Florida has unique laws that are very different from those found in other states. One of these laws is the no-fault car insurance law, which applies today. So, what does this portend for motorists?
It essentially means that motorists will continue to count on personal injury protection (PIP). Moreover, they will be required to prove that they have suffered a grave injury before seeking a fault-based motor accident claim against purported ‘negligent’ motorists.
In April, state lawmakers in Florida enacted Senate Bill 54, but Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed the bill. If the bill had passed, it would have given lawmakers the authority to amend Florida’s no-fault vehicle insurance legislation, giving drivers until the following year to purchase new policies.
In a brief statement from the governor’s office, DeSantis noted that the current legislation was defective. He emphasized that he believed it did not adequately address the difficulties that motorists in the state are experiencing—as such, passing the bill could potentially yield undesirable consequences for consumers.
Although the bill garnered much support from both sides of the political divide, the veto by DeSantis indeed came as a surprise. Those in favor of the bill contended that it would have reduced the state’s vehicle insurance premiums. This would have been significant for Florida drivers, who have been among the top five states with the highest premiums. However, a further examination found that the insurance industry and medical providers were against the bill, which perhaps informed the governor’s decision to veto it.
How Will The No-Fault Insurance Law Impact Motorists in Florida
With the Florida no-fault law still in place, things won’t be changing much for motorists in the state any time soon. The Sunshine State is one of just a few states with a no-fault insurance policy. No-fault insurance means that the policy will pay for certain losses, regardless of who was responsible for the harm. This, however, does not imply that no blame will be determined in the accident.
The state of Florida adopted the no-fault doctrine in the seventies. The idea behind the plan was to protect the civil courts from becoming overburdened with lawsuits over minor injuries sustained in vehicle accidents. Instead, motorists were to get PIP insurance, which would pay up to $10,000 in medical and hospital costs without requiring them to show the other driver was at fault. Damages over $10,000 necessitate a severe injury threshold meeting before the plaintiff can initiate a negligence action against third parties or the motorist who was responsible.
Opponents of the no-fault policy claim that it is riddled with fraud, while others point out that PIP insurers go to great lengths to prevent the people they cover from collecting on their policies. Additionally, motorists who currently pay for health insurance or have it provided by their employer may consider PIP programs unnecessary.
While Florida isn’t the only state in the US that requires PIP, it is one of only two that does so without simultaneously requiring drivers to have bodily injury liability insurance. This helps to hold motorists who cause an accident accountable. However, a motorist who suffers injury must prove that the at-fault motorist was negligent to receive compensation from the bodily injury liability coverage that the defendant carries.
While many drivers in the state choose to get this coverage, the law does not oblige them to do so. A motorist who has uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage must have bodily injury liability coverage equal to or more than the uninsured or under-insured coverage. As a result, motorists in the Sunshine State could collect compensation from the at-fault party even if they were partially responsible for the accident. This is known as pure comparative fault.
Seek Professional Help
While Florida’s no-fault insurance law doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, there is still hope for drivers.
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident and seek compensation, get in touch with a car accident attorney to help you file a claim.
Your auto accident lawyer will brief you on the options available to you and guide you through the entire process to receive your compensation.