I cannot count how many times patients have presented to the office stating that they have been injured in a motor vehicle accident and have a “Full-Coverage” policy. These individuals are under the impression that all of their out of pocket expenses will be covered by the various insurance companies involved in the accident scenario. The scenario goes like this; they were stopped in traffic and were rear ended by another vehicle. So, lets label the vehicle that was rear ended vehicle 1 and the vehicle that caused the accident vehicle 2. The person in vehicle 1 is under the impression that vehicle’s 2’s insurance policy will cover all of the expenses, both property and medical, that are incurred being that they are not at fault in this incident. Man, there is a lot to talk about here.
Let us back up a bit and dive into some of the intricacies of the Florida No-Fault auto insurance laws. The State of Florida is a “no-fault” state which I believe is mislabeled. It should be a “regardless of fault” state. So, no-fault means to the average person that no fault is assumed when an accident occurs and / or the person who caused the accident is responsible for paying all costs involved. Both of these assumptions are inaccurate. Now, I say regardless of fault because fault is assessed when an accident occurs and regardless of who is at fault the costs will be covered if you have a valid policy at the time of the incident, given the proper coverages are in place. Ok, what do I mean by this? Well, in the above scenario vehicle 1’s policy will cover the medical portion of the claims and vehicle 2’s policy will be covering the property portion. This is a contentious point, being the not at fault party’s insurance will be paying bills for an accident caused by an at fault party in a no-fault state. Wow, I am even confusing myself with this mess. Basically, regardless of fault means that regardless of who is at fault you are covered. And I believe this is a good thing. It’s nice to be in control of your situation and not rely on others to have the proper coverages in place to pay for their mistakes. Unfortunately in this day and age people are becoming increasingly less responsible for themselves and forget about them being responsible for others. This is why it is important to understand insurance matters and make certain you have the coverages in place to take care of yourself and your family. I will not even get into more complex scenarios involving hit and run incidents, drivers with no license, drivers with no insurance, DUI’s / matters of criminal behavior, or any on-the-clock potential worker’s compensation cases.