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Drivers in Florida have probably heard that Florida is a “no-fault” state. While you may have heard of the term, do you know what it means? How does it factor into your car accident? Is no one really at fault if there is a car accident? As a Florida driver, it is important to understand what living in a “no-fault” state actually means.

When it comes to Florida personal injury law, the term “no-fault” has to do with car insurance. It does not have an affect on car accidents, in that someone can certainly still be found at fault for an accident. No-fault refers only to an individual’s auto insurance policy. Florida adopted the no-fault insurance policy in 1971; it was only the second state in the United States to do so. It was originally intended to reduce the number of personal injury claims that were filed following a car accident, but it does not eliminate the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit.

No-fault insurance allows collection of insurance proceeds after an accident even if a driver is at fault. Essentially, fault is not supposed to matter in awarding insurance proceeds. A no-fault standard of insurance was implemented for a variety of reasons. These reasons include:

  • Give individuals involved in an accident the ability to collect from their insurance policies, even if they were found to be at fault in the accident. 
  • Reduce personal injury suits by encouraging collection via insurance policy
  • Lower auto insurance premiums
  • Eliminate inequities caused by the at fault system previously implemented.

If you are driving in Florida, one of the types of insurance you are required to have is a Personal Injury Protection policy, commonly known as a PIP policy. The PIP policy provides coverage for medical costs, lost wages, and death benefits following a car accident. There are limitations to what a PIP policy will cover, however. This is why no-fault insurance will completely replace the personal injury claim option to recover damages. Individuals who are limited in the recovery of damages still need compensation for their injuries. A personal injury suit allows for additional collection of damages, even if a driver is partially at fault for the accident. In a personal injury suit, Florida law will reduce a damage award by the percentage at fault that falls to the plaintiff.

PIP insurance does not cover damage to your personal property, like your car. Instead, the damages to your car are covered under an additional insurance policy taken out by you or through the insurance of the other driver. If the other driver does not have insurance or adequate coverage for the claims, this could be included in a civil lawsuit for damages.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence or wrongful act of another, the personal injury attorneys at Dennis Hernandez & Associates are here to help you. We know how frustrating dealing with insurance companies can be. Let us help you recover after an accident by figuring out what your legal options are. We want to get the best possible compensation under the circumstances for you. Contact us today for a consultation.

Photo by Lance Asper on Unsplash