Being hurt in any vehicle accident carries potential consequences for a victim. Even with your own car insurance coverage, it’s possible that your bills are so high that you need to pursue other methods for compensation. Any victim hurt due to someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit.
But someone who is involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist has additional questions and concerns that must be addressed. Uninsured motorists in Florida put other drivers at risk.
It is always beneficial to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy; it gives you the broadest possible level of protection if you get into an accident with someone who is not carrying the proper amount of policy protection.
If you need to obtain compensation in light of these issues, a Plantation car accident lawyer for lawsuits involving uninsured motorists can help.
Schedule a time to discuss your case with Scarfone Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys right away if you need help filing your claim.
Florida Car Insurance Requirements
Florida sets specific rules about the kind of insurance coverage carried on vehicles.
Although most cars are not required to carry bodily injury liability insurance, cars in Florida are required to have property damage, liability coverage, and no-fault coverage.
Any vehicle that maintains a current Florida registration must also carry insurance on it. This requires personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability coverage with a minimum of $10,000 for each. Cars registered as taxis must also carry at least $125,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person, $250,000 per occurrence coverage, and $50,000 for PDL coverage.
Insured motorists are legally entitled to recover damages from uninsured drivers for sickness, death, or bodily injury. Florida law requires a driver who causes personal injuries to be able to pay for damages of up to $10,000 if they cause an accident, or their driver’s license can be suspended.
The insurance company must offer uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage when you change your coverage limits when you buy a new policy or when coverage is provided after a previous gap in coverage.
You may also be eligible to purchase something known as stacked uninsured motorist coverage: which means you can put UM benefits on all of your vehicles together in one single claim.
Many injuries in serious car or motorcycle accidents come with medical bills and other damage expenses that far exceed the PIP cap of $10,000. Every driver in Florida should consider the possibility that another driver may not carry any insurance or appropriate insurance to cover severe injuries. In those situations, filing an uninsured motorist claim or a personal injury lawsuit may be required.
What Happens If the Other Driver is Uninsured?
Although it is illegal to drive in the State of Florida without auto insurance, it happens more often than you might expect.
If someone does not have appropriate insurance coverage, negligent parties are forced to pay judgments for bodily injury and property damage out of their own pockets. However, an at-fault motorist may not necessarily have assets that cover the full range of your medical bills, especially if you were seriously injured.
This is when your own uninsured motorist coverage protects you. This protection in your policy gives you support when the other driver does not have enough liability coverage or has no insurance at all to compensate you for your injuries. If you did not purchase UM coverage in Florida and the other party has no or limited assets to pay your bills, you may have to pay for your own medical bills and other costs.
In other cases, a driver might have liability insurance protection, but at a limit that does not sufficiently cover the damage you sustained in an accident.
The importance of uninsured motorist coverage
If you carry uninsured motorist coverage, and your damages exceed the limits of a driver’s liability coverage, or they don’t carry that coverage at all, you may have another claim under your own car insurance policy for underinsured motorist benefits. Your insurance company must pay the difference, and you are protected from having to pay this judgment out of pocket.
A knowledgeable car accident attorney is vital for helping you to make a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage, so you are not financially responsible for your injuries. If you don’t have UM coverage and need to file an injury lawsuit for your damages, an attorney can assist you with that process, too.
Can You Sue an Uninsured Motorist?
Your initial injuries from a vehicle accident will be covered by your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If the other party is underinsured or uninsured, you can make a claim with your own insurance.
However, if you do not have this coverage, or if your own car insurance denies a claim after being hit by an underinsured or uninsured driver in Florida, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the compensation you need.
In many cases, a driver who causes an accident and doesn’t carry enough insurance, that same person does not have enough assets to successfully pay out a claim.
Working with a knowledgeable lawyer can help you to look at all possible methods for recovering compensation, such as:
- Garnishing a defendant’s bank account
- Putting a lien on non-homestead property
- Suspending their driver’s license until the settlement is paid
- Seizing personal property with a levy
Discuss your options with your lawyer to understand your best chance of getting the compensation you need.
Contact a Plantation, FL, Car Accident Attorney for Help
Working with a qualified and dedicated auto accident lawyer is one of the best ways to protect your rights after a collision with an uninsured motorist. Don’t hesitate to speak with our team at Scarfone Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys.