Florida Uninsured Motorist Claim Lawyer

If you were in an accident with an uninsured motorist, or the driver at fault in the collision only carries the minimum legal amount of coverage, you need to consider your legal options. The cost of property damage and medical bills from an injury can quickly spiral out of control. The uninsured motorist lawyers at Armando Personal Injury Law Firm are here to help answer all of your questions and help you pursue the car accident compensation and reimbursement you deserve. Whether through legal action in the form of a personal injury lawsuit, or advocacy for your property damage insurance claim negotiation, we will do whatever it takes to help you.

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Understanding Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Florida

Florida requires that drivers maintain a basic level of car insurance like most other states in the US. Many drivers ignore these provisions, and according to the Insurance Research Council nearly 27% of Florida drivers are uninsured motorists. Florida has the second highest percent of uninsured drivers in the United States. If you are unlucky enough to get into a car accident with one of Florida’s almost four million uninsured motorists, the financial fallout that you’ll be faced with can be enormous. Maintaining uninsured motorist coverage can help you avoid the potentially devastating financial consequences of a car accident caused by a driver without (or with inadequate) motor vehicle coverage. Here’s what you need to know about uninsured drivers, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, and the claims process in Florida.

What Is An Uninsured Motorist?

An uninsured motorist is any driver who gets behind the wheel without an auto insurance policy or insurance coverage in place. While Florida Insurance Statute Chapter 627 §324.021 requires that all drivers meet certain minimum insurance requirements, many Floridians fail to comply with this law (as previously noted).

In addition to uninsured motorists, getting into a car accident with an underinsured driver can be almost as costly.

What’s The Difference Between An Uninsured Motorist And An Underinsured Motorist?

Underinsured motorists are defined as those drivers that have an active car insurance policy in place that meets the minimum liability requirements legally, but their coverage limits fall below the actual damage or medical expenses incurred from an accident. Uninsured motorists do not have any auto insurance liability coverage, so they will most likely be unable to pay for any of the property damage or medical bills incurred from an auto accident injury.

For example, if you get into a car accident caused by an underinsured driver that causes $15,000 worth of damage to your vehicle, their insurance company will only reimburse you for $10,000 of damage if their policy just meets Florida’s minimum statutory requirements. If the person who caused the accident was uninsured, they might be found legally responsible for the costs if you pursue a civil suit – but might be unable to pay any of it.

What Is The Minimum Amount Of Liability Insurance Coverage For Personal Injury Protection & Property Damage In Florida?

Drivers are required to hold a policy that offers a minimum of $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 of property damage liability respectively. If you’re in a car or truck accident caused by a driver with insurance that only meets the state’s statutory minimums, you’ll be responsible for damages to your car over $10,000 and any medical expenses over your own personal injury protection limits.

What Happens If The Driver Who Hit Me Doesn’t Have Auto Insurance Or Has Inadequate Coverage To Pay For The Damage To My Vehicle And My Medical Bills?

If you’re in an accident caused by an uninsured driver and you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you’ll likely have to pay for all of your property damage expenses and medical bills out-of-pocket. An attorney can review the terms of your insurance policies[s] and provide possible solutions for compensation based on your unique circumstances.

Will My Insurance Pay For Property Damage Caused By A Hit-And-Run?

In hit-and-run cases with property damage to your vehicle, the driver at fault who fled the scene is technically considered uninsured. That means you are responsible for the costs associated with the accident.

If the at-fault driver is underinsured, you’ll be reimbursed for the damage to your vehicle and your medical expenses up to the at-fault driver’s policy limits.

Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Mandatory In Florida?

Florida drivers are not required to carry uninsured motorist coverage, the minimum auto insurance policy requirements are to maintain personal injury protection and property damage liability minimums.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage does not fall within PIP or property damage liability requirements. It is highly advisable that all drivers obtain uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage even though it is not legally required—particularly in light of the high number of uninsured motorists in Florida and Florida’s low minimum insurance coverage requirements.

Be Advised: although drivers are not required to maintain uninsured motorist coverage in Florida, all insurance carriers operating in the state are required to offer it–and must get your rejection of coverage in writing.

Why Should I Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)?

If you are involved in an accident and the motorist is not insured, you can make a claim against your own policy for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering and any other damages that were caused by the accident.

According to the latest study conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), one in eight drivers was uninsured and has been rising since 2010. Even more alerting is that Florida ranks one of the highest states with uninsured motorists at 27% (based on 2015 study).

Why Should I Have Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)?

Underinsured motorist coverage is useful when the other driver’s insurance doesn’t cover the full extent of your damages. For example, if the other driver only carried minimal limits and you had a very serious injury, you may be entitled to make a claim against your own insurance policy for additional damages in addition to the maximum you have collected from the at fault driver.

UM & UIM Cost As With Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage, It Costs Very Little In Additional Premiums To Purchase Additional UM/UIM Coverage. PROTECT YOURSELF Against Other Driver’s Carelessness.

Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Necessary If You Have Health Insurance?

Uninsured motorist insurance is not legally required but whether you have insurance or not, uninsured motorist coverage is highly recommended for your financial protection should you find yourself in an accident with an uninsured motorist. A serious car accident can easily result in long-term and chronic injuries that exceed the scope of your medical insurance coverage. Even if you have a stellar health insurance plan and personal injury protection (PIP) through your own car insurance policy, your personal injury protection will only pay for the
medical bills associated with the injuries that directly result from an accident with an uninsured driver.

