17 May

No-Fault Insurance: What Is It, When Is It Applicable, And What Are The Pros & Cons?

Car Accidents, Personal Injury

No-Fault Insurance: What Is It, When Is It Applicable, And What Are The Pros & Cons?

When you’re injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you are entitled to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. Unfortunately, not every Florida driver abides by the state’s insurance requirements, and many are driving uninsured. If you’re involved or injured in a car accident, there can be costly repercussions. Depending on how severely you’ve been injured, you might find yourself facing thousands of dollars in medical expenses. In addition to your everyday utilities, you might not be able to afford that. If the driver who caused an accident and your injuries is driving without insurance, odds are they can’t either, and you’re probably wondering how they’re gonna cover the cost of your damages and injuries.

That’s where no-fault insurance comes in. No-fault insurance was introduced in the 1970s, in an effort to reduce the delays and inefficiencies of the system. This allowed accident victims to recover financial losses like medical expenses and lost income from their own insurance companies. No-fault insurance is applicable in 12 states in the U.S. and Florida is one of them. While some states allow you to opt out of no-fault insurance, and pursue legal action against the at-fault, uninsured driver, Florida is not one of them. 

What Is It & When Does It Apply?

As a no-fault insurance state, the state of Florida requires that injured drivers file personal injury claims with their own insurance. Personal injury protection, a required coverage to obtain a valid Florida vehicle registration, will cover the medical expenses and other financial losses of anyone included on your policy, regardless of who caused the accident. At a minimum, vehicle owners have to carry $10,000 in personal injury protection, and $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. 

When you’re involved in an accident, regardless of who was at fault, you can file a claim for medical expenses with your personal insurance company, and avoid having to pursue legal action against the other party. There are both pros and cons to no-fault insurance in Florida.

Pros Of No-Fault Insurance

There are several pros to Florida having no-fault insurance in place including but not limited to the following: 

  • If an uninsured driver injures you, you don’t have to worry about their inability to cover your injuries. 
  • If a driver were to injure you in a hit-and-run car accident, you’d still be covered. 
  • When an accident occurs, you turn to your own insurance company to make claims, regardless of who was at fault. There are no lengthy legal battles involved.
  • Since fault isn’t a factor, claims are likely to be paid much more quickly than if blame was still trying to be placed.
  • In addition to medical expenses being paid, no-fault insurance also offers coverage for lost wages in the event that you can’t return to work immediately, and even offers death benefits for up to $5,000 for covered individuals who died as a result of the accident. 

Cons Of No-Fault Insurance

  • Compensation is limited. For example, 80% of medical expenses and 60% of loss income is covered by no-fault insurance. While this is generous coverage of minor injuries, there is still a combined 60% of medical expenses and loss of income wages uncovered if injuries are extreme and result in substantial expenses or time off of work. 
  • Your insurance will most likely go up. While it’s nice that no-fault insurance allows you to avoid a costly legal battle, it is likely your premium will go up after being involved in an accident, even when you weren’t at fault. In a state where no-fault insurance doesn’t exist, you’d sue the at-fault driver for the cost of the damages, and your insurance wouldn’t be affected, though it’d likely take a long time to recover compensation.
  • Lack of accountability. Determining who’s at fault isn’t a priority in a no-fault insurance state, so you might find it unfair that the at-fault driver probably suffers less from the consequences of their actions than you do. 

Are There Any Exceptions To No-Fault Insurance? Is It Optional?

There are a few exceptions to no-fault insurance, all of which fall under whether or not your injuries qualify as “serious” injuries, you’ll be able to pursue a liability claim against the at-fault driver. What qualifies as a serious injury in Florida includes the following:

  • significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
  • permanent injury
  • significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • death.

When injuries meet these qualifications only are you allowed to pursue a claim outside of personal injury protection. Classification of serious injuries varies by state. 

As far as no-fault insurance being optional goes, it is not. It is a state-mandated law. You cannot simply choose to opt out of no-fault insurance in the state of Florida at any point in time. 

About Our Firm

At The Florida Law Group, we have over 100+ years of combined experience helping accident victims of all kinds understand their legal rights in the state of Florida and pursue compensation when they’re entitled to it. We’ve been recognized by some of the state’s most prestigious legal organizations including the National Trial Lawyers Top 100, The Best Lawyers in Tampa Bay, the Trial Lawyer Board of Regents, Florida Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America, and more. We’ve also recovered $1 billion in compensation for our clients. 

How We Can Help You

We are one of the state’s oldest and most reputable firms, and we have extensive knowledge of Florida’s personal injury laws, so we know how to guide clients through the various issues that they might face. If you’ve been injured by an uninsured driver and your injuries qualify as serious injuries in Florida, we can help you file a personal injury claim and pursue compensation for the injuries you’ve sustained. Don’t wait to get the representation you deserve, call The Florida Law Group today to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney and learn about your next steps.