If you drive a vehicle in Florida, then having car insurance is required by state law. But what if you’re in a car accident without insurance…will you face penalties? What if the accident wasn’t your fault?
Do you have rights? Let’s settle these questions once and for all:
A no-fault state
Florida is a no-fault state. This means that after a car accident, each injured person is responsible for seeking compensation from their own insurance company—not from the person responsible for causing the accident.
In a no-fault state, even if an uninsured driver causes an accident, he or she will likely not be responsible for paying the injured individual’s claims and can’t be named as a defendant in a lawsuit. Only in rare circumstances can a third-party car accident lawsuit be filed in Florida — situations where injuries are deemed “serious” or “catastrophic,” above and beyond what insurance can provide.
Car accident lawsuits
Although Florida is a no-fault state, uninsured drivers will be responsible for paying for their own damages since insurance isn’t there to pick up the slack. This means that your car repairs and medical bills will all have to come directly out of your own pocket if you’re uninsured.
In the rare event that a lawsuit is filed against you and the claimant is successful, you may be forced by the court to pay damages to the injured person out of your own pocket.
If you’re in a car accident without insurance, regardless of whether or not anyone is injured, you will likely have to pay a fine for driving without insurance. For Florida, that can be between $250 and $500. Other penalties could include license suspension and even time in jail.
Can you file a car accident lawsuit?
The answer to this question is complicated. In short, it can be difficult to recover compensation for a car accident if you didn’t have insurance at the time of the crash.
Over the past couple decades, a number of states have passed controversial “No Pay, No Play” laws — statutes which prevent uninsured drivers from seeking certain benefits and rights (including the right to recover damages) if and when they are injured in an accident, even when caused by the negligence of a driver who is insured. The thought process behind No Pay, No Play is that drivers who don’t abide by the law by being properly insured shouldn’t be allowed to benefit from someone else’s compliance with the law while at the same time denying that benefit to others.