The costs associated with any ongoing health concerns (including co-pays, deductibles and any additional expenses not covered by your health insurance) will come out of your pocket if you don’t have an uninsured motorist policy in place.

What Expenses Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage Provide Compensation For?

Uninsured motorist coverage provides compensation for any medical expenses that are the immediate result of an accident with an uninsured driver, and many of the costs associated with a severe injury. It can also cover ongoing disability caused by a car accident with an uninsured driver.

  • Medical Bills
  • Doctor’s Visit
  • Prescriptions & Medications
  • Physical Therapy
  • Surgery
  • Hospital Expenses
  • Emergency Room Bill
  • X-Rays & Diagnostic Screening

And much more.

If I’m Disabled Permanently Or Temporarily In A Car Accident Caused By A Driver With No Insurance, What Will Uninsured Motorist Coverage Pay Me For?

Uninsured motorist coverage claims can potentially cover many types of disability expenses after a crash with a UM, and provide punitive damages in some cases including but not limited to:

  • lost wages;
  • loss of future earning potential;
  • pain and suffering;
  • loss of future enjoyment of life;
  • care in a long-term nursing facility;
  • medical devices such as wheelchairs;
  • renovations to your home to accommodate any disabilities resulting from the car accident; and
  • services to assist with tasks you are unable to perform due to disability, such as cleaning and yard work.

Keep in mind that even if you have personal injury protection in place as required by law, such a policy will not cover many of the ongoing expenses associated with a serious car accident, such as pain and suffering, loss of future earnings, future medical care or long-term disability.

What Is The Difference Between Stacked And Unstacked Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

In short, stacked uninsured motorist coverage increases the coverage limit of your uninsured (and underinsured) motorist coverage according to the number of cars on your policy; unstacked coverage, on the other hand, covers each vehicle separately.

For example, assume that you have two cars on your insurance policy and you opt for $25,000 of uninsured motorist coverage per vehicle. You then get into an accident with an uninsured driver that causes $50,000 worth of damage. If you have stacked coverage, you can combine the limits of your vehicles, resulting in a coverage limit of $50,000 that completely offsets your damages. With unstacked coverage, however, you can only use the coverage of the vehicle involved in the accident, leaving you with $25,000 worth of damage uncovered.

Keep in mind that while stacked coverage does allow you to have higher limits if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, your insurance premiums will likely be higher than with unstacked coverage. Check your car insurance and umbrella declarations page today to make sure you have uninsured/underinsured coverage and that it is stacked if you have more than one car on the policy (This increases the amount of UM/UIM) so that you protect you and your family should anything occur.

Can I Get Compensation From My Uninsured Motorist Policy After An Accident?

Yes, depending on the specific circumstances of the accident. Your uninsured motorist coverage will compensate you for any losses (including damage to your vehicle and medical bills) following an accident caused by an uninsured driver; if you also have underinsured motorist coverage, you can receive compensation for your losses following an accident caused by a driver with limited auto insurance coverage.

As with any other automobile accident, you’ll have to contact your insurance company to initiate a claim in order to receive compensation for the damage to your vehicle and your injuries.

Note that your uninsured motorist policy will not provide compensation for any damage or injuries resulting from an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver where you were found to be at fault.

Do I Need A Lawyer If I’m Involved In A Car Accident With An Uninsured Driver?

If you are having trouble getting your insurance company to pay your uninsured motorist claim even though you have coverage, retaining legal counsel from an experienced auto insurance claim negotiation attorney is recommended. If you have uninsured motorist coverage with coverage limits that exceed your damages and your insurance company approves your claim, you likely don’t need to consult an attorney.

If your insurance company attempts to deny your claim, an uninsured motorist claim attorney could be your best ally. The right lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal issues surrounding underinsured and uninsured policy coverage in addition to helping maximize your personal injury or property
damage claim for your vehicle
. Keep in mind that you have five years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against your insurance company for their denial of your claim.

If your damages exceed your uninsured motorist coverage limits or if you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage in place at all, using the at-fault driver is your only option to recover your full damages. In this case, you have four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit after an accident.

SEE ALSO

Proposed Legislation Would End Florida’s No-Fault Auto Insurance System

Sources

  1. Facts + Statistics: Uninsured Motorists, August 1, 2017. Insurance Information Institute: https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-uninsured-motorists
  2. One in Eight Drivers Uninsured: Countrywide Rate Increases as Several States Experience Significant Decrease, October 9, 2017. Insurance Research Council News Release: https://www.insurance-research.org/sites/default/files/downloads/UMNR1005.pdf
  3. Megna, Michelle: Uninsured Drivers by State. Published November 15, 2017 on carinsurance.co: https://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/uninsured-motorist-coverage-state-averages-of-uninsured-drivers.aspx
  4. Stacked vs. Unstacked Insurance, retrieved from esurance.com (an Allstate Company) March 5, 2018: https://www.esurance.com/info/car/stacked-vs-unstacked-car-insurance
  5. 2017 Florida Statutes Title XXXVII Insurance, Chapter 627 §324.021