Florida subscribes to the no-fault auto insurance doctrine, meaning that all motorists in the state must file a claim with their insurer if they suffer injuries in an auto accident. Florida requires all motorists to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
You’re likely aware that auto accidents sometimes result in far more catastrophic injuries than $10,000 in insurance benefits may cover. If you’re wondering what your options are once you exhaust your PIP coverage, then you’ll next need to use your health insurance (provided you have it) to cover your medical bills. State law may only allow you to sue the negligent motorist after exhausting PIP and health insurance benefits.
Many car accident victims and jurors are under the false impression that an at-fault motorist ends up being sued in their personal capacity in instances where a bodily injury claim is filed. That’s not the case.
Knowing who gets sued could impact how much you demand to settle your accident case as the injured party pursuing a pre-litigation settlement. This knowledge could also impact how much damages juries award when asked to decide such cases during litigation.
Who pays damages when an auto accident occurs?
The person who caused a car accident isn’t the one to pay medical bills, funeral expenses and other accident-related costs stemming from a car accident, whether it’s resolved pre-litigation or decided on by a jury in a courtroom. An at-fault motorist’s insurance company pays damages in accident-related civil litigation matters. Insurers do this once an accident victim exhausts their PIP benefits and the health insurance company has made payments (if they had such coverage).
Now, it is possible for an at-fault motorist, for example, to be held personally liable for an accident if a car accident victim’s damages exceed a negligent driver’s insurance policy limits. The at-fault motorist’s car, home, bank accounts and virtually anything else they own may be in jeopardy of being seized by the court and liquidated or turned over to the injured party to satisfy a defendant’s judgment.
Medical expenses can be quite costly, especially the more unique your condition and the more dedicated care you’re likely to need over your lifetime. It can give you peace of mind knowing your options for recovering damages.