Florida’s No-Fault Law Repealed
Florida remains one of only a handful of states that continues to handle auto liability cases using a no-fault standard. Basically, since 1972, drivers who are involved in accidents have been required to file claims with their own insurers to recoup accident-related losses, even if they weren’t at fault for an accident. While this standard was initially implemented as a means to cut down on litigation, it has also made it much harder for car accident victims to obtain compensation for their losses, beyond the minimum amounts of their own policies. Recently, Florida lawmakers addressed this problem by reevaluating the state’s adherence to the no-fault standard. To learn more about how these potential legal changes could affect your own civil claim, please call our Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyers today.
PIP Insurance Requirements
Under current auto liability law in Florida, all drivers are required to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance of at least $10,000. It is through these policies that injured parties must attempt to recover compensation for their medical bills and lost wages. This is true regardless of who was responsible for the crash. Unfortunately, while PIP coverage doesn’t require proof of fault, it does entail a significant amount of negotiating to actually obtain maximum benefits. For instance, only $2,500 in PIP benefits is usually available to injured parties unless the injuries in question qualify as medical emergencies. Even those who do receive the full amount of a policy are often not able to cover their hospital bills and treatment costs. Furthermore, an injured car accident victim can only step outside of this no-fault system and pursue damages directly from an at-fault driver if his or her injuries qualify as serious.
New Coverage Requirements
If the governor doesn’t veto the law, Senate Bill 54 will go into effect next year. This bill essentially repeals Florida’s no-fault law. As a result, motorists would no longer be required to purchase PIP policies. Instead, at-fault drivers will now need to use their own insurance coverage to pay for a victim’s medical expenses. This in turn, requires drivers to:
- Obtain bodily injury coverage of at least $25,000 per occupant and $50,000 per accident;
- Obtain death insurance of at least $5,000 to cover funeral expenses; and
- Provide proof of $10,000 of financial responsibility for property damage liability (PDL) coverage.
Besides this coverage, car accident victims will now no longer have a dollar limitation when it comes to recovering damages for pain and suffering, which was previously not allowed under standard PIP policies. However, in order to recover damages from an at-fault driver’s policy, the injured victim will need to provide proof of negligence. Fortunately, even if the injured party somehow contributed to an accident, he or she would not necessarily be barred from recovery under the state’s comparative negligence rules.
Contact an Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorney
To speak with a dedicated Fort Lauderdale lawyer about how the new auto liability laws could affect your personal injury claim, please call Boone & Davis at 954-566-9919 today.