Mark Perenich is a personal injury lawyer in Clearwater Florida, he has been practicing law for over 30 years, he understands what most people do not know about Florida law. The problem is that we really don’t need ask these things until it’s too late, so here is a short overview of Florida’s financial responsibility law.
What is Flordia’s Financial Responsibility? Or What is the Penalty for Not Having
The term Financial Responsibility is usually associated with motor vehicles and is a sort of legal obligation imposed by law on motor vehicle or property owners. The Financial Responsibility law seeks to protect people who have claims against a particular motor vehicle or property owner for accidents associated with the motor vehicle or property. The law lays down an obligation on an owner of property to prove that he or she is capable to pay damages, in case an accident takes place because of his motor vehicle or property. The proof of financial responsibility does not go away only because of the fact that a particular owner of property has insurance coverage for accident or is at no fault but is an obligation independent of the two. All states in the U.S. do not have compulsory insurance law but they do have financial responsibility law which lays down an obligation on insurance policy holders to comply with financial responsibility norms in addition to the obligation of getting insured.
Do I need a minimum amount of insurance in Florida?
Financial responsibility Law is the legislation and mechanism used by the state of Florida to encourage vehicle owners to maintain financial protection for themselves as well as any other drivers on the road. The law of financial responsibility in Florida is enacted in Chapter-324 of Title XXIII of the Florida Statutes.
In Florida a vehicle owner must get car insurance at a minimum $10,000 to cover bodily injury or death of one person through one motor vehicle accident and $20,000 to cover two or more persons. A minimum of $10,000 insurance must be purchased to cover for property damages. This rule applies to all individuals who own a car for the past 90 days in the preceding year and are either employed in Florida, resides in Florid or have children in a school in Florida. At all times the owner or registrant of the vehicle must carry proof of insurance.
Establishing Financial Responsibility in Florida
There are various ways to establish and insure financial responsibility in Florida by obtaining a certificate of Financial Responsibility from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility (BFR) which is mentioned below:
• By posting a surety bond with a state licensed company and obtaining a Financial Responsibility Certificate from BFR
• By providing evidence of possessing a net encumbered capital and obtaining a Self Insurance Certificate from BFR
• By depositing cash or securities with Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and obtaining a Certificate of Financial Responsibility from BFR
In addition to these three ways, a person can establish Financial Responsibility by purchasing a commercial insurance policy from a carrier licensed to sell insurance policy in Florida.
Proving Financial Responsibility in Florida
Financial Responsibility in Florida can be proved in the following ways:
• Showing proof of Financial Responsibility Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility.
• Showing proof of Self-insurance Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility
• Showing proof of Self-Insurance Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility
Enforcement mechanism for Financial Responsibility adopted in Florida
A driver or motorist must furnish evidence of Financial Responsibility upon request of law enforcement authorities. In roadside traffic stops police officers usually ask for proof of insurance however they have no authority to stop a vehicle only for checking their insurance documents. A citation is issued to the motorists who are unable to show proof of insurance and in that case the owner has to show proof of insurance in court.
Any motorist involved in any crash must produce evidence of insurance at the scene. In case a driver is unable to submit proof of insurance at the time of the accident, the driver is granted a period of 30 days for submission of evidence. If a vehicle owner is still unable to produce evidence a notice shall be generated approximately 120 days after the crash. If injury occurs to any person at the time of the accident, the vehicle owner must furnish proof of bodily injury coverage on the date of the crash.
Penalties for Failure in establishing Financial Responsibility
Owners who do not establish Financial Responsibility and thus unable to provide proof of Financial Responsibility can face suspension of registration, license plate, driving privileges in addition to payment of reinstatement fees as per Florida law.
If an out-of-state vehicle owner gets involved in a crash and is uninsured, his driving privilege is suspended until the victim of the accident is compensated.