Could Florida Become an At-Fault State for Car Accident Claims?
Most drivers in Florida know that Florida is a no-fault state for auto insurance purposes. Accordingly, if you are involved in a car crash and suffer personal injuries—even if the other driver is clearly at fault for the auto collision—you must seek compensation through your own insurance company. Indeed, Florida drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which is their source of compensation in the event of physical harm in a motor vehicle accident. However, as a recent report from Wink News emphasizes, PIP coverage often is not enough to fully compensate a car accident victim for his or her losses. To be sure, it pays up to $10,000, but even that amount does not cover everything. It only pays 80 percent of an accident victim’s medical bills—which alone can total far more than $10,000.
Recognizing the limits of no-fault auto insurance laws and PIP coverage, Florida lawmakers have introduced legislation that, if passed, would result in Florida shifting to an at-fault state. While a new report from News 4 Jax indicates that the bill has stalled in the Florida Senate, it is nonetheless important for Florida drivers to understand more about what is at stake.
Attempts to Move to an At-Fault Auto Insurance System
This year is not the first point in time that Florida lawmakers have attempted to repeal the state’s no-fault auto insurance system. Indeed, legislators have attempted to shift the state to an at-fault system at numerous times in the past. Yet it does not look like the measure will be successful this time around, either—at least not at this point. According to the News 4 Jax report, the Florida House voted to move the bill (HB 779) forward. The legislation, if passed, would put an end to the no-fault system and would require drivers in Florida to have bodily injury coverage in much larger amounts than current PIP coverage (as other at-fault states do) to cover injuries.
However, the Florida Senate version of the bill (SB 378) has met with resistance. As the report explains, the proposed legislation “appears stalled over a proposed amendment designed to restrict ‘bad faith’ lawsuits, which involve allegations that insurers have not properly looked out for the interests of their customers.” HB 779 does not include this language about bad faith claims. Florida senators who support the repeal of Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system but do not support the bad faith amendment are frustrated. As a result, a vote on the bill has been postponed.
Filing a Car Accident Claim in Florida
If you are injured in a car crash in West Palm Beach or elsewhere in Florida, your first step under the current system is always to file a claim with your own insurance company and to get compensation through PIP coverage. When insurance coverage is insufficient, some car accident victims may be able to file lawsuits against the responsible parties.
Florida has used the no-fault auto insurance system for decades, and the $10,000 PIP requirement has not changed since 1979. To be sure, over the last 41 years, Florida drivers have been required to carry the same amount of PIP coverage even though inflation has resulted in much higher costs.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a car accident, you should know that you may have options to hold the negligent driver accountable and to obtain the full compensation you deserve. An experienced Boca Raton car accident lawyer can help with your case. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC for more information about filing a claim.