Personal Injury

Inserra Law Firm/Personal Injury

What is Florida “No Fault” Law?

Insurance companies tend to keep their customers out of the loop concerningthe coverages they offer. When asked about their automobile insurance policy, most people that come to my firm do not even know what coverage they carry, what levels of coverage they have, or when their insurance will cover them. Florida, among many other states, is what is known as a No-Fault State.

No-Fault law was decided upon by the Florida legislators put into place for all insurance companies. Under the provision, insurance companies are required to provide a certain level of coverage for their insured if they are involved in a car accident, regardless of fault. In exchange, an injured party of an auto accident can only bring a claim against an at-fault party if they have sustained a permanent an injury.

The insurance companies’ mandatory coverage of their own insured is called Personal Injury Protection or simply PIP.

What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, is coverage that every driver in Florida is mandated to carry on their insurance policy. Florida state law requires a minimum of $10,000 coverage on every auto insurance policy. If you are in an auto accident, PIP will cover or reimburse a portion of expenses including medical bills related to injuries sustained in the accident, lost income, prescription medication prescribed for injuries, and the mileage to and from medical facilities for as long as you receive treatment.

14 Day Rule: it is important to understand that under the 2013 PIP law change, an accident victim must get “initial services and care” within the first two weeks of the crash if they want to receive benefits through their PIP coverage.

Payout limits: Under the new 2013 PIP law, the limits of coverage have also changed. Under the new rules, if you received treatment within the 14 day timeframe, and: you suffered only non-emergency injuries, you can only receive $2,500 in benefits.  Whereas, if you have been found to have an “emergency medical condition” by a qualified provider, you may be eligible to receive the maximum $10,000 in coverage available to you.

How do I claim PIP?

No matter who is at fault, you will file a PIP claim with your own insurance company. If your own policy does not cover you, you may still qualify through a relative you live with who owns an insured vehicle or as a passenger of an insured vehicle.

What if I don’t have PIP?

Even if you do not have PIP, you should still seek medical attention. You can file a claim against the at-fault driver of the accident to receive compensation for medical bills.

Talk to a Florida Car Accident Attorney About Your Case

If you have questions about recovering benefits from your PIP policy after a car accident, call attorney Andrew Inserra.

What is Bodily Injury Coverage?

Being the victim of an accident can result not only in physical damage but in emotional and mental damage as well. On top of coping with stressful medical bills, an accident can lead to missed time at work and even ultimately resulting in the loss of dependable income for a victim and their loved ones. This can result in an inability to pay regular living expenses.

Most auto accidents are caused by someone else’s negligence, whether intentional or not. While most car accidents are not intended, they are usually the result of driving errors or the condition of the vehicle being driven. The negligent driver is the operator that caused the accident, and it’s the responsibility of their insurance provider to compensate you after the car accident.

The responsible insurance company should pay elective coverage called, “Bodily Injury Coverage” or, “BI.” This type of coverage is for all injured parties, but compensation is not automatic.

Insurance companies will make you work hard to prove that your injuries require the compensation you’re asking.

Do not try to negotiate with the insurance company by yourself. Their adjusters are friendly and want you to think that they’re advocating for you, but they’re not.  These adjusters may tell you that you don’t need an attorney, but you do.

Florida Uninsured Motorist Coverage Explained

Frequently Asked Questions

1. WHAT IS UNINSURED MOTORIST/UNDERINSURED MOTORIST (UM) COVERAGE IN FLORIDA?

Most people are shocked to hear that Florida is has the fifth highest rate of uninsured drivers in the whole Country. Nearly a quarter of Florida drivers on the road do not have auto insurance. What can you do to protect yourself? Electing Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist, aka “UM” insurance coverage through your own insurance company is one of the most important ways to protect yourself. Keep reading for more information then call attorney Andrew Inserra.

UM is an additional coverage that can be purchased on an automobile insurance policy. The purpose of UM is to protect yourself and others in the event you are in an accident and either an at-fault driver has insufficient liability insurance, or you are involved in hit-and-run accident or another situation where the at-fault party cannot be identified.

2. WHO DOES UM COVER?

UM covers not just you, the driver, but also generally covers the spouse and household relatives of the policy holder. Additionally, UM covers passengers in your vehicle.

But it is also important to understand that UM follows the individual, not the car. What does this mean? UM covers all insureds whether they are riding in your car, riding in another person’s car, or even a pedestrian or riding a bicycle and hit by a car.

3. IF YOU DON’T HAVE UM CAN YOU QUALIFY UNDER SOMEONE ELSE’S POLICY?

Even if you don’t have UM on your policy, you may qualify under another policy. If you are a passenger, you may qualify to use the host vehicle or host driver’s UM Policy. You may also qualify under a resident relative. Bottom line is that there are many ways to qualify depending on your independent circumstances and the language of the policy. It is important that you contact an experienced attorney who can review all of your options and explain if you can qualify for UM.

4. IS UM ONLY AVAILABLE IF THE AT-FAULT DRIVER IS UNINSURED?

NO.Most UM policies also operate as underinsured Motorist Coverage. If you are injured by an at-fault driver due to automobile negligence, and that driver’s Bodily Injury Coverage cannot adequately compensate you for your loss, you may be able to recover  additionally from a UM policy.

5.WHAT DOES UM COVER

  • medical bills
  • pain & suffering
  • lost wages and disability
  • loss of the future enjoyment of life
  • lost wages and disability
  • long term nursing care
  • wheelchairs and medical devices
  • death
  • replacement services for things you are no longer able to do: yard service, cleaning, etc.

