Florida No-Fault Auto Insurance May Be A Thing Of The Past
In May 2021, the Florida legislature passed a bill seeking to repeal Florida’s current “no-fault” auto insurance laws, hoping to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on state roads. The bill is awaiting the governor’s signature, as of this writing, but even at this point the proposal has several critics who argue that repealing the no-fault laws will lead to even fewer drivers with insurance. The outcome remains to be seen, but it is true that the state’s auto insurance system has led to less than optimal outcomes for many injured people.
No-Fault Positives & Negatives
The concept of no-fault auto insurance is appealing to most; in a no-fault system, drivers who are involved in accidents do not file lawsuits against each other over injuries. Instead, they are required to be carrying a certain amount of insurance coverage, which they are intended to use to cover their medical bills. In Florida, drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage. In theory, this is meant to cut down on the number of lawsuits that clog Florida’s district dockets.
In practice, however, the system has problems. For example, Floridians are required to carry certain amounts of insurance coverage, but in the last five years or so, polls have shown that approximately one-fourth of Floridians do not have any auto insurance, at any point in time. In addition, insurance companies are naturally reluctant to pay auto accident claims, which can stretch out a person’s fight to get their medical bills paid. Some people also simply would prefer to try and hold the person who actually caused their accident accountable, instead of filing an insurance claim which may raise their premiums even though they were not at fault.
Confusing For Motorcyclists & Pedestrians
One other factor that can complicate matters for Floridians is that the no-fault rules generally only apply to automobiles. The relevant statute explicitly specifies that it only applies to four-wheeled vehicles, which means that motorcyclists should carry a standard insurance policy for themselves and their passengers. There are dollar requirements – generally, a motorcyclist must carry similar amounts of insurance to automobile drivers; $10,000 in bodily injury liability for one person, $20,000 for bodily injury for multiple people, and $10,000 for property damage coverage.
Conversely, if a pedestrian is involved in an accident, one might think that they are not entitled to insurance coverage because they are not in their car. In reality, they can make a claim on the insurance belonging to the driver who hit them; if the driver has no insurance, though, they are permitted to make a claim on their own PIP insurance. As long as a pedestrian’s injury was caused by impact with a motor vehicle, Florida law holds that it may be compensable under PIP insurance.
Call A Tampa Vehicle Accident Attorney
While the ultimate fate of Florida’s no-fault insurance system rests with the governor (as of this writing), for now, it is important to understand your rights and your options under the current system. The Tampa car accident attorneys from the Rinaldo Law Group can try to help answer any questions or deal with any concerns you may have about your case. Call our offices today for a free consultation.