Florida’s Permanent Injury Threshold
In Florida, all motorists are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance of $10,000. It is under these policies that accident victims must first seek compensation for their injuries, regardless of who actually caused their accident. Unfortunately, $10,000 doesn’t go very far for those who have sustained even moderate injuries, which is why accident victims who can satisfy what is known as the permanent injury threshold, can step outside the no-fault system and file lawsuits against the at-fault party in court. Read on to learn more about what kinds of injuries satisfy Florida’s permanent injury threshold.
Florida’s Auto Insurance Requirements
Florida law requires vehicle owners to carry certain types of auto insurance coverage, namely:
- PIP insurance of $10,000, which covers up to 80 percent of medical expenses and lost wages incurred after an accident; and
- Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance of $10,000, which covers any losses a driver causes to someone else’s car.
An accident victim can seek compensation under these policies even if he or she caused the crash. Policyholders, however, are limited by the $10,000 maximum, which is often not enough to cover even the most basic treatment costs. In fact, if a medical condition is not considered an “emergency”, a policyholder is actually only entitled to $2,500 in compensation. Furthermore, in exchange for not having to prove fault in order to receive compensation for accident-related medical bills, policyholders give up the right to pain and suffering damages. In some cases, however, it is possible for accident victims to step outside the no-fault system, in which case they will not be limited in their recovery.
What is the Permanent Injury Threshold?
An accident victim who suffers a permanent injury can seek compensation directly from the at-fault party who caused the accident by filing a civil claim in court. However, before someone can take this step, he or she will need to prove that an injury satisfies Florida’s permanent injury threshold, which states that to qualify an injury must:
- Result in significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- Be considered permanent within a reasonable degree of medical probability (besides scarring and disfigurement);
- Result in significant and permanent disfigurement or scarring; or
- Result in death.
Claimants who can satisfy this standard can recover the remainder of their past and future medical expenses (not covered by insurance), as well as reimbursement for the cost of repairing or replacing a damaged vehicle, compensation for lost income and benefits, and reimbursement for mental anguish, inconvenience, and pain and suffering. Proving that an injury satisfies this threshold can be complicated and usually requires consulting with an expert medical witness. For help building the evidence you need to meet this threshold, reach out to our legal team today.
Contact Boone & Davis for Legal Assistance
If you were hurt in a car accident and are struggling to pay your medical bills, please call the dedicated Florida auto accident lawyers at Boone & Davis for help. You can set up a free consultation by calling our office at 954-566-9919 today.