After being involved in a car accident, you expect that your injuries and damages will be compensated by your insurance policy or the at-fault driver’s insurance company. But what happens when your car accident claim exceeds insurance policy limits? In Florida, the “no fault” auto insurance law, provides certain options in the event insurance policy limits do not cover the full extent of damages incurred in the accident.
Florida is one of a dozen states that have no fault insurance laws on the books. All drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which require every driver to file a claim with their own insurance company after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
PIP coverage pays for medical expenses due to injuries sustained in an auto accident, including any medical or surgical procedures, as well as hospital expenses, medication, rehab, and diagnostic services. However, Florida PIP coverage will pay for only 80 percent of your medical costs. Additionally, if your injury is not considered an emergency, you may only receive $2,500 to pay for your damages. For any medical expenses that are not covered under PIP, your health insurance may be able to pick up whatever expenses are not paid in full.
PIP coverage will also pay for 60 percent of your lost wages if you are injured in an accident, resulting in a disability. However, these lost wages are subject to a $10,000 limit. Payment covers any services or work you would normally do but can no longer perform due to injuries sustained in the crash.
Given the high cost of medical care, more often than not, you may find yourself with damages that far exceed what your PIP will cover. In these situations, a number of different options are available to cover the gap. To avoid this possibility, many Florida drivers add bodily injury liability coverage to their insurance policies. This extra coverage protects you in the event you are in an accident, and the other driver sues you for medical costs that exceeds what his or her PIP will pay. Additionally, medical payment coverage can also pay for the 20 percent of your medical expenses that your PIP will not cover, which makes sure that your personal injuries are covered in full.
If you sustain serious injuries following a car crash, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against one or more individuals responsible for the accident. Florida law allows car accident victims who sustained serious and permanent injuries that go beyond their insurance coverage to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party.
The law defines permanent injuries as ones that involve a significant or permanent loss of an important bodily function, permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, and/or significant scarring or disfigurement. A wrongful death claim can be filed in the event the accident led to the death of the victim.
The types of damages that can be recouped in a personal injury lawsuit include any medical bills that were not covered by your PIP, including future medical care, property damage, lost wages and loss of future earning capacity, permanent disability or disfigurement, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium for household members negatively affected by your injuries.
Given the complexity of winning a personal injury case, we always recommend a personal injury attorney be consulted to ensure that your injuries are, in fact, serious enough to qualify under law. This usually means that you must have sustained at least one of the following: fractured bones, significant disfigurement, permanent or significant limitation of use of a part of your body or organ, and/or substantially full disability for at least 90 days. An experienced personal injury attorney can best assist you in preparing your case and obtaining you the compensation and damages you are entitled to under the law.
Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis, P.A. is based in Orlando, FL and was founded in 1966. The firm is comprised of award-winning trial lawyers who have obtained significant verdicts and settlements for the injured and their families throughout the State of Florida. We provide free consultations to all families suffering from wrongful deaths or injuries caused by car accidents or catastrophic injuries. If you are not sure where to turn following a serious car accident, call us today at (407) 843-7060.
Virtual sign-ups available. To learn more, visit https://www.whkpa.com/.
A civil trial attorney with the firm Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis, P.A., Mr. Damaso concentrates on cases involving personal injury and wrongful deaths and solely represents individual victims and consumers. He takes his clients' cases personally and is committed to their best possible outcome. His strong sense of community has led to his support of numerous charities in the Orlando area.