For the majority of people, an auto insurance policy is not a quick or fascinating read. And even though we’ve all been told we should never sign any agreement without fully understanding it, most drivers do just that when they buy car insurance.
This tendency raises significant questions for all Florida drivers: Do you know what will happen if you’re injured in a car accident and you need a car crash attorney? How will your medical bills be covered, and can you sue the other driver? Knowing the answers to these questions before you need them could prevent a lot of anxiety and wasted effort.
The No. 1 thing all Florida drivers should know is that we are a “no-fault insurance” state. This means that regardless of what insurance company you choose or who is at fault for an auto accident, your provider is required by law to cover your medical expenses up to a certain threshold. This coverage is known as personal injury protection, or PIP — an abbreviation that may look familiar if you’ve at least scanned your policy.
In most cases, no-fault insurance translates to a much easier resolution to your car accident injuries. But there are other details about no-fault insurance that you need to keep in mind:
Your PIP doesn’t cover property damage. Your injuries in an accident will be covered by your own policy, but that new dent in your car door is another matter. Payment of property damage depends on which driver is at fault: If the other driver caused the crash, his or her liability coverage will pay for your vehicle. If you’re at fault, it will be covered by your own collision insurance, if you have it in your policy.
No-fault coverage limits your ability to sue the other driver using a car crash attorney. The beauty of no-fault coverage is that it’s immediate; you don’t have to wait until fault is determined before receiving the care that you need. In fact, this was the goal behind creating this type of insurance. But it also means that before you can sue the other driver using a car crash attorney for any damages, including pain and suffering, they must extend beyond a specific threshold.
Your PIP coverage limit depends on the language in your policy: Some no-fault states have a monetary threshold, meaning that there is a specific dollar amount of medical expenses your insurance provider will cover before you can file a lawsuit. Florida has a verbal threshold, which means that the coverage limit is expressed in terms of medical conditions (for example, death or disfigurement). If your injuries exceed these conditions, you may sue the other driver for damages.
If you do suffer injuries in an accident, no-fault insurance can provide some peace of mind. But you may want to contact a car crash attorney who can guide you through the process of recovering damages, either through your own policy or a lawsuit, depending on the severity of the crash. If your policy doesn’t cover all your medical expenses, an experienced car crash attorney can help ensure you’re compensated to the fullest extent of the law.