First of all, let me say that I consider the term no fault to be a bit of a misnomer, which means that the name itself doesn’t necessarily indicate what it really means. That’s because it causes a lot of confusion. Some people hear the term no-fault and they think that means they cannot make a claim against the other driver, because no one’s at fault in the accident, but that’s really not the case. What no-fault really means is, it doesn’t matter who’s at fault in the accident, your own insurance company will step up to the plate and pay your medical bills under your Personal Injury Protection or PIP for short, under your auto policy.
What we had was, back in the day before no-fault, when you get injured in an accident, and you go to the doctor, if you didn’t have insurance, then maybe the doctor’s office didn’t want to treat you, because they didn’t know whether they’d get paid. Therefore, there were a lot of people who were hurt and unable to get treatment. The Florida legislature decided that they were more interested in having people get treatment immediately than having people go untreated. That’s why they’ve required your auto insurance company to again step up to the plate and immediately begin paying your bills, no matter who was at fault in the accident, whether you were at fault or the other driver was at fault.
Now it doesn’t mean that your insurance company’s going to pay for all of your medical bills. Under your policy, you’ll probably have $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection, which means that your insurance company will pay up to $10,000. However, they will first typically apply a deductible, in most cases, it’s $1,000, where you pay the first $1,000 out-of-pocket, and then they pay 80% of your bills, up to a max of $10,000. That’s for medical bills. You may also have reimbursement for your lost wages, but those are paid at 60%. Then, you still have a claim against the at-fault driver for any co-pays that you have. That deductible that you have, the 20% copays to the PIP that you have, and then if you have any lost wages, the 40% of lost wages that were not reimbursed, plus any and all future medical bills. The amount of damages that you can claim against the at-fault driver really depends on whether you’ve suffered a permanent injury.
If you have not suffered a permanent injury then you can just get your medical bills paid for by the other driver in a claim. If you have suffered a permanent injury, then you may be entitled to additional damages in the form of what we call pain and suffering; mental anguish. Those types of damages can also be recovered. As these things can be relatively complicated, so if you want to talk to someone about your legal rights, then give us a call at 850-898-9904.