Car Accidents in a No-Fault State

A car accident in a no-fault state can often mean more peace of mind, but in many situations, it can actually create complications for the injury victim. If their injury treatment costs exceed their no-fault insurance policy limit, they have to either try to prove fault (like in any other state) or resign to paying their costs out of pocket. Worse, no-fault policies in states like Florida only provide partial coverage for accident costs.man sitting on curb after a car accident

When you are hurt in a no-fault state, don’t assume your own insurance company is going to make everything alright. Know that you will have to pay a percentage of your own medical bills, no matter what, and that there are rules to what medical costs you can claim. You also are only able to recover a portion of your lost wages, and there is no compensation available for your personal pain and suffering.

After you are hurt in a no-fault state car accident, get serious about your options for repaying your damages. Talk to an experienced car accident lawyer along Florida’s Treasure Coast to explore your options for filing a liability claim against any at-fault drivers. 

Your no-fault insurance can make things a little easier, but when you have major costs it’s not going to be enough on its own! Learn more about how no-fault state car insurance works and how to try to recover some of your losses from at-fault parties by reading the information below.

What Does a No-Fault State Mean for Car Insurance?

What does “no-fault state” mean? A “no-fault state” most often refers to a state that requires all vehicle owners to obtain personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy. A PIP policy covers the costs of your own injuries in the event of an accident. In a no-fault state, someone who gets hurt in an accident can file under their own PIP plan. This plan covers a certain amount of medical bills as well as some of the income the victim lost while they heal.

In other states, the only way to get coverage for your car accident is to file under the liability insurance policy of someone else who was at fault. Otherwise, the injury victim is stuck paying the costs of their injury treatment and lost wages out-of-pocket. They can use their medical insurance if it is available, but not everyone will have medical coverage.

Put simply: when there is a no-fault state car accident, people who get hurt don’t have to automatically worry about proving fault and filing a claim on someone else’s insurance. They have their own PIP policy available (mandatory for all vehicle owners), allowing them to focus on filing a claim without having to prove fault.

However, as mentioned above, PIP coverage is not always enough to adequately cover the costs of your injury.

What Does a No-Fault Car Insurance Policy Cover?

A no-fault car insurance policy covers the following:

Medical Treatment Costs

A no-fault car insurance (PIP) policy covers the costs of ambulance transport, emergency treatment, surgical services, and hospital expenses for injuries related to a car accident. It can also cover the costs of a medical exam or treatment in a clinic, as well as your prescribed medications. Diagnostics, rehabilitation, and ambulatory services are mostly covered, as well.

But the key to remember in Florida is that no-fault insurance only covers up to 80% of your medical bills. Further, you only have a maximum of $10,000 of coverage available. If you incur a serious injury that requires surgery or a hospital stay, you can easily go past this coverage limit.

Also important to know is that you only have $2,500 in coverage unless your injury is considered an emergency. This limit can lead to disputes between the claimant and the insurer about what is or is not an emergency situation.

Lost Wages (Income Lost While You Can’t Work)

Florida PIP policies only cover 60% of lost wages, up to a $10,000 limit. This compensation can also include the costs of replacing domestic services you once did, but no longer can. Examples include an inability to do your own laundry, keep your house clean, or care for children while you are hurt.

Death Benefits

If a PIP policyholder dies as a result of their car accident-related injuries, their named beneficiary (or next of kin) can receive $5,000 in coverage for burial or funeral costs.

Is Florida a No-Fault State?

Yes. Florida requires all vehicle owners to have a $10,000 PIP policy as well as $10,000 in coverage for property damage liability (PDL). 

Unlike many other states, Florida does not also require non-commercial drivers to carry bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance. Because of this, when an accident occurs, an injury victim may not be able to file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver because that driver simply doesn’t have the insurance coverage available. In these cases, you can sue the driver directly, or you can attempt to identify other at-fault parties responsible for your accident. For example, you may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer of your vehicle if your brakes or safety systems utterly failed to prevent your injury.

Florida is also unique in that the PIP policyholder does not automatically cover everyone in their household. Instead, they have the option to elect to spread coverage to others in their household. Usually, in most states, anyone who has common access to the vehicle will be covered by the vehicle owner’s policy.

Note that if you have a PIP policy, it may cover you when you are injured as a passenger, pedestrian, in another situation so long as the cause of your injury is a motor vehicle accident. Remember to read your policy details closely, and refer to an attorney if you have a question about who and what is covered — and what isn’t.

You May Still Need to File a Liability Claim (or Sue) At-Fault Parties If You Have Major Injury Costs

What’s important to remember about an accident in a no-fault state is that your PIP coverage is only a minor convenience, at best. It can help you soften the blow of covering your injury costs, but it does not eliminate worry entirely. If you are seriously hurt — or if your PIP policyholder decides your costs aren’t covered — then you are left in the same situation as someone without insurance.

The good news is that if your costs exceed your $10,000 policy limit, you are able to file a liability claim like normal. Your claim could be against the other driver(s) involved in your collision, or it could be against a third party, such as a negligent road construction crew.

If you have a qualifying “serious injury”, you can also seek coverage for the personal pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of your accident.

What If I Get in an Accident But Am Not a Florida Resident?

See our “What to Know About Car Accidents with Out-of-State Drivers” FAQ for information on this topic.

Talk to a No-Fault Car Accident Lawyer to Learn About Your Options for Getting Repaid

When you are hurt in a car accident along the Treasure Coast of Florida, you may be worried about your expenses and may not know what options you have. You can speak to an attorney to get assistance and learn your legal rights. A Treasure Coast no-fault car accident lawyer can help you file a claim against your PIP policy, and they can also explore options for filing a third-party claim against other liable parties.

With offices in Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Ft. Pierce, Okeechobee, Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd is your convenient and comprehensive place to go for legal advice and support. Our Treasure Coast car accident lawyers have decades of collective experience helping injury victims recover as much as possible following their collision.

If you have been hurt, call us today at (866) 460-1990 or contact us online. You’ll receive a free, no-risk case review to go over the main facts of your case and learn what you can do next to seek compensation.

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Locations


Ft. Pierce Office
302 South Second Street
Ft. Pierce, FL 34950
Phone: (772) 464-4600
Fax: (772) 465-4747
Port St. Lucie Office
1887 S.E. Port St. Lucie Blvd.
Port St. Lucie, FL 34952
Phone: (772) 344-7770
Fax: (772)344-3838
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1910 S Parrott Ave
Okeechobee, FL 34974
Phone: (863) 357-5800
Fax: (863) 763-2237
Vero Beach Office
2101 15th Avenue
Vero Beach, FL 32960
Phone: (772) 794-7774
Fax: (772) 794-7773
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1561 US Highway 1 Sebastian, FL 32958
Phone: (772) 646-0662
Fax: (772) 646-0662