The state of Florida requires you to carry certain minimum coverages to own and operate a vehicle. When you finance or lease a car, the financing company will usually require you to obtain additional coverage. So, the question is: “With all of this insurance, can I still be sued?”
What Insurance Covers
Before we discuss individual lawsuits, let’s talk about which insurance the state of Florida does and doesn’t require vehicle owners to have.
The state of Florida requires that all drivers carry $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability. Here’s what each covers:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – This is also often referred to as no-fault insurance and it covers your injuries up to the limit of your policy regardless of fault. If your passengers aren’t covered under their own vehicle’s policy, PIP covers them as well.
- Property Damage Liability (PDL) – This insurance covers property damage that you or a family member causes to another person’s property.
These insurance types aren’t mandatory, but they’re often recommended:
- Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) – This type of insurance isn’t required by law, but many Florida drivers either opt for this as additional insurance or it’s included automatically on a comprehensive insurance policy. BIL covers serious injury or death to others up to the limits of the policy.
- Collision Coverage – If your vehicle is damaged in the accident, collision coverage will reimburse you for damages up to the limits of the policy or the replacement cost of the vehicle. It’s for this reason that lenders will require you to carry this to protect their investments.
Who Pays for Damages?
You may have heard that Florida is a no-fault insurance state. What that means is that each driver’s insurance pays for vehicle damages, regardless of who’s at fault. Each driver makes a claim with their own insurance company. If you have a deductible, you will be required to pay it out of pocket, but if you’re not at fault, that may be reimbursed through subrogation.
There are often situations where medical expenses exceed the limits of your policy. In these cases, you may be covered by your health insurance or you may just begin to accrue debt. This is where a car accident attorney, like the professionals you’ll find at firms like Friedland & Associates, can assist you.
When a Driver Be Sued For a Car Accident?
As was previously mentioned, Florida is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that each driver must try to file a claim with their own insurance company, but that doesn’t mean that the story ends there. What if insurance doesn’t cover all of the medical expenses, which it often doesn’t. Where will the injured part turn for the rest of their money?
Once a driver exhausts their personal injury protection and any additional coverage that they have, they must attempt to get restitution from the at-fault driver or their insurer. In serious accidents, where a debilitating injury or wrongful death occurs, it’s not uncommon for the at-fault driver’s insurance to reach its limit. For instance, if the at-fault driver carries a $100,000 in liability coverage, but runs a red light and hospitalizes the other driver, the medical bills can exceed that limit. Under those circumstances, the injured driver or the victim could try to get compensation from the at-fault party via the courts.
Another case where a driver could be sued individually is when they fail to carry the coverage required by law. In this case, the driver failed to meet their financial responsibilities as a Florida motor vehicle operator. The other driver or their insurer may choose to sue for compensation.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you could be facing astronomical medical bills. Contact a professional car accident attorney before accepting a settlement from your insurer.