Written on Jul 20, 2017 9:17:46 AM
Venus Williams Accident: No-Fault States and PIP Insurance
Although tennis star Venus Williams was initially found at-fault following a fatal car accident in Florida, police have now rescinded that assessment after reviewing video footage of the accident.
While the police report noted that Williams was not under the influence or distracted by her phone at the time of the accident, the reason they first found her to be at fault was for “violating the right of way.”
According to the Palm Beach Post, on June 9th Williams had just left the Steeplechase gated community directly south of the Ballenisles Country Club when she attempted to cross North Lake Boulevard to reach the club. She entered the intersection traveling approximately five miles per hour, but traffic forced her to stop while blocking a lane of oncoming traffic. The light for oncoming traffic was red when Williams entered the intersection, but it turned green when she was forced to stop
Linda Barson, who was driving with her husband in the passenger seat, began to slow down as she approached the intersection. Before she slowed completely, the red light changed and she proceeded to go through the green light. At this moment, Williams was forced to stop and block a lane, which resulted in her vehicle being T-boned by the Barsons.
Williams was not injured in the accident. Jerome Barson was rushed to the hospital and died on June 22 from head injuries sustained from the accident. His wife suffered some broken bones and other injuries.
Jermone Barson’s daughter filed a wrongful death claim against Williams. Even though Florida is a no-fault state, when it comes to car accidents, wrongful death lawsuits are allowed under Florida state law.
No-Fault States and PIP Insurance
Since 1971, Florida has had a no-fault law, which means that a driver who is involved in an accident must collect medical, disability, lost wages and other compensation from their own insurance company, regardless of who caused the accident. In Florida, drivers are required to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to cover their costs related to an accident. When severe accidents result in costs in excess of what a PIP policy covers, the at-fault party can go through a presuit or lawsuit case to recover additional compensation. As in this case, a lawsuit can be filed for wrongful death when a car accident involves a fatality. This is why finding that Williams was at-fault for the accident is so important from a legal perspective.
The reasoning behind the no-fault law and PIP insurance is that, when a car accident happens, a person can receive help quickly instead of going through the long process of proving who was at fault and whose insurance company is responsible for paying.
Suffering injuries or the death of a loved one due to a car accident can be very traumatic, emotionally damaging and costly. In Florida, even though all drivers are required to have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP insurance coverage, you are only eligible to receive a maximum of $2,500 in compensation unless your injuries are considered an “emergency medical condition.”
Until 2012, if a Florida driver with PIP insurance was injured in a car accident, they were immediately eligible for $10,000. In an effort to clamp down on fraudulent claims, the Florida Legislature changed that when it passed a bill capping non-emergency medical conditions at $2,500.
It is essential to keep in mind that if you do not receive medical treatment within 14 days of the accident, your PIP insurance will not cover you at all. Injuries don’t always manifest themselves immediately after an accident and it may be some time before the extent of your injuries are fully realized. This means that legitimate injuries you have suffered related to a car accident may not be covered by your PIP insurance.
If You’ve Been Injured, Contact an Attorney
It is always a good idea to talk to an attorney after any motor vehicle accident, especially in no-fault states. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you determine all of your options, whether you are seeking compensation from your PIP insurance policy, a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death claim.
Seeking the advice of attorneys who are experienced in dealing with no-fault states and PIP claims can help to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact Lowman Law Firm at (352) 796-0016 or toll-free at (866) 9-LOWMAN.