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If Florida is a “no fault” state as it pertains to car accident, does it matter who is at fault for an accident?

Fault definitely matters!

In terms of who pays your medical bills, Florida is a no fault state and your own insurance pays your medical bills, regardless of whether you are at fault or not. That is the no fault laws in Florida.

Now, in terms of who pays to fix the car, we are on a fault system. So if another person causes the accident, their property damage insurance coverage (which happens to also be required) will pay to fix your car if they are at fault.

Lastly, in terms of who pays you for your injuries (unpaid medical bills AFTER PIP, pain and suffering, etc.) we are also on a fault system. Thus, if the other car is at fault their bodily injury coverage (which is generally not required) will pay you for your injuries.

What adds value to my car accident case in Florida? – Part 1

Clients and others call the office at times and ask, “How do I increase the value of my case?”  There are a lot of answers to this question, so I am going to tackle it in several posts.

There are a lot of things that you have complete control over that can help your case.  First, listening to your doctor and completing the recommended treatment is an important way to add value to your case.  Said another way, when some people refuse to go to the doctor or simply suffer instead of going to the doctors decrease the value of their case.  The insurance company, all things equal, will notice if a client goes to a first visit with the doctor and then does not show up for a month.  The suggestion there is that the client must really not be hurt if there is that much of a gap in treatment.  There very well may be good reason why the client did not go during that month, and certainly that could be explained to the jury in court, but this opens the door to a defense argument that the person must not be hurt if they didn’t do any treatment for a month.

Second, making sure that all of your complaints are documented will add value to your case.  If for whatever reason (either you forget to tell the doctor or if the doctor mistakenly omits something) there are injuries that are not reported in an initial visit that opens the door for the defense to argue that that injury was not caused in the subject accident.  For example, you go to the doctor complaining of neck and back complaints.  A month later there is a new complaint of knee injury that ultimately results in knee surgery.  The problem there is that, since that knee complaint was not referenced initially, i would expect the insurance company and later their defense lawyer to argue that the knee injury was not caused in the accident as it was not diagnosed initially and thus must not be related.

I was on my bicycle and was hit by a car but do not have health insurance; who pays my bills?

In Florida, most vehicles are required to have PIP (personal injury protection) insurance.  That coverage pays for medical bills following an accident, regardless of fault.  If you own a car in Florida, under our no fault laws, that insurance would generally pay for your medical bills (usually 80 percent up to 10k of payments) in the above scenario (even though you were not in THAT car).  If you did not own a car but lived with a relative that owned a car, then that relative’s insurance would generally pay for you medical bills in the above scenario (even though you were not in THAT car)..  If you did not own a car nor lived with a relative that owned a car, then you would generally qualify for PIP coverage from the vehicle that hit you.

If you have any questions about the above or were involved in an accident, please call Drucker Law Offices!

I do not own a car and live by myself in Florida and I was in my friend’s car but another car hit us and caused the accident; which insurance is responsible for my medical bills?

In Florida, the owner of a car is required to have no fault or personal injury protection (PIP) which pays 80 percent of the medical bills up to $10,000, regardless of fault for the owner. It also pays the same towards the medical bills of any resident relatives of the owner who do not own a car. It also pays for any passengers of the car that do not own a car nor live with a relative that own a car. Thus, in this scenario, you generally will qualify for PIP under your friend’s PIP coverage, since you were a passenger and don’t own a car nor live with a relative that owns a car.