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Is Florida a No-Fault State?

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Posted on March 3, 2024

Florida is one of just 12 states in the country that operate under a no-fault automobile insurance system. If you get involved in a car accident in Tampa, it is crucial that you understand the state’s no-fault law and how it will affect your ability to recover financial compensation for your medical bills and other losses.

Fault vs. No-Fault Insurance States

In the United States, auto insurance laws fall into two main categories: fault and no-fault systems. The vast majority of states use a fault-based law. Under this system, the driver or party who is determined to be at fault for causing a car accident is responsible for paying for the damages of the other parties involved. Fault must be proven or established by the victim using evidence to qualify for coverage in a fault state.

Under a no-fault insurance system, each driver’s car insurance company is responsible for covering their medical expenses after a crash, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. In a no-fault state, drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to pay for their medical bills. The no-fault system in Florida aims to streamline the car accident claims process, ensure timely compensation and reduce legal disputes.

How Does Florida’s No-Fault Insurance System Work?

After a car accident in Florida, each involved party will contact his or her own car insurance company to file a claim. An investigation of the crash to determine fault and liability (financial responsibility) will not be necessary if both parties are filing PIP insurance claims. Each driver’s own auto insurance coverage will pay for their medical expenses and, in some cases, other damages such as property repairs and lost wages.

What Is Florida’s Serious Injury Tort Exemption?

There are exceptions to Florida’s no-fault insurance system. If a car accident results in serious or catastrophic injuries, the injured party may take legal action against the at-fault party outside of the no-fault system.

Florida Statutes Section 627.737 gives a tort exemption for car accident injuries that consist of any of the following:

  • Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
  • Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability.
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
  • Death.

In these circumstances, it is possible for an injured victim to step outside of the no-fault system and file a third-party insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the driver or party who caused the accident. In these scenarios, damages that are blocked in a no-fault claim (including pain and suffering) are made available.

How to File an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident in Florida

If you get involved in a car accident as a resident of Florida, call the police from the scene of the crash to file a police report. Do not admit fault for the car accident. Seek medical care for your injuries without delay and keep copies of your medical bills and records. Call your own car insurance company to report the accident and file a claim as soon as possible.

Once your insurance company has been notified, it will process your claim. If you wish to pursue first-party PIP coverage for your medical bills, your insurer will most likely approve your claim and issue a prompt settlement. If you believe you have grounds to sue the other driver outside of Florida’s no-fault system, however, you should contact a Tampa personal injury attorney for legal advice before settling. Contact Vanguard Attorneys today for a free consultation.