Classified as “no-fault states,” the 12 key states in the United States, including Florida, adopt their respective versions of the no-fault insurance system. Residents are not familiar with this concept unless they are in an auto accident themselves.
What most people do not know is that there are two types of thresholds in no-fault systems–verbal and monetary.
As a competent Florida auto accident attorney can tell you, the state enforces the verbal threshold. What it means is that the severity of the damage will determine whether you can sue the other party.
Florida has this in common with other states such as New Jersey, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania.
On the other hand, Utah, Kansas, North Dakota, Hawaii, Kentucky, and Minnesota use the monetary threshold as a rule.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles revealed that Broward County had the most number of recorded car crashes in the state. Its county seat, Fort Lauderdale, recorded over 5,400 auto accidents in 2017.
The threshold must first get crossed before the victim can file for a tort liability claim against the other party.
When Are You Exempt from the No-Fault Restrictions?
The main characteristic of no-fault insurance is the restriction on filing a lawsuit against the other party. The law does not attribute blame in case of a road collision.
In an ordinary auto crash, both parties will file a claim for property damage or personal injury with their respective auto insurance companies. You can do this with a personal injury protection or PIP coverage. You are required to purchase the PIP if you live in a no-fault state.
In Fort Lauderdale, the minimum PIP amount is $10,000. But, just like with any other insurance policies, the coverage does not kick in after you have consumed your deductible. You can always increase the amount of the premium when you talk with your insurer to include property damage.
Once you exceed the limits of your PIP, you are on your own unless you make the other party shoulder the cost of continuing medical expenses.
Unlike with the monetary threshold where you can sue the other party for tort liability when you cross the dollar cap, you must first establish the verbal threshold.
The conditions are not as black and white compared to the monetary benchmark.
The Florida law gave some examples of when the victim can sue:
- When the victim has suffered permanent disability as a result of the car crash
- When the victim has lost a vital limb
- When the victim could no longer work because of the accident
- When the victim dies
- When the victim suffers permanent disfigurement
- When the victim needs a lifetime of therapy due to the injuries sustained
Even if the Florida Statutes listed down some of the exemptions, proving that you qualify is another matter altogether. A Florida auto accident attorney can help craft a legal strategy to help determine your case.
Typically, lawyers do not charge an acceptance fee or a retainer’s fee from the victim of the car crash. But they do charge a certain percentage when you win the case. This system could prove to be advantageous for you since they have every incentive to get the highest amount of compensation that you deserve.