Florida’s No-Fault Law
Many Florida drivers mistakenly believe that under Florida’s no-fault law, they cannot be sued for a car accident. Not only is this not the case, but the no-fault law actually involves insurance coverage for drivers. Every driver must carry a minimum of $10, 000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. They must turn to their own insurance company at the time of an accident, regardless of fault.
Under Florida’s no-fault statute, PIP coverage only covers 80% of medical bills from an accident, and only up to 60% of lost wages or income suffered as the result of an accident. This is also subject to the deductible the driver has chosen for their PIP coverage.
There are exceptions to Florida’s no-fault law which permit a motorist to directly sue the other motorist who caused the accident. The first exception is if a person suffers a permanent injury as a result of the accident. Florida statute (627.737(2)) defines a permanent injury as: (i) significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function; (ii) permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement; (iii) significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; or (iv) death. According to this statute, if a driver suffers a “permanent injury” as defined above, then the driver is not subject to the no-fault limitation against the at fault driver. He may be able to bring a claim not only for medical bills and lost wages, but also to recover for pain and suffering and other “intangible” damages suffered as a result of the accident. Another exception would be if the injuries suffered are not permanent, however the medical bills (or lost wages) total more than the $10, 000 in PIP coverage. In this case, a claim can be brought to recover the medical bills (or lost wages) which are not covered by the PIP insurance.
Although Florida is a no-fault state, the application of the law is limited. Therefore, it only applies to those accidents in which the medical bills and/or lost wages or lost income do not exceed $10, 000, and where one of the individuals involved has not suffered a permanent injury.
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