If you drive a vehicle in Florida, you’ve probably heard the term “no-fault” more than once. Florida is a no-fault state, which influences how cases work if you’re injured in an accident.
However, driving laws for insurance in Florida may soon change the status quo.
Florida Senate Bill 54 seeks to repeal Florida’s No-Fault laws, and that would mean some serious changes for not only required insurance but also how drivers go about recuperating payment for accident injuries.
Here’s what you need to know about the current laws in Florida and the proposed changes that may take place soon.
Florida’s Current No-Fault Law
To understand how things are changing, it’s important to first understand what is currently required. Because of the no-fault status in Florida, when you’re involved in an accident, you submit claims to your own auto insurance provider regardless of who is at fault.
In order to cover this, all Florida drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection insurance as a part of their insurance policy.
PIP insurance coverage limits expenses related to medical care. It will only pay up to a certain amount. PIP coverage is meant to cover lost wages as well as medical treatment.
Serious injuries that meet the injury threshold or exceed PIP coverage induce lawsuits against the other driver to retrieve damages.
Currently, in order to pursue a liability claim against someone who caused an accident, the injuries you sustain must qualify as serious under the law.
Serious injuries resulting from accidents include:
- Bone fractures
- Significant limitations on the use of a body system or function
- Significant disfigurement
- Full disability for three months
- Permanent limitation of the use of a body system or function
If injuries do indeed meet these definitions, you can pursue a claim via personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.
Senate Bill 54: How It Would Change Coverage
Basically, Senate Bill 54 would get rid of no-fault insurance in Florida.
Instead, drivers would be required to maintain mandatory insurance coverage that covers injury and deaths related to accidents. They must also purchase death coverage.
The minimum liability requirements spelled out in the bill are:
- Coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury or death of another in one crash
- $50,000 for two or more people in one crash
- $10,000 requirement for financial responsibility for damage to property
- No limitations on damages related to pain and suffering from Personal Injury Protection insurers
The bill would also require insurers to hold the first $5,000 of MedPay benefits for 30 days in order to pay for emergency services or inpatient hospital care.
Currently, Florida is one of only two states that doesn’t require liability insurance which immediately covers anyone harmed in an accident.
Now, Florida lawmakers want to bolster PIP insurance for the protection of everyone involved in motor vehicle accidents. They’ll do so by requiring bodily injury coverage to cover at-fault drivers.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida is in the top 10 states with the most uninsured drivers.
Lawmakers hope that these proposed changes will reduce insurance rates for drivers in the state.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.