A New No-Fault Repeal Bill Enters The Florida Legislature
Florida’s no-fault insurance laws have been controversial from the beginning. The proponents see it as a necessary coverage to protect accident victims and balance against the high cost of healthcare. Opponents believe that it is driving up the costs of insurance and may be a product of government overreach. According to The Center Square, Senate Bill 54 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday February 15, 2021 and is now moving to be voted on the Senate Floor.
What Is No-Fault Insurance?
In the state of Florida, the no-fault insurance laws require every driver to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP). When a driver is in an accident, the PIP coverage is designed to cover the costs of the medical bills related to the accident injury. This insurance payment is distributed regardless of who is at fault for the accident. The goal of the no-fault laws were to help reduce the payment delays for injured drivers and the burden on the court system for hearing every accident injury case.
What Is Senate Bill 54?
Senate Bill 54 (SB 54) is a bill that is designed to repeal the no-fault system. Introduced as a bipartisan measure by Representatives Danny Burgess-R Zephyrhills and Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, it has passed through two committee hearings to date. The bill follows other repeal bills that failed to pass in 2018 and 2019. The purpose of the bill is to repeal the 1970 no-fault PIP law and replace it with a mandatory bodily injury (BI) system. The coverages would include a minimum of $25,000 in coverage for BI of a single person, a minimum of $50,000 for BI of two people, and $10,000 in property damage.
What’s The Difference Between PIP and BI?
Both PIP and BI cover the costs of medical bills. However, PIP is designed to cover the injuries that you incur as the result of an accident. BI, on the other hand, pays for the injuries of another party if you are at a fault for an accident. Switching from a mandatory PIP system to a mandatory BI system will remove the no-fault portion of accidents. However, if SB 54 passes, Florida residents will still be able to purchase PIP or medpay, but only if they want the coverage.
Will SB 54 Pass The Senate Vote?
It is challenging to say whether or not the bill will pass. Two similar bills had been introduced recently and failed to pass. There is another bill that has been introduced by Representative Erin Grall-R Vero, HB 719. HB 719 also challenges the no-fault insurance laws established in 1970 in Florida. However, it has not been passed by the committee to date. Regardless if either bill passes or not, it is likely we will continue to see challenges to the no-fault system.
How Will My Insurance Be Impacted If SB 54 Is Passed?
If SB 54 is passed, proponents argue that it will reduce the cost of insurance. They also argue it will end the exploitation of the PIP system, which has inflated other costs. They believe the repeal of no-fault insurance will reduce costs for vehicle owners. Opponents of SB 54 believe that PIP is necessary to protect accident insurance against uninsured and underinsured drivers. They also help reduce the need for expensive litigation. If the bill does not pass, there will be no changes to your current insurance rates.
Regardless if SB 54 passes or not, the Justice Pays attorneys Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh will be ready. We fight for accident injury victims and to protect their rights. If PIP is repealed we will work just as hard to ensure our clients receive compensation through BI to pay for their injuries. For more on this and other changes to Florida insurance laws, make sure to follow our blog. We help educate our readers about their rights and all the legal changes that will impact their lives.