Why should my insurance pay the medical bills if everyone agrees that the other car is at fault for a Florida car accident? Why should my insurance have anything to do with it???

This is a common question that people ask following a car accident. Florida is a no fault state which means that your own insurance pays your medical bills following a car accident. The reason generally ascribed to answering this is that the lawmakers wanted to be sure that everyone had some insurance to pay medical bills and did not want the cause of the accident to dictate whether someone could get treatment and thus required all vehicle owners to have no fault or PIP (personal injury protection) to pay medical bills. Obviously, it would make sense for the other person’s insurance to pay the bills if they agree they are at fault but in fact your own insurance is primarily responsible for your medical bills at 80 percent up to $10,000.

In prior blog entries, it is discussed whether it is lawful or not for the insurance company to raise your rates for an accident that you are not at fault. Generally, the law says that it is not lawful to raise your rates for an accident that you make a PIP claim; however, if you are in three accidents within three years, then they are allowed to raise your rates.

I live with my uncle in Florida and do not own a car but I was in a car accident in my friend’s car; is it possible that my uncle’s car insurance is applicable?

Yes, in Florida, if you do not own a car but you live with a relative that owns a car, then that relative’s car insurance is generally responsible to pay your medical bills following a car accident. Everyone that owns a car in Florida has to carry certain minimal insurance. NO fault insurance or PIP pays your medical bills and any medical bills of a resident relative that does not own a car. Thus, even though you were not in your uncle’s car, his insurance will generally be responsible for your medical bills following an accident because you live with him.

I own a car in Florida but was involved in an accident in my friend’s car; I do not have to use MY insurance, do I?

In Florida, your OWN insurance pays your medical bills for any car accident that you are in. YOUR insurance follows when you are in a car accident, whether your are in your car, in someone else’s car, on a bike, or even walking. And who is at fault does not matter either. This is part of our no fault system as it pertains to car accidents. So long as there is an accident, your personal car insurance pays the medical bills following a car accident that you are involved in. Generally, the no fault or PIP (personal injury protection) pays 80 percent of the medical bills up to $10,000.

Another car caused an accident and my child’s car seat was in the car; does the other person or their insurance have to replace that?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that child safety seats and boosters be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers. Whether to replace a child car seat or booster is something beyond the scope of this blog and I would defer that issue to your local fire department or expert on child car seats.

Legally, however, the person that causes an accident is responsible for any resulting property damage. In fact, Florida law requires all car owners to maintain property damage insurance that will pay for damage to your vehicle and any other property damage, like child car seats and boosters. Thus, you are allowed to make a claim against the other person’s insurance for replacing child car seats and boosters following an accident and based on the NHTSA, you should replace these items following an accident.