6. WHY IS UNINSUREND MOTORIST IMPORTANT IN FLORIDA

In 2012, 23.8% of Florida drivers had no auto insurance. Florida ranks #5 in the USA for the number of uninsured drivers on the road

49% of Florida auto insurance policies have limits of $25,000 per person or lower. In many cases we see, this coverage is not enough to cover the medical bills in an accident.

If you are hurt or injured in a car accident by one of these uninsured (no insurance) or under-insured drivers (not enough insurance), you may have to pay for your own injuries out of pocket. This is why we recommend you buy uninsured motorist coverage.

7. WHAT HAPPENS IF THE AT-FAULT DRIVER DOES NOT HAVE BI AND YOU DO NOT HAVE UM?

If the at-fault driver does not not carry bodily injury coverage, and you do not have UM, no matter have severe the accident, you will not be able to recover anything from the insurance company other than the initial PIP coverage.

If this happens, you have a right to bring a judgment against the at-fault driver directly for the injuries you have suffered due to their negligence. This would require doing after the other person’s personal assets.

8. WHAT LIMITS ARE AVAILABLE

All insurance companies in the state of Florida are required to offer UM coverage. In the state of Florida, if a person opts out of UM coverage, they are required to sign a statement declining UM coverage to show they elected not to include UM on their policy. However, as previously mentioned, the amount of uninsured drivers in Florida is shocking and our law firm strongly recommends all driver’s include UM coverage on their policy. If you are not sure about your current coverage, call your insurance agent right away to find out.

In Florida, you can reject UM coverage, or chose a limit of insurance. You cannot chose an UM limit higher than the bodily injury liability limit you selected. Typical UM limits available on auto insurance policies are:

Uninsured motorist limits are usually shown with two figures (ex. $25,000/$50,000). In this example, the first number listed ($25,000) is the maximum amount any one person can collect. The second number listed ($50,000) is the max available for all people injured in the accident — regardless of the number of people hurt.

HOW CAN WE HELP

Even if you have UM coverage, you may encounter resistance. Your insurance company may try to unfairly deny or limit the amount you are compensated. This is a tactic we are fully prepared for and ready to repress.

If you were in a collision with a driver who did not have proper insurance coverage or is underinsured, you may be worried about how your medical costs and other losses will be covered. Andrew Inserra offers dedicated and skilled representation to persons injured by motorists with little or no insurance.

Liability in a Florida Uber or Lyft Car Accident

Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft have taken over the street transportation industry.  When you login to the app and catch a ride, you expect to be taken to your destination safely. Unfortunately, accidents do happen and with more drivers choosing to work for these rideshare companies and more people taking advantage of the easy and convenient transportation, the number of accidents continues to grow.

This is why it is so important to know your rights if you are hurt in a rideshare accident

There are some special considerations when an accident occurs that involves an Uber or Lyft driver.

Major Ridesharing Companies Have Large Commercial Insurance Policies to Cover Accidents

You May Collect From the Rideshare Company If You’re a Passenger

If you’re the passenger in the Uber or Lyft vehicle, you can look to the rideshare insurance policy for your injuries. If you suffer catastrophic injuries, the at-fault driver is the one responsible for your losses. If that’s the Uber or Lyft driver, you look directly to their insurance policy.

In cases where the other driver is at fault, you might find that they don’t have sufficient insurance to cover your losses. In that case, the Uber or Lyft policy should kick in to cover what the other driver can’t cover. If you’re the passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, you can rest assured that the commercial insurance policy should cover losses in almost any situation when you’re riding in a rideshare vehicle.

If You’re the Driver in a Rideshare Vehicle

If you’re driving for Uber or Lyft, your company carrier guarantee protects you anytime that you have a passenger or you’re on the way to get a passenger. When you’re looking for a passenger, the rideshare company’s insurance policies may be lower.

Also, the insurance policy may not cover your personal losses if you’re at fault for an accident. You should carefully read your personal insurance policy and your rideshare company’s insurance guarantees to make sure that you have the coverage that you want and need for your rideshare business.

Florida’s Rideshare Driver No-Tolerance Laws

Florida’s new ride-sharing insurance laws require rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to prudently screen the people that they allow to work for their companies. Under the laws, the company must background check new applicants. They may not work with a driver if the driver has a drunk driving conviction in the five years before their application. They must also reject applicants with a reckless driving conviction, a hit and run or another disqualifying traffic offense within the five years before their application. Sex offenders are also disallowed. Finally, the rideshare companies must make sure that all of their drivers have a valid license.

If a working driver is suspected of drunk driving, the rideshare company must suspend them from offering services. They must suspend them until the drunk driving allegations are resolved whether or not the drunk driving occurs while driving for the rideshare company. If the driver receives a disqualifying conviction, they may not continue to work for the rideshare company.

If the rideshare company doesn’t follow these mandatory safeguards and you’re hurt as a result, you may have an additional claim of action against the rideshare company. In addition to liability for the events of the accident itself, you may have a claim against the company for their failures to take the necessary steps to check the safety of their drivers. Your lawyer can help you investigate to see if this type of liability may apply in your case.

How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help?

An accident with an Uber or Lyft can be confusing. Whether you’re the driver, the passenger or in another vehicle, you may not know what to do to get the compensation that you deserve.

If you have been in an accident involving an Uber or Lyft, call attorney Andrew Inserra or fill out our contact form to schedule your free case evaluation. There is no fee unless we win.

My lawfirm is experienced in handling rideshare accidents and have been successful in obtaining very large settlements for both drivers and passengers

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