Florida’s no-fault insurance system, taken at face value, appears relatively easy to navigate. The “no-fault” part means if you sustain injuries in a car accident, your auto insurance’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage pays for some of your medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of which driver caused the car accident.
This system works well until your medical expenses exceed your PIP limits, and you still need money to pay your medical and household bills because your injuries prevent you from working. Also, your PIP benefits do not cover your car repair costs nor intangible damages like the pain and suffering you experienced from the accident.
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Understanding Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits
Florida’s Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law requires all vehicle owners to have PIP insurance, also called “Florida No-Fault Insurance.” You must carry a minimum of $10,000 of PIP insurance which covers you up to the limits of your auto policy, regardless of whether you caused a car accident.
PIP also covers your child, members of your household, and your passengers who do not have PIP insurance because they do not own a vehicle. PIP also protects you while in someone else’s vehicle, as a pedestrian, or as a bicyclist if you suffer an injury in a motor vehicle crash.
PIP coverage pays 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages.
Your Damages must be more than $10,000
If your expenses do not exceed $10,000, your PIP takes care of your bills. However, if your damages exceed that amount, you may file a liability claim against the at-fault driver and the driver’s insurance company.
Filing an Insurance Claim Under Florida’s No-Fault System
While you may seek additional compensation, you must first meet an “injury threshold” included in Florida’s no-fault system. You may file a liability claim or personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver if the accident left you with permanent bodily injuries, physical scarring or disfigurement, or if your loved one died in the accident.
The no-fault statute does not give examples of these types of injuries. However, our law firm can help you determine whether you meet these criteria, particularly if you suffered catastrophic injuries, such as:
- A severe traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- A spinal cord injury
- Severe burns
- Loss of limb
- Internal organ damage
We can also help you get money to repair your vehicle and receive compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced from the crash.
Seek Prompt Medical Care
If you plan to demonstrate that your accident left you with catastrophic injuries, you should seek prompt medical treatment. Getting examined by a physician can help you document your injuries soon after the accident so it is clear your injuries are from the collision.
The party you are seeking compensation from may try to play down your injuries or accuse you of faking them. They could say that the injuries you claim were already there or that you sustained them after being in another accident. You should also document how injuries have affected your daily life. Keeping a written or video journal can show how your accident has affected your daily life.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)
To get benefits from uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage, you must add this optional coverage to your auto insurance policy. Some drivers pass on UM/UIM coverage, but it has its benefits. It protects you when the driver liable for your injuries does not have auto insurance or when a hit-and-run driver causes an accident.
UIM protects you when the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits are inadequate to cover your car accident expenses. We can further discuss whether you can pursue these options in our review of your case. UM/UIM coverage can also help you recover from a hit-and-run accident in which you are a pedestrian. If you are struck by a vehicle while walking, you could seek compensation from your insurer. We can help you with a claim of this kind, as well.
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Proof of Negligence Involved in Insurance Claims
From the term “no-fault,” we can assume that no one is at fault for causing an accident in Florida. However, to recover damages that go beyond PIP coverage, Florida requires proof that a party’s negligence caused an accident.
We can help you satisfy Florida’s negligence requirement by proving these four elements:
- The at-fault driver owed a duty to drive carefully.
- The at-fault driver breached that duty.
- The at-fault driver’s negligent actions caused an accident.
- You sustained damages as a result of the accident.
You must have Evidence to Support Your Case
To further prove negligence, we help you gather documentation to support your injury case. For instance, we may obtain such information as:
- A police report of the accident
- Eyewitness statements regarding your accident
- Traffic camera video that shows how the at-fault driver caused the accident
- Your medical bills
- Documentation of your lost wages
- Your doctor’s statement detailing the severity of your injuries and your future medical needs
- A mental health professional’s opinion on how the accident has affected you
We have many resources at our disposal to launch a thorough investigation into your accident to help you build a valid case.
We Can Help You with Your no-fault Accident Case
Attorneys at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can handle your claim or lawsuit from start to finish. Call us today for a free consultation at (954) 525-0050. While PIP coverage can be challenging to understand, our car accident attorneys can help you navigate the state’s no-fault law to recover compensation for your injuries and vehicle repair costs.
We can learn more about your car accident during our confidential conversation with you and determine if you have a case and what damages you could pursue.