When an accident occurs one of the first questions that gets asked is, “whose fault was it?” Determining liability is important so that the person or party responsible for the accident can be held accountable for resulting damages. At least that is how it works in an at fault insurance state.
Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which sets it apart from most. Many state residents are unsure exactly how this affects their insurance, and their right to sue for personal damages after an accident. The car accident lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau can help their Daytona Beach, FL, and Palm Coast, FL, clients understand their legal options following a car accident.
Understanding No-Fault Insurance
In a no-fault insurance state, all drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Florida requires drivers to carry at least $10,000 in PIP coverage. If an accident occurs, each driver uses their own PIP coverage to pay for personal losses sustained from the accident, regardless of who is at fault for the collision. PIP insurance covers a wide range of accident losses, including:
- Medical expenses (including hospitalizations or surgeries)
- Cost of medication
- Cost of ongoing medical treatment
- Lost income
What about Property Damage?
In addition to carrying PIP coverage, all Florida drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Property Damage Liability coverage. Property Damage Liability coverage will pay for the cost of property damage sustained in a car accident. Property Damage Liability differs from PIP in that each driver does not use his or her own insurance to cover the cost of property damage. Instead, the driver considered liable for the accident is usually held responsible for the cost of all property damage stemming from the accident, up to the amount of their policy limit.
Can You Sue for Accident Damages in a No-Fault Insurance State?
Many of our clients ask if they are able to sue a liable driver for car accident damages. If the personal damages sustained in a car accident amount to less than $10,000, PIP coverage will cover the expenses, so a lawsuit can’t be filed even if another driver was at fault. However, there are certain exceptions that allow a personal injury lawsuit to be filed following a car accident, despite Florida’s no-fault status.
If a person’s medical expenses following a car accident amount to more than $10,000, they can file a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury lawsuit allows injury victims to hold liable parties responsible for any losses exceeding $10,000. Damages covered by a personal injury lawsuit may include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of wage-earning potential, and pain and suffering.
Additionally, any person who sustains a permanent injury in a car accident can sue the liable driver for resulting damages. Injuries that are considered permanent include disfigurement, disability, the loss of a vital bodily function, and death.
If you have been injured in a car accident and have questions about your right to file a personal injury lawsuit, the team of lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau would be happy to provide some guidance. Call our Daytona Beach law office at (866) 610-0653 to schedule a personal consultation at your earliest convenience.