Floridians May Face Big Changes in Personal Injury Requirements
Florida Residents Might Be Facing Big Changes in Personal Injury Requirements
Florida residents need to pay very close attention to potential changes in the law pertaining to personal injury requirements. Lawmakers in Florida are meeting to consider replacing outdated PIP insurance requirements with that of bodily injury coverage requirements. On the table at this years legislative sessions is the consideration of repealing the old requirement that requires all Florida residents to carry personal injury coverage in their insurance.
These are some of the key points concerning the legislation that will affect all Floridians.
Joining Other Tort System States
As lawmakers are gearing up for legislative sessions in Tallahassee Florida, the question again is being brought to the table by elected lawmakers concerning personal injury coverage and should every resident be required to pay for the additional coverage. For the second year in a row, the Florida Justice Association, a group of plaintiffs attorneys, are looking to repeal no-fault insurance (PIP) as a requirement for Florida residents. If the repeal is able to finally pass legislation, then Florida will become the 39th state to take part in the tort system. We are not facing this in our Fort Worth Personal Injury Law Office.
Currently, if a person in the state of Florida is injured at the hands of another driver, even if they hire an experienced personal injury attorney to defend them and try to get compensation for injuries from a trucking accident and property damage, there are caps and limits in place that make it very difficult to secure an adequate settlement.
How the New Insurance Law Affects Floridians
If the proposed repeal of the PIP system passes, then it would in a sense eliminate any caps on liabilities and help to establish that drivers who cause accidents could be held responsible for pain and suffering, property damage, medical treatments, and the legal fees of the other driver’s personal injury attorney. As it stands today, Florida drivers who sue for pain and suffering are only awarded settlements if the incident involves permanent injury or death.
As early as this week, the House is expected to cast a vote on the repeal bill, while the Senate version of the bill will be debated by the chamber Banking & Insurance committee midweek.
Problems With Current Florida Insurance Coverage
Part of the reason this repeal is being pushed during the meeting is because the laws on the books today put Florida drivers at a severe disadvantage compared to other states. The new bill would in a sense swap the current requirement that state Florida drivers must purchase insurance coverage for treatment of their injuries and buy liability insurance to cover potential injuries to any occupants in the other vehicle. Drivers are currently maintaining liability insurance to protect themselves if they hurt the occupants in other vehicle, but the no-fault law in Florida only requires liability coverage if that driver was previously convicted of a certain traffic offense or involved in a crash.
Despite the PIP reform of 2012 meant to lower premiums for Florida drivers, the state is now ranked the sixth highest in the nation for insurance premium costs.
Comprehending Both Bills on the Table
Although both the House and Senate bills are similar in subject matter, they do have one big difference. The Senate bill that is in discussion who require Florida drivers to also buy $5,000 worth of emergency medical coverage (MedPay) for themselves, the House bill is not including this requirement into their discussion. The common ground for both the House and the Senate bills basically eliminates PIP requirements for Florida drivers.
The PIP requirements that are currently law and would be eliminated are include vehicle drivers will no longer have to buy a minimum of $10,000 of insurance coverage for injury or death of one person in a crash. Also eliminated would be the need for drivers to buy $20,000 of coverage for bodily injury or death of two people. The $10,000 insurance coverage for damage to the other vehicle would also be eliminated.
What Changes Can Florida Drivers Expect
If the Senate and House are able to repeal PIP auto insurance, big changes are coming for Florida residents. Drivers will need to purchase higher coverage amounts of bodily injury insurance on top of the minimum $10,000 property damage coverage. The version of the repeal on the table by the House would also increase coverage of bodily insurance to a minimum of $25,000 for injury or the death of one person, $50,000 for the injury or death of two people.
The Senate version of the bill is going to phase in mandated coverage over time, so by 2023, motorists will be required to maintain at least $30,000 worth of coverage for injury or death on one person, $60,000 for injury or death of two people.
How the Bill Affects Different Counties
Although the new repeal would affect all drivers in Florida, it does have different impacts that affect drivers in different counties in the state. Although the swapping of PIP for MedPay is going to be offset by uninsured motorist coverage and liability coverage, depending on the county the driver resides, it could cost them differently. For example, if the driver lives in Alachua County, they could expect to pay $30 more, while a resident of Miami-Dade County would see their premium drop $121.
According to the state Office of Insurance Regulation, if the bill did not include the swapping of MedPay, the average auto insurance premium would drop $81.
The Potential Problem of the New Repeal
There are many who argue that replacing no-fault coverage with expensive liability coverage would in a sense increase the number of drivers on the road who choose to risk driving with no insurance. That $5,000 Medpay mandate is in place to ensure that hospitals are not going to be left footing the bills when they treat victims of crashes who do not have insurance coverage. The president of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, Michael Carlson, says his group opposes the MedPay requirement because it adds a tax on to most driver’s insurance premiums, and they are already covered for this in their health insurance.
Members of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida feel PIP reform must include changes to bad faith laws that allow a separate lawsuit to be filed by a personal injury attorney against insurers solely based on how the insurers handle the claim. If the door is open to sue every time, eventually it will lead to an explosion in insurance costs for all Florida residents.
Speak With a Friendly Panama City Beach Personal Injury Lawyer
Still have questions about the new repeal? If you are involved in an car accident and sustained any type of injuries, the last thing you are concerned with is the passing or repeal of certain insurance laws.
Call a skilled Panama City Beach personal injury lawyer who can fight on your behalf to make certain you are treated by the best physicians and compensated for your losses.