No Fault Insurance in Florida: Potential Changes to the Law
Currently, Florida is a no-fault insurance state. This means that if you are hurt in a car accident, your insurance will pay your medical costs up to your plan limits regardless of who was responsible for the collision. No-Fault Insurance was facing its end earlier this year when the Florida House voted to repeal its no-fault insurance law. However, the bill which contained this proposal, House Bill 19, did not pass before the legislature ended the session. While this proposed change did not make it into law, the question of whether or not this issue will arise in the future remains.
The Current State of Law
Florida requires that all drivers be insured. Drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) in the amount of at least $10,000 which is to provide coverage for their own injuries no matter who is at fault for the accident and $10,000.00 of personal property liability (PDL) insurance.
House Bill 19
Before its defeat in committee, House Bill 19 proposed that Florida drivers would carry bodily-liability insurance to cover injuries to other people. Only Florida and one other state do not have this requirement. While this bill was unsuccessful, the issue of moving to a fault-based system could return. Here are some ways in which a change from the current no-fault insurance law to a fault-based model could affect you:
Accident Costs May be Assigned to the Person At-Fault
With no-fault insurance, your insurance simply pays up to your policy limit while the other driver’s insurance does not have to pay anything towards your expenses. The net effect could be that your insurance rates will increase as a result of your claim even if you are not responsible for the accident. Under the proposed change, the person at fault’s insurance would pay rather than the party with no or less liability.
Payments May be Delayed
One of the benefits of the no-fault insurance system is that it provides quick payment to drivers after an accident. This is beneficial to someone who has incurred medical and other expenses which need to be paid. The reason for the expedited payment is that the insurance company does not have to investigate liability before issuing funds. A change to the current law would mean that there would be more investigation by the insurance companies which in turn, would probably delay payment to the injured party.
You Could Get More Adequate Compensation
The minimum coverage under the no-fault insurance requirements is $10,000 for PIP. When a person is injured in an accident, their medical and other expenses can quickly escalate well beyond this policy amount. The no-fault system restricts those that do not have “serious” injuries from a car accident from pursuing recovery of additional funds regardless of their expenses. Under the proposed system, the victim could file a claim seeking just compensation from the party at fault’s insurance and then file suit if they refused to cover their losses.