State lawmakers are in the final moments of deciding whether to pass or veto Senate Bill 54 – the most sweeping changes to the state’s automobile insurance laws in nearly 50 years, doing away with its “no-fault” insurance provision and requiring every motorist to carry bodily injury coverage.
By January 1, 2022, nearly every motorist in Florida would have a new insurance policy.
But what does this mean for Treasure Coast drivers? Our experts break down the pros and cons of these changes and what you can expect if this Senate Bill 54 becomes law.
What is Senate Bill 54?
Senate Bill 54 is a new bill proposing the repeal of the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law, which essentially states that if you are in an accident, regardless of who is at fault, you must first file a claim with your own insurance provider before seeking damages from the other party’s insurance carrier.
As of now, Florida requires drivers to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Your PIP coverage is the money you use from your own insurance company to cover your medical bills after a car accident. Only if you use all your PIP coverage can you then sue the at-fault driver and/or their insurance company.
If Senate Bill 54 passes, Florida’s no-fault PIP system will be eliminated and instead, drivers will be required to carry mandatory bodily injury coverage starting at $25,000. And, in the event of an accident, the at-fault driver and/or his or her insurance company would be held financially accountable for damages and expenses incurred by the injured party.
What is the status of the bill right now?
As of May 16, 2021, Senate Bill 54 has been approved by the Senate (37 to 3) and in the House (100 to 16). Currently, Governor DeSantis is waiting for the Legislature to hand him Senate Bill 54, at which point he can either approve or veto the proposed law.
What are the pros of Senate Bill 54?
If Florida’s no-fault system is eliminated, here are some ways that it could benefit Treasure Coast drivers:
- Reckless and careless drivers would be held more accountable for their actions.
- You could potentially include more losses as part of your insurance claim. For example, Florida’s current no-fault law does not include pain and suffering as part of PIP coverage. For those damages, you have to sue the at-fault party.
- You could potentially be able to recover more money than the minimum required insurance standards that are in place.
What are the cons of Senate Bill 54?
While eliminating Florida’s no-fault policy could offer a number of benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider.
- Insurance companies may purposely delay the recovery process or challenge more claims to avoid large payouts.
- Determining who is at-fault after an accident is not always clear-cut. In instances where both parties are partially to blame, the insurance claim process may become much more complicated and reaching a settlement may take longer.
- After an accident, if you have to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, they may be less inclined to treat you fairly. We expect more opposition from insurance companies if this law passes, which makes it all the more important to have an experienced injury attorney on your side who is not afraid to go up against big insurance companies.
What about uninsured drivers?
This is a major factor to consider of Senate Bill 54 passes. Today, about 1 out of every 5 drivers in Florida is uninsured. Now, under the no-fault law, if you get into an accident with an uninsured driver, you are able to file a claim with your own insurance company.
However, if this repeal takes place and you are hit by an uninsured driver, your options for financial recovery could be limited.
This is why it is extremely important to have uninsured motorist coverage in your auto insurance policy.
Receive the latest updates about Senate Bill 54
Big changes for Florida’s auto insurance policy could be on the horizon.
You can track the status of the bill by checking the Florida Senate’s website, or you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram to receive the latest updates about Senate Bill 54 and how it will directly affect Treasure Coast drivers.
Contact a Treasure Coast car accident attorney to learn more
Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd is here to serve Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee
The experienced and highly knowledgeable Treasure Coast car accident attorneys at Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd can help you understand these groundbreaking changes to Florida’s insurance laws.
Our Treasure Coast car accident attorneys can analyze your claim, inform you of your options, and help you with any insurance or legal claims you may have. We can also review your current policy for free and advise you on whether you should consider making changes to your levels of coverage.
Led by Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney and National Top 100 Trial Attorney Steve Hoskins, our firm has obtained over $500 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We have the expertise and experience you need to take on insurance companies in the courtroom. We understand how serious accidents can upend your life and have long-term consequences. That’s why we fight for our clients, ensuring you receive the physical, emotional and financial support you need to heal, recover, and move forward.
Call 866-930-6435 for a free consultation
We offer FREE, no-obligation consultations to all potential clients. And, you don’t have to pay for anything unless we secure a financial settlement for you. Call 866-930-6435 now to schedule your complimentary meeting with one of our Treasure Coast car accident attorneys.