recent blog, Who Pays for Passenger Injuries in an Auto Accident Case in Florida?
Yes – in fact, filing a personal injury lawsuit may be your only option for getting compensation if you are uninsured. However, you shouldn’t assume taking the other driver to court will be an option for you.
Having the right types of coverage is the key to recovering after any Florida car accident. If you don’t have insurance coverage you may be forced to pay for medical care or vehicle replacement out of your own pocket. Even if your injuries are severe enough to justify personal injury litigation, there’s still no guarantee your case will be successful.
In most circumstances it’s only economical to take the other driver to court if your policy limits are reached and you still have a lot of out-of-pocket costs to cover. If the other driver doesn’t have liability coverage you may be forced to go after the personal assets of the responsible party.
For that to work the other driver needs to have assets, like significant amounts of retirement savings or real estate. In many cases someone who can’t afford to pay for insurance doesn’t have many other assets to go after in a personal injury lawsuit.
You may have more options if another party is partially responsible for your injuries.
Businesses are required by law to carry extra commercial insurance coverage, such as general business liability coverage and special auto liability coverage. These commercial policies often have higher limits than the liability coverage the average motorist might carry. If an employee of a business caused your car accident, you have a much better chance of being able to recover significant damages.
There may also be scenarios where another person or entity could share part of the blame for your injuries. Maybe your accident was caused by defective parts in your car or the other driver’s car. Maybe poor road maintenance or faulty stop lights had something to do with your accident, and the city can be held liable for your injuries.
Those scenarios are far less common, but they do occasionally occur. An experienced Florida car crash lawyer may be able to identify additional sources of compensation in those cases.