Personal Injury Claims: Spousal Immunity, Family and Passenger Exclusions
Florida follows a no-fault system to determine how you can recover compensation in the aftermath of a car accident. The no-fault system protects drivers and ensures certain expenses are covered regardless of fault. Under this law, Florida drivers are required to have a minimum of $10,000 for property damage liability and $10,000 in personal injury protection. If you are injured as a passenger in a car accident, you may have the right to file a personal injury claim with the driver’s insurance company. There are several factors that may determine how and where you file your personal injury claim. Depending on the circumstances, you may:
- File a claim using your own personal injury policy;
- File a claim under the driver’s personal injury policy;
- File a claim under the at-fault driver’s personal injury policy; or
- File a claim using the personal injury coverage of an adult relative who lives in your household.
There are certain exclusions for filing a claim which that prevent a passenger, spouse or other family members from filing a claim. Generally, you are prevented from filing a personal injury claim against the driver of the car you are riding in. This is because, in this case, you are considered an insured person. And, under the liability policy, an insured person cannot file a claim against their own policy. Your expenses may be covered under a different policy and your compensation may be capped. A family exclusion clause may also prevent you from filing a claim if you are a in an accident with a family or a member of your household. These family exclusions clauses were created to prevent family members from colluding to defraud insurance companies and reduce the cost of fraudulent claims for insurance companies.
Additionally, there are passenger exclusions that prevent you from making a personal injury claim under another driver’s coverage. As a passenger, you cannot file a personal injury claim if:
- You were injured while committing a felony;
- The driver was operating the insured car without the owner’s permission; or
- You contributed to the injury by trying to purposely cause harm to yourself.
While some passengers and family members are excluded from filing a claim against another family member, spouses are not prevented from initiating legal action after an accident. To be sure, Florida does not have spousal immunity laws for personal injury claims. This means that if your spouse causes an auto accident, you may be able to initiate litigation against your spouse, or your insurance company, to seek out compensation for damages and injury.
Personal injury claims involving spouses, family members and passengers are complex. They require that potential claims be investigated quickly and effectively. At Alan Goldfarb, P.A. you can rest assured that the our experienced personal injury attorneys know the most effective avenues for pursuing your legal claims to ensure the most favorable outcome. If you or anyone you know has been injured in an accident in Miami, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our Miami offices today.