No-Fault and Not Safe Either
The Florida State No-Fault auto insurance model has governed Florida drivers since the early 1970’s. It was originally designed to reduce litigation. However, the concept was based on the idea that those injured in automobile accidents would have the source of auto insurance coverage to pay for their own medical bills or lost wages.
While Florida’s No-Fault auto insurance law may appear to make it easier to pay for medical costs or compensate for lost wages for the injured, the question remained as to whether it had any effect on making our roadways safer to drive on. The answer to that question can be found in the fact that Florida has never required owners or drivers of motor vehicles to carry liability insurance coverage to pay for injuries to others. When I share this fact with my clients the reaction is always the same: disbelief?
With so much human carnage and suffering on Florida’s roadways, no Florida law requires the average driver or owner of an automobile to have bodily injury liability insurance. This hits home in tragic ways which I have witnessed through my years of legal experience representing those injured in automobile accidents and their families.
So, is it time for a change?
Currently, a proposal is pending in the Florida legislature to require every registered owner of an automobile to carry a minimum of $25,000 of bodily injury liability insurance. The proposal would eliminate the no-fault insurance system and its payout of Personal Injury benefits, PIP, and turn Florida from a no-fault insurance state to a take responsibility state. By requiring this type of liability auto insurance coverage, drivers will have actual accountability for the negligence that hurts others on the road. Insurance companies will set premiums, as always, based upon the risk of the policyholder. The prospect of having to pay more for insurance coverage will motivate Florida drivers to drive safer and the injured will know that there is a source of funds from which they can be compensated for their injuries and lost wages.
While this isn’t the law in Florida yet, the time is well overdue to change the way we govern the negligent drivers on Florida’s roadways. Let’s hope we get rid of “No-Fault” and become a full responsibility state.