Recently signed by Governor DeSantis on June 16th, 2021, Florida car accident laws are set to change the way drivers pursue civil damages starting January 1, 2022. Until it goes into effect, the current requirement for minimum coverage by the Office of Insurance Regulation that includes those excluded from one’s policy remains. Still, many Floridians and lawmakers are pleased that by early next year, a single driver will no longer balloon insurance rates for everyone in the household.
The End of No-Fault Could Affect Future Claims in Florida
The new law will also directly impact two types of driver insurance requirements – personal injury protection (PIP) and bodily injury liability coverage. Since 1972, every Florida resident must provide up to $10,000 in this additional coverage. PIP provides basic medical care and benefits regardless of who is at fault. Previously, bodily injury liability was never mandatory in Florida (except for a select few, such as those with DUI convictions.).
However, Florida’s Financial Responsibility Law has held that drivers must provide up to $20,000 in coverage per accident and $10,000 per person if they’re at fault – and uninsured motorists are still on the hook for it.
Under the new law, vehicle owners would not have to purchase PIP. However, they would have to pay:
- Bodily injury liability coverage, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
- If someone dies in a collision, $5,000 worth of death insurance for funeral expenses and other bills.
- Property damage liability insurance (PDL) for property damage up to $10,000.
Under this latest legislation, there will no longer be a cap on compensation for pain and suffering. In addition, insurance companies must offer optional Med-Pay with $5,000 and $10,000 in health insurance coverage that does not require any deductible payment.
For PIP, the “Serious injury threshold” is mandatory to pursue damages against the at-fault driver. With this requirement abolished in January of 2022, this would no longer be a hurdle for accident victims. However, proof of fault would be required to recover losses beyond Med-Pay or health insurance.
Depending on the amount the at-fault driver has to pay, one’s own percentage of fault would be proportional to that. This is due to Florida’s system of pure comparative negligence. For example, if you’re found to be 25% at fault in a $60,000 crash, the other at-fault driver would be responsible for $45,000.
This type of change to state insurance laws is a case-in-point for consulting a Florida auto crash attorney to represent your injury claim. These accident laws aren’t exactly user friendly and require extensive experience to avoid getting stuck with a percentage of fault.
How Will This Affect My Florida Insurance Payments?
That depends upon your current insurance needs and policy. With around one in five drivers being uninsured, Florida has consistently had one of the highest uninsured motorist rates in the country. Drivers purchasing car insurance will pay no more than 50% extra for a bodily injury liability plan, which would cover any injuries they cause. On the other hand, those who opt for minimum coverage to legally register their vehicle will experience a rise in premiums by over 50%.
Despite these changes, individuals with health insurance might decide to drop their PIP policies because they think it’s redundant. Before doing so, it’s essential to understand the potential impact this decision could have if ever in an accident. Another option is Med-Pay, which could be an alternative for those without quality health care.
With this new law, the negligent driver would legally have full responsibility for all damages they cause. Floridians already have to pay one of the highest insurance rates in the nation. It’s unclear if there will be an increase in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) because of this, which could worsen the state’s UM problem even more.
Do You Have a Car Accident Injury Claim in Central Florida?
The implications of this latest legislation underscores the importance of Floridians to carry adequate insurance coverage for their vehicles. If you have the misfortune of being struck by another driver who doesn’t have a policy or has insufficient provisions for the damage they caused, how will you recover your loss?
Jordan Law frequently represents individuals and families throughout Central Florida who are in this predicament. We have the expertise you can rely on to help you recover injury compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurer, as well as your own if they are uninsured/underinsured. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about what rights you have to compensation.