If you recently moved to Florida from a fault car insurance state, or if you’ve never filed a car accident claim before, you may be wondering if Florida is a fault or no-fault insurance state. In fault insurance states, for example, at-fault drivers are fully responsible for the accidents they cause. Meaning, an at-fault driver is on the hook for the other driver’s property damage, medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Florida is one of a handful of states that uses the no-fault system. So, if you are injured in a car accident in Florida, the first place you’ll seek compensation is with your own auto insurance policy. However, there are limits to filing a claim with your own policy. While it covers medical bills and other financial losses up to the policy’s limits, it does not cover vehicle damage claims or non-economic losses, such as “pain and suffering.”
PIP Coverage in Florida
Under Florida’s no-fault system, if you’re in a car accident, you file a claim against your own insurance policy – its Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP pays for the policyholder’s (and anyone else covered by the policy) medical bills and other financial losses up to the policy limits, regardless of who actually caused the collision.
If you need compensation for pain and suffering. and any other non-economic damages available, you would need to step outside the no-fault system by filing a third-party insurance claim against the at-fault driver, but there’s a catch, which we explain below.
Filing a Third Party Claim
To file a third-party insurance claim against the at-fault driver, your injury must meet Florida’s definition of a “serious injury,” which generally means you suffered significant disfigurement, a bone fracture, a substantial disability that lasted 90 or more days, significant or permanent limitation of a use of an organ, bodily function, or system.
Note: The no-fault system does not apply to vehicle damage claims. If your vehicle was damaged or totaled in the accident, you would file a claim against the at-fault driver without any limitations being imposed.
If your injuries qualify as “serious,” you should not be limited to filing a PIP claim with your own insurance company. You may be able to file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver and pursue compensation for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, which isn’t available when you file a no-fault insurance claim.
To file a car accident claim in Jacksonville, contact The Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A.