There are many misconceptions about Florida's no-fault auto insurance law among but old and new Florida residents. Many people wrongly assume that because Florida has a no-fault insurance law, they cannot sue to recover medical costs and lost wages. However, that is not entirely true.
When Florida's No-Fault Insurance Rules Apply
By law, every driver in the state of Florida is required to carry what is often call no-fault insurance. Basically, no-fault insurance means that you carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection, more commonly known as PIP. Your PIP will cover any medical costs that you or any passenger in your vehicle incurs, up to the limit of your policy. Since every driver is required to carry this level of insurance, that means each driver's own PIP coverage will cover the medical care associated with their injuries.
For example, if you were in an accident and went to the emergency room and required a follow-up visit with your personal doctor, all of those expenses would be covered by your PIP insurance. If you missed out on 8 hours of work to receive that medical care, you would also be reimbursed for your lost wages.
Under Florida's no-fault law you are also required to carry at least $10,000 in property damage liability, also known as PDL. This coverage will cover any damage that you are liable for. For example, if you run a stop sign and side-swipe someone's car, your PDL insurance would cover the damage to their vehicle, up towards your insurance's stated limit.
You have to carry at least this level of insurance if you have a Florida license place. If you are just passing through Florida, and have a license from another state, you do not have to meet these requirements.
When Florida's No-Fault Insurance Rules Don't Apply
Florida's no-fault insurance rules are not a guarantee that you can't sue someone for injuries that you sustain in an accident. If your medical care exceeds the limit of your PIP coverage, then you can sue the other driver for the additional costs that you incurred.
For example, if you were involved in an accident that put you in a coma for multiple weeks, your hospital bills alone would easily top over $10,000, in addition to the lost wages and recovery and physical therapy you would need after you came out of your coma. In a case such as this, where your medical costs exceed your PIP coverage, and your life was dramatically altered by the accident, you are allowed to sue the other parties involved for damages.
If you incurred medical bills that exceeded your PIP coverage in the state of Florida, you need to talk to a licensed car accident lawyer about pursuing a personal injury claim to recoup the money that you spent on medical costs and the money that you lost in wages.