Car Accidents

Bodily Injury Liability Insurance

Believe it or not, in Florida, you are not required to carry bodily injury liability insurance. This is coverage that will protect you if you negligently injure someone else. As a result of not being mandatory, there are a lot of uninsured motorists on the roads in Florida on any given day.

If you own a motor vehicle, Florida law does require you to carry No-Fault (PIP - personal injury protection) benefits. The idea behind No-Fault is that the legislatures wanted to ensure if someone is involved in a motorvehicle accident and injured, there would be a way to seek immediate medical care and recoup loss wages without arguing about who is at fault. So, even if the other driver in a motor vehicle accident is at fault, it will be your No-Fault (PIP) benefits that pays most of your primary medical bills and loss wages.

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No-Fault (PIP - personal injury protection)


Please be advised that in order for you to be eligible for PIP benefits for accidents occuring on or after January 1, 2013, YOU MUST SEEK MEDICAL CARE WITHIN FOURTEEN (14) DAYS FROM THE DATE OF YOUR ACCIDENT.  Additionally, the medical physician must certify it was an "EMERGENCY MEDICAL CONDITION" or your $10,000 PIP policy becomes $2,500.  PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY TODAY - PURCHASE MEDICAL PAYMENTS COVERAGE AND MOST IMPORTANTLY UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE.  LASTLY, YOU MUST DOCUMENT YOUR INJURIES AND COMPLAINTS TO A MEDICAL PROVIDER WITHIN THE FIRST THIRTY (30) DAYS.  FAILURE TO DO SO WILL ALLOW YOUR PIP CARRIER TO DENY TREATMENT FOR INJURIES SUBSEQUENTLY ALLEGED AFTER THE FIRST THIRTY (30) DAYS FOLLOWING THE ACCIDENT.  I encourage you to list all your complaints and injuries on your initial appointment with a medical provider, no matter how minor or small they may be.  

No-Fault (PIP) benefits only covers 80% of medically necessary and related medical expenses associated with your injuries up to a maximum benefit of $10,000.00, subject to the aforementioned change.  Your date of accident and date of policy will greatly control the benefits  you are entitled to receive.  Many people also elect to have a deductible. Depending on when your policy of insurance was purchased, that deductible could be as high as $2,000.00. While you do pay less in premiums for a deductible, you are essentially gambling that you will never need to make a claim. If you do, you will bear the deductible amount of medical bills out of pocket before No-Fault is required to pay the requisite 80% mentioned above.

Some times your insurance company does not pay its contractual obligations. For what ever reason, they may not pay a bill or pay a bill correctly, or they may even deny your benefits in their entirety.  When this happens, you have the absolute right to sue your insurer (insurance company) to compel them to live up to their end of the bargain. Here at my office, I can assist you if such a matter arises. In most instances, the Court will award me an attorney's fee plus costs to be paid by the insurance company.

As mentioned above, No-Fault is also required to pay part of your establised loss wages. Specifically, No-Fault covers 60% of our pre-injury wages lost as a result of your motor vehicle accident and injuries if documented by a physician. If your insurance company fails to pay your wage loss claim within thirty (30) days of supplying them the requisite documentation, you can again file suit to compel them to pay the same.

After learning about Florida No-Fault, most clients want to know the answer to the infamous question, "What is my case worth?" That question, unfortunately, is almost impossible to answer, especially at the early stages of your case. Ultimately, it is up to a jury to determine what your case is worth.

Future Medical Care and Future Loss Wages

Florida law establishes some minimal guidelines. If Florida No-Fault benefits are applicable then you must establish a permanent injury and/or severe disfigurement to receive non-economic losses. That is to say, in order to get money for pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc., you must establish a permanent injury. Unfortunately, if you fail to establish a permanent injury you will also have a difficult time establishing the need for future medical care and future loss wages.

Obviously, past medical bills and loss wages are easy then. But as you have already learned, most of those should have already been paid through your No-Fault benefits, if there were such benefits available. Unfortunately, the legislatures do not want you to double your recovery, so the defendant is entitled to an offset for what No-Fault benefits have been paid. And to top it all off, if you fail to prove permanency, and you have a deductible, you basically loose the ability to claim that amount as damages as well.

Let us next talk about from who you can recoup your damages against. The most obvious answer is the defendant who was at fault for the accident. However, as alluded earlier, bodily injury liability coverage is not required here in Florida. So you may reallistically face filing suit against the defendant individually to recoup your damages if they did not carry bodily injury liability insurance.  Generally speaking you may pursue the driver and/or the owner of the motor vehicle involved, potentially giving a few avenues of recovery.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

There is another possibility, however. You can actually elect to insure yourself against uninsured and/or underinsured motorists. If you purchased uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage you can file a claim against your own insurance company if the defendant does not have any bodily injury insurance or not enough bodily injury insurance to cover your damages. While this type of insurance does cost extra, it is money well invested to protect you and your family given the current state of Florida law. I have had to turn away many injured clients in my time due to the inability to recoup their damages from any solvent party.  I cannot stress it enough to my clients, buy uninsured motorist protection, and preferrably stacked if you have more than one vehicle on your policy.  It is the only way to protect you and your family from negligent drivers here in Florida.


1.  Take pictures/video of the accident scene if possible.  Note any cameras that may be positioned toward the location of the accident.

2.  Call the police and/or fire rescue if needed.

3.  Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries (at least within 14 days at most or you will lose entitlement to your PIP benefits).

4.  Take pictures of any lacerations, abrasions or bruising, as they will heal relatively quickly.

5.  Do not speak to an insurance company until you have spoken to an attorney.

To learn more about what insurance coverages are applicable in your auto accident case, please contact my office for a free consultation. In the Orlando area at 407-657-2525 or outside the Orlando area toll free at 1-888-581-2525. If you prefer, you can send an e-mail as well with any specific question you may have.

Common Auto Accident Injuries

  • Brain injuries
  • Injuries to the spine or back
  • Neck injuries
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Foot and Ankle Injuries
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

**The hiring of an auto accident lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask me to send you free written information about my qualifications and experience. This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advise nor the formation of a attorney client relationship.

© Harvey Law, LLC 2012