Anywhere, anytime, anyone. Traffic accidents don’t discriminate,
and they remain a significant source of
personal injury and death across the country.
In Florida alone, there were over 373,600 traffic accidents last year, resulting in more
than 2,850 fatalities and approximately 243,000 injuries. Even those that
result only in property damage can cause major headaches. Every accident
is unique in the chain of events that led to its occurrence, and the insurance
companies spend a lot of resources trying to unravel the string of circumstances
in order to figure out who pays.
The majority of states work under the principles of fault-based liability
insurance coverage. Drivers in these states are required to carry minimum
amounts of insurance, and when they are at fault in an accident, their
insurer pays for the other driver’s expenses. In Florida and eleven
other states, no-fault car insurance is offered instead. Also known as
personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, it pays for the driver’s injuries after an accident regardless
of who caused the accident. In exchange for limitations on the right to
sue, each driver’s insurance company pays for its own policyholder’s
expenses, including medical costs, property repair costs, lost wages and
An accident victim’s bills often exceed the amount covered by their
insurance policy. Because it’s unfair to make a victim pay for bills
that are not their fault, the law allows for limited situations in which
those who have been seriously injured can attempt to hold the at-fault
driver accountable. A victim can pursue a personal injury action against
the at-fault driver where there is significant and permanent loss of an
important body function, significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement,
or permanent injury.
Several states pursued tort reform by enacting no-fault laws during the
1970s as a way to reduce car insurance rates, reduce lawsuits, and get
claims paid quickly. Many of these laws were subsequently repealed. Current
Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty is one of many voices who
think fraud and high costs have made it time to end PIP in Florida. Senator
Jeff Brandes has
introduced a bill to terminate mandatory no-fault coverage by 2019.
While there are reforms on the table, there are just as many instances
of prior reforms not working.
A nationally televised documentary featured the recent bust of an organized car insurance fraud ring involving
suspects from Palm Beach, Martin, and Miami-Dade counties; a major lawsuit
has been filed claiming HCA hospitals around the state are using up the
entire $10,000 in PIP benefits in as little as a single day; Florida drivers
pay the nation’s fourth-highest car insurance premiums. With federal
health law coverage, eliminating PIP could save drivers an average of
20 percent on their total bill.
As one of South Florida's most respected and oldest law firms,
Stabinski & Funt, P.A. has helped many people sort out their legal rights, responsibilities,
and remedies. For 45 years, we have been the trusted advocates for countless
traffic collision victims, and we are highly experienced in handling a
wide range of
auto and truck accident cases. We also work on a contingency basis, which means that if there is no
recovery, there is no fee or cost to you. If you wish to learn more about
how our firm can be of assistance to you, we encourage you to contact
us for a free consultation by calling 305-643-3100 or
filling out a case evaluation form.