The state Senate has advanced a measure that would eliminate Florida’s no-fault insurance rule. Florida would become one of the majority of states that operates on a tort system for resolving car accident disputes. While the no-fault system was designed to reduce clutter in the courts, it also prevents residents from filing actions against other drivers unless they have suffered a severe injury. In Florida, this generally means the breaking of bones or other organ damage.
The no-fault system has come under fire recently for a number of reasons. Florida ranks near the bottom of the country in terms of road safety and accidents and this, many believe, has something to do with a lack of accountability while driving. Florida’s no-fault system allows both drivers to recover money related to their medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages, but it does not allow drivers to collect damages on pain and suffering or other non-economic damages.
Under the new legislation, that would change.
Old Legislation Has Needed Changing for a Long Time
The no-fault legislation is a throwback to 1979 and the state requirements for auto insurance have remained the same for the past 40 years. Legislators seem to believe that abandoning the system entirely is preferable to revising it with modern requirements. Today, Florida drivers need only carry $10,000 in personal injury protection. As medical expenses have skyrocketed since 1979, it makes little sense for the number to be that low. Or at least that’s the argument.
The new legislation would operate on what’s known as a 25/50/10 system. All Florida drivers would be forced to carry a minimum policy of $25,000 in bodily injury liability per individual, $50,000 per accident, and $10 for property damage. In addition, drivers could still carry insurance that covers them against uninsured or underinsured drivers and, if they wanted, could add PIP insurance to the mix.
The PIP insurance under the revised plan would be called MedPay which insurers would be required to offer drivers but drivers themselves would have the opportunity to accept or reject that offer.
Tort System Adds More Choices for Drivers
While many have claimed that tort systems take a long time to resolve and some end in lawsuits that require jury verdicts, the plain truth is that they offer drivers more options for coverage. While drivers are required to carry liability insurance, they can also carry PIP-style or no-fault insurance if they cause an accident themselves. While reports differ on whether or not the new insurance model would cost more or less for motorists, it would put a tried and true system in place that folds in no-fault coverage into a more expansive policy.
One of the main stumbling blocks is legislation that would include changes to Florida’s “bad faith” laws. These involve suits that insurance companies have not thoroughly examined claims before denying them. Under a PIP system, the denial would come from one’s own insurance company. Under a tort system, an insurance company is expected to protect their policyholder.
Talk to a Vero Beach Personal Injury Attorney
The Vero Beach personal injury lawyers at Vocelle & Berg litigate claims against negligent parties. We have a history of success recovering damages for injured clients. Contact us today for a free consultation.