There is a common misconception amongst drivers because of the Florida no-fault law, that the at-fault driver does not take on the liability after an accident. While it is true that Florida is a No-Fault state, this does not necessarily mean the at-fault driver is off the hook from taking responsibility, but rather that there are benefits put in place through our car insurance companies to protect all parties involved. Here is more information on the matter from your expert personal injury attorneys at The Simmons Law Group.
What No-Fault Law Means To An At-Fault Driver
According to the Legal Dictionary, No-Fault law refers to the kind of automobile insurance that provides that each driver must collect the allowable amount of money from his or her own insurance carrier subsequent to an accident regardless of who was at fault.
Florida No-Fault Law pertains to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits that we all, as insured drivers in the state of Florida, have on our policies. Ultimately, this means that whether you or the other driver is at-fault, your insurance policy will carry the amount of coverage they will pay for your medical expenses. This is certainly one of the perks of being a Florida driver.
It is important to note that these PIP benefits come from your insurance. PIP benefits are included in part of what you pay in premiums for your car insurance to ensure you are protected in the event of an accident. This law was put in place in an attempt to minimize the number of tort lawsuits connected to car accidents. However, at bare minimum, it allows for some of your medical expenses to be covered by your car insurance.
How No-Fault Law Can Benefit You
Before your health insurance company will pay a single cent towards any medical expenses related to your car accident, they will require written proof from your car insurance carrier that PIP benefits have been exhausted. This is the very first step in the road to recovery.
However, if you do not claim your PIP benefits within the first 14 days of the accident, you will be barred from receiving them. This technicality can pose an obstacle in pursuing your claim as your health insurance (if applicable) may not cover some expenses and it could impact the value the at-fault insurance carrier places on your claim. If you are genuinely hurt, it is critical to meet that 14-day deadline, otherwise they will contend you waited too long to treat and therefore, do not need their assistance.
These benefits, if not pursued or used appropriately, may have a significant bearing on your potential personal injury settlement as it pertains to how much of your settlement may be apportioned to medical expenses. This is aside from pain and suffering or future compensation that goes directly to the injured party. While Florida No-Fault Law is a blessing in disguise, it is important to understand the concept fully in order to get the most out of your benefits.
All this being said, it is always beneficial to consult an attorney when you are involved in an accident with injuries because fair compensation for your claims are inextricably tied to Florida’s No-Fault Law.
If you are significantly injured in a car accident, we highly recommend reaching out to us to see how we can best support you. Florida’s statute recognizes four types of injuries that qualify for seeking a personal injury claim after a car accident:
- Significant loss of an important bodily function (such as walking), permanently
- Permanent injury
- Significant disfigurement
As a top personal injury law firm, The Simmons Law Group provides expert and effective legal representation for our clients to ensure justice is served. If you have recently been involved in a car accident, contact us today so we can help you start the process.