Accidents Involving Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists In Florida
In recent years, Florida’s drivers have been immortalized in print as being some of the worst in the nation, with high rates of traffic fatalities and only Oklahoma having a higher percentage of uninsured drivers. Uninsured motorists in particular are a major problem for Florida drivers, because Florida has a no-fault system of auto insurance that can leave injured plaintiffs without any recourse for their medical bills. If you are in this situation, enlisting an experienced attorney is critical.
Consequences Of Being