If you drive in the State of Florida, it is important that you are aware of just how many of your fellow drivers are uninsured or underinsured. It is estimated that 25% of drivers on Florida’s roads are completely uninsured, making it the state with the nation’s highest number of uninsured motorists. And that doesn’t even include those whose insurance coverage might not be enough to properly compensate you for your injuries.
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may find it difficult to obtain the compensation you deserve. One step that you can take is to purchase your own insurance coverage for these situations. If you are involved in an accident with another driver who is uninsured or underinsured, you should speak to a Florida car accident injury attorney as soon as possible.
Hallandale Beach car accident lawyer Jared Newman of South Florida Law, PLLC knows how best to protect yourself as a Florida driver. To hear more about our services or about your options as a car accident injury victim in Florida, call us today at (954) 932-7877. We offer new clients a free initial consultation on their case.
What Is the Difference Between an Underinsured and Uninsured Driver?
Let’s start with uninsured drivers. These are individuals who are driving illegally in the State of Florida because they do not have the minimum levels of insurance required by law. Drivers may lack the appropriate insurance coverage for any number of reasons. They may have attempted to avoid the costs, accidentally allowed their policy to lapse, had no valid title to the car, or had their license suspended. Hit-and-run drivers who are not identified are also considered uninsured drivers for the purposes of the victim’s insurance.
Underinsured drivers are those whose insurance is too limited to cover the property damage and personal injury caused to a third party. This becomes an issue if the underinsured driver is deemed responsible for the accident.
If you are concerned about another driver’s insurance coverage status if you are involved in an accident in Florida, you can take certain steps to prevent yourself from being left holding the bag. One such step is obtaining your own coverage for uninsured and underinsured driver insurance. These policies can be helpful when the damage from the accident exceeds the limit of the victim’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) limit. You can then submit a claim to your own insurer to recover compensation for your injuries if the other driver was uninsured or underinsured.
You should be aware, however, that one class of insurance does not cover for the other. The cost of an accident with an uninsured driver will not be included in coverage for accidents with underinsured drivers. Nor will uninsured driver insurance cover any portion of a crash caused by an insured driver with an inadequate coverage policy to meet the total damages from the accident. Also, remember to pay attention to the details when selecting a plan. Some policies specifically cover property damage but not your personal injury. To get full coverage, you will need to get one that specifies both.
Will Your Own Insurance Cover Your Damages from an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver in Florida?
If the uninsured or underinsured driver was at fault for the accident that left you injured, chances are that your own insurance will be able to help you out. Florida is a no-fault state, which allows drivers who are insured and not at fault to seek compensation for their harms from their own insurance policies. Still, if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured but is still capable of paying for the damages you sustained, you can still sue the driver directly and recover a substantial portion of the damages that you are owed. Remember, a lawsuit always provides the opportunity for more compensation than an insurance claim. You cannot recover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, through a typical car accident insurance claim in Florida. To find out more about your best strategy for recovery, speak to one of our esteemed Aventura car accident attorneys today.
What to Do if You Get into an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver in Florida
If you are involved in an accident, there are a number of different categories that the other driver could fall into, including various combinations of insured, underinsured, uninsured, and even hit-and-run vehicles and motorists. Each case is different, so it is important that everyone involved place safety first by avoiding dangers like oncoming cars and calling 911 to report the accident and any injuries that may require immediate medical attention.
If the other driver attempts to flee the scene before you can obtain contact or insurance information, you should immediately call 911 and report a hit and run at your location. Try your best to provide the make, model, and color of the fleeing vehicle, a description of the driver, and as many digits of the vehicle’s license plate as possible. The dispatcher will alert nearby units of the fleeing vehicle and canvas the area to find them. It is critical that you work quickly to assist law enforcement in this area, because if the other driver gets away, you may be left with very few options for your recovery.
Even if you are concerned about your compensation for injuries caused by an uninsured driver, that should not prevent you from getting medical care for your injuries immediately after the accident. If you cannot recover damages from the other driver because they have no insurance or money to pay you with, you can still recover medical damages from your PIP and uninsured or underinsured motorist plans. Getting medical help is important here for two reasons. Firstly, your health should be your first priority. Even if you believe that you are fine, you could have sustained an injury that isn’t immediately obvious, like a traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding. Secondly, if you get the opportunity to recover, your medical records will be critical to proving the extent of your injuries and the procedures necessary to cure them.
Dealing with an Underinsured Driver’s Insurance Company
Once your injuries have been dealt with and the scene is clear, it is in your best interest to call a Plantation, FL car accident injury attorney as soon as possible. Speaking to insurance companies without your lawyer present may ultimately hurt your case. After all, they are the ones that may be “on the hook” to make the payments of your claim. Insurance companies have a conflict of interest since they may end up owing you for your injuries, loss of work and pain and suffering related to your injuries. Insurance companies have lawyers, and the other motorists may have lawyers too. You need to get representation as early as possible to ensure the best outcome of your case.
If you are speaking with an insurance claims adjuster from the other party’s insurance company, you should be aware that the insurance company can use anything you say to them against you in a potential court case. Even a blanket “I’m sorry” can be used to imply that you are taking responsibility for the accident. You can have your Pembroke Pines auto accident lawyer communicate with the insurance claims adjusters on your behalf to avoid making any costly mistakes.
The other driver’s insurance company may try to take advantage of unrepresented victims by making frivolous claims that their coverage does not apply under the circumstances. When car accident injury victims obtain lawyers to help with their recovery, the insurance company is less likely to employ these underhanded tactics against you.
If you feel that the other driver’s insurance company is being unprofessional or unfair to you in your attempt to recover for your injuries, you have the ability to file a lawsuit against the insurance company for their bad faith practices. Determining whether an insurance company is acting in bad faith is complicated and requires precise legal analysis. However, succeeding in a suit against the bad faith insurance company can yield damages on top of whatever you rightly deserve for your car accident injuries. If you suspect that the other driver’s insurance company may be acting in bad faith after you sustained car accident injuries in Florida, we strongly urge that you speak with one of our experienced Boca Raton car accident injury attorneys today.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Injury Lawsuits in Florida
Regardless of the other party’s insurance coverage status, you will need to file your lawsuit in time if you hope to recover anything for your injuries. The statute of limitations for car accident injury lawsuits in Florida is four years from the date of the accident. If you fail to file your lawsuit within those four years, your case will be thrown out. Car accident lawsuits can take time to prepare and file, particularly when there are insurance issues, so be sure to reach out to a respected Davie car accident injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
Injured in an Uninsured or Underinsured Crash? Contact Our South Florida Car Accident Lawyers Today
Our personal injury legal services are provided on a contingency fee basis. Unless we get a settlement or court decision with a financial award, our clients don’t owe us a dime. We only get paid if you do.
Ft. Lauderdale personal injury lawyer Jared K. Newman understands insurance companies’ tactics and has the experience to counter them. This background allows South Florida Law to fight smart against insurance companies. If necessary, we are prepared to meet insurance companies in court and recover the compensation you deserve. If you or anyone else you know has been injured in an accident recently, call Miami personal injury lawyer Jared Newman at (954) 932-7877.