A total of ten states in the U.S., including Florida, have no-fault auto insurance laws. Under these laws, drivers are required to carry personal injury protection to cover their own medical bills up to a specified amount in lieu of establishing fault in court.
In Florida, drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP). However, that’s not always enough to cover medical expenses associated with car crash injuries.
When a PIP policy doesn’t cover your medical expenses, you have limited options. You can hire a lawyer and sue the other driver to recover compensation, but only if your case or your medical bills meet specific requirements.
What Florida law says about recovering damages in court
Florida state statute 627.737 states that a plaintiff “may recover damages in tort for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease” if the injury or disease consists of:

·  Significant and permanent loss of bodily function
·  Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
·  Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
·  Death
If your injuries meet at least one of these conditions, you can hire a lawyer and bring your case to court. In a lawsuit, the court will determine who is at fault, and award compensation accordingly.
If your injuries don’t qualify as serious under state law, the only other reason you can sue is if your medical bills exceed $10,000.
If you’re hoping to recover compensation for pain and suffering in addition to your medical bills, there’s more you need to know. If you’re required to recover compensation from your PIP policy, you won’t be entitled to pain and suffering.
Who can recover compensation for pain and suffering?
Injured parties with $10,000 or less in medical bills can’t recover compensation for pain and suffering. That’s because you need to go to court to recover this kind of compensation. In Florida, an injured party can’t sue the other driver unless:
·  Their medical bills are more than $10,000 or
·  Their injuries meet the state’s legal definition of “severe or permanent.”
It’s unlikely that “severe or permanent” injuries would cost less than $10,000, so the chances of being able to sue when medical bills are at or under $10,000 is slim. Therefore, parties with medical bills under $10,000 are not likely to recover pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering are reserved for serious injuries only
Unlike most states where anyone can sue for pain and suffering, that’s not the case in Florida. Pain and suffering are not included in compensation from PIP policies. You have to file a lawsuit to win pain and suffering compensation.
Since only seriously injured parties can sue after a car accident, only serious injuries qualify for pain and suffering. However, not everyone wins this compensation even when their injuries are truly severe.
You need an attorney to win pain, suffering, and lost wages
There are no guarantees when you go to court. No matter how bad your injuries are, it’s up to a court to determine whether or not you deserve compensation beyond your medical bills.
Pain and suffering are common forms of compensation, as are lost wages and loss of enjoyment of life, loss of support, and more. However, these additional forms of compensation are a bit harder to win.
If you don’t have a lawyer, you probably won’t win anything beyond your medical bills.
Lawyers know how to get their clients compensated
Personal injury lawsuits are not easy to fight in court without a lawyer. It’s hard to win a case when you don’t have any experience in the courtroom. You might win a little bit of compensation, but you won’t get anywhere near the amount you’d get with a lawyer.
If you don’t already have a lawyer, you need to get one as soon as possible. Even if you’re not sure your injury will qualify for filing a lawsuit, get a free consultation to find out where you stand.
Avoid self-representation – hire a lawyer today
Don’t try to fight your own case in court. Self-representation is not an easy road and doesn’t produce desirable outcomes. Being represented by an attorney is your best chance at recovering the compensation you deserve.