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Why Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law Isn’t Really No-Fault

If you drive in Florida, you are required to purchase a no-fault automobile insurance policy. Do you know what this really means?

In most other states, when two parties are involved in an automobile accident, the insurer of the party at fault is required to pay for the damages caused by the accident. In many cases, the fault is relatively clear and the proper insurer will pay for the damages.

However, in cases where the fault is not clear, or when there is an unusually high amount of damages at stake, the insurers may choose to litigate to determine who was at fault and what must be paid.

Unfortunately for those involved in the accident, litigation can take months if not years, during which time injured parties must pay for property damage, medical expenses, and other losses stemming from the accident out of pocket.

In Florida, these exact problems clogged up the court systems with insurance litigation, the cost of automobile insurance premiums sky-rocketed, and victims remained uncompensated. In 1971, the Florida legislature passed the no-fault insurance law as a way to stem these problems.

What Makes Florida’s Law No-Fault?

Drivers in Florida are required to carry an automobile insurance policy with a minimum of $10,000 coverage in personal injury protection. When you’re involved in an accident, your insurance company will pay you the coverage amounts regardless of who was at fault.

By law, your insurance company must pay you 80% of all reasonable medical expenses, 60% of income lost due to the accident, 100% of the cost of services needed due to injuries, and $5,000 per death up to the coverage amount.

So how does this work in practice if you have the minimum $10,000 coverage? Imagine you were rear-ended, suffering a neck injury that cost $20,000 to treat. You also missed work for one week, losing a $1,500 salary, and hired a lawn care service for $2,000 to maintain your lawn for you while you recovered from your injuries.

The insurer would be required to pay you $16,000 for the medical expenses, $900 for the lost pay, and $2,000 for the lawn care service. However, because your coverage amount is $10,000 the insurer would only pay you $10,000.

But what about the rest of the money? The accident cost you $23,500, and you only received $10,000 in compensation.

It’s Not Really No-Fault

If you want to be made whole, you will need to sue the party at fault and prove that he was negligent in causing your injuries. Doing this is not an easy process, and only an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to get you the money you are rightfully due.

In order to receive the full amount you are due, you must prove not only that the other party did not act with reasonable care, but also that you acted with reasonable care and did not in any way contribute to the accident.

If you have suffered permanent injuries as a result of an accident, you may be entitled to additional non-economic damages related to pain and suffering you endured as a result of your injuries.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

Why Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law Isn’t Really No-Fault

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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