In previous blogs, we’ve commented that clients often find our “no fault” auto insurance system frustrating. They often can’t understand why their own insurance has to pay for medical care and other expenses right after they are involved in a crash.
Part of the answer is that Florida lawmakers wanted to create a simple, self-executing insurance system which minimized expenses for everyone involved. Using “first party” insurance was the solution they figured would make things quick and easy. It just didn’t work. The straightforward, hands-off system they tried to create almost 50 years ago has turned into a monster.
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident in Clearwater, our Board-Certified injury advocates can help you get the most out of your auto insurance claim!
The Finger-Pointing Game
One of the problems we’re seeing in more and more cases is insurance companies failing to agree on who has to pay no-fault benefits in the first place. When different insurance companies insure different people within a household, a finger-pointing contest can develop between them.
Insurers have every incentive to try and dump the obligation to pay on someone else. But even when the duty to pay is clear, some seem to operate on the principle that they’d rather pay later rather than sooner. Clients always end up being the losers in these situations. Lost wages can remain unpaid for months, while medical providers threaten to end their treatment because no one is paying their bills.
Insurance companies don’t mind this either – they’re all for injured people ending their treatment and putting a lid on their own damages.
Sharing the Cost: An Unfavorable but Realistic Solution
To put these disputes to rest, lawyers are often forced to ask about everyone in the household and find every available source of auto insurance which might pay. This causes additional problems: parents, grandparents, or extended family aren’t always keen on having a claim against their insurance for another family member’s bills. Unfortunately, when no one wants to pay, there’s no realistic choice but to get all available insurance providers involved.
When insurers persist in declining to pay, we may have to ask multiple insurers to pay at once. This is often the only way to keep them honest. Again, however, it can create friction within the home.
Disputing No-Fault Denials
To try and minimize lawsuits over no-fault benefits, the law allows insurance companies some time to reconsider a wrongful decision of denied payment. This is desirable in some ways, but it makes prompt action against insurance companies impossible. Disputes get prolonged because insurance companies know they can wait for the last possible day before accepting responsibility for bills.
A Simple Solution Gone Horribly Wrong
Things are supposed to be simple in a no-fault auto insurance scheme. Instead, we have a system where insurers try to pass the buck on who must pay. Parents, grandparents, and siblings can end up at odds with each other while lawyers try to stop the buck-passing.
This is the opposite of simplicity. The road to hell really is, as the old saying goes, paved with good intentions.
At Roman & Gaynor, we’ve handled thousands of insurance claims for auto, motorcycle, commercial truck, and other motor vehicle accidents in Florida. If you’ve been injured, you need an attorney who can deal with the mess of no-fault insurance while you focus on getting your life back on track. Call (727) 877-1212 for a free consultation!