Florida requires vehicle owners to carry minimum insurance coverage, but the insurance differs from some other states because Florida is a no-fault state.
What happens when a case is worth more than the available insurance limits? You might be wondering, how often do auto accident settlements exceed the policy limits in Florida?
Unfortunately, receiving compensation beyond available insurance policy limits is uncommon. While not the norm, that doesn’t mean it never happens. Every situation is unique, and every case should be evaluated on its own merits.
If you have questions about car accident injury settlements, contact a Florida car accident lawyer at Barrett Nonni Homola & Ferraro.
No-Fault Insurance in Florida
In Florida, car insurance consists of no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL). Under Florida’s Financial Responsibility Law, the minimum requirement is $10,000 for PIP and $10,000 for PDL.
Vehicle owners must carry PIP and PDL, but there are no specific requirements for additional insurance beyond this. Vehicles registered as taxis must have bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage of $125,000 per person, $250,000 for all people per occurrence, and $50,000 for PDL.
The premise behind PIP is that you can receive payment for your injuries up to your policy limit. This coverage applies regardless of who was at fault for the collision. Unfortunately, $10,000 is not very much, which means there’s a chance your Florida car accident claim exceeds insurance policy limits. PIP does not cover fault-based compensation such as pain and suffering.
Serious Injury Threshold Law in Florida
In some instances, injured victims have the right to pursue a personal injury claim outside the no-fault system.
Under the serious injury threshold law, your injuries must affect your daily activities and result in one or more of the following:
- A serious permanent injury,
- Significant loss of a permanent bodily function,
- Substantial and permanent scarring, or
- A fatal injury.
In this case, you would have the right to pursue at-fault damages, including compensation for pain and suffering.
Compensation Options for Severe Injury Car Accidents
With a severe injury, you could exceed the PIP coverage on your first day in the hospital. What happens if the accident damage exceeds your car insurance?
If you meet the serious injury threshold, you can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. But if your injuries exceed that party’s insurance coverage as well, you would need to see what other potential coverage sources are.
Umbrella Insurance Policies
If you are lucky, the at-fault driver might carry an umbrella liability insurance policy. Umbrella policies typically don’t become active until all other auto accident insurance policies have been exhausted.
Unfortunately, most individuals won’t have an umbrella policy. It’s more common for businesses and corporations to have one. For example, if an 18-wheeler truck struck you, the trucking company would likely have an umbrella policy.
If the other driver was working at the time of the accident, you might be able to pursue a claim through their employer under vicarious liability.
The employer is responsible for the actions of its employees when they are in the course and scope of their employment at the time of the accident. That could be someone delivering items, picking up something for their boss, heading to a sales meeting, etc.
If the vehicle owner is someone other than the person who was driving, you might have a claim against the owner in Florida. Vehicle owners are responsible for the negligent use of the vehicle, even if they were not present.
In some situations, there may be multiple other parties involved. Perhaps there were three or more drivers in the accident, a municipality is responsible, or your vehicle had a defect. When you hire a lawyer to represent you, we will help you identify all potentially liable parties.
The At-Fault Driver
You might consider suing the driver directly, but that could be pointless. Many people won’t have the assets or resources to pay a judgment.
You don’t want to go through the entire legal process of getting a judgment only to find out there is no way to collect any money. Your lawyer will review the defendant’s financial situation to determine whether they might have any means of paying a judgment.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer
If you need assistance following a severe car accident in Florida, Barrett Nonni Homola & Ferraro attorneys are here to help. Don’t try to figure out on your own how often do auto accident settlements exceed the policy limits.
We have over 40 years of legal experience assisting injured Florida victims and can answer all your questions. Obtaining compensation for a car accident in Florida is complicated, so you shouldn’t attempt to pursue a claim independently.
When you retain Barrett Nonni Homola & Ferraro, you will have direct access to communicate with your lawyer.
We believe in always being available for our clients should you have concerns or need questions answered. Let us handle all the complex legal issues while you concentrate on your recovery and getting back to work.