Florida’s controversial no-fault insurance laws have been at issue for several years. The no-fault framework mandates that motorists carry at least $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This coverage was designed to cover the medical costs of car accident injury victims. The public policy behind this system was to ease the burden on the court system and promote efficient payment. The no-fault system presented several issues to Florida car accident victims, as it placed limitations on how much they could recover from their insurance company. Senate Bill 54 would change the state’s insurance laws, moving away from the no-fault system. Proponents of the bill argue that the no-fault system is antiquated and does not effectively meet the needs of accident victims.
Lawmakers introduced Senate Bill 54 (SB 54) in a bipartisan effort to address the no-fault system’s many flaws. The bill would address rising healthcare costs and impute liability on the party that caused the accident, instead of placing the burden on the accident victim. Under SB 54, motorists will no longer need to purchase PIP coverage, and instead will need to carry bodily injury (BI) protection. BI coverage provides critical coverage in situations where an accident results in serious injuries and hefty medical expenses. This coverage will allow claimants to pursue damages for medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, out-of-pocket losses, and most importantly, pain and suffering.
Critics of the no-fault system cite widespread fraud and inequities within the current system. They argue that the system forces older adults on Medicare and people with health insurance to purchase unnecessary costly insurance. Further, motorists who maintain bodily injury coverage are covering the costs to bail out irresponsible motorists. Finally, the coverage limit has not been updated in decades and rarely meets a victim’s needs. Many believe that the changes will reduce insurance costs and provide more options to meet a motorist’s specific needs.