Florida No Fault Car Insurance: What Does It Mean?
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Florida is a 'no fault' auto insurance state. Only a dozen other states have no fault auto insurance laws, but what does the term 'no fault' really mean?
To find out, we asked Brian LaBovick, of LaBovick & LaBovick, an Car accident attorney in South Florida who specializes in auto accident cases, to explain the intent of the law. "Florida is the type of state that does not believe in mandating laws if they are not necessary, so they try to make the laws as minimally invasive as possible here. That is the intent."
The theory behind the law
The theory behind the no fault law is sound to many and the Florida legislature seems to have put a lot of thought into how the law would work. LaBovick explained, "If they make a law that is invasive, that forces you to get insurance to cover yourself—keep in mind here you're covering yourself—and the state legislature would say to that, 'Why do we want to force people to cover themselves? Shouldn't they have the right to do that with a health insurance or a disability policy? Why do we have to do it with automobile insurance?' There's got be some tradeoff there, so the tradeoff was that back when PIP was initiated in the late 1970s, they decided to create an exemption, or a right, of the people that carry this insurance to not be sued if they meet the state-mandated insurance requirements and they carry PIP insurance."
Using your own insurance
Simply put, no fault means that no matter who is at fault, you need to use your own insurance. LaBovick continued, "No matter who is at fault, use your own PIP insurance and, unless you meet certain thresholds (and they have state-required thresholds), you can't turn around and sue the person who hurt you because you have this insurance and they can't sue you. It creates a right among the people not to be sued if they're carrying this insurance unless the person they hurt meets a certain threshold."
"That threshold is set out in Florida law and it's basically losses of major bodily function, permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, death, significant scarring or disfigurement. Unless you have one of those things happen, you can't sue someone for your future pain, suffering, etc."
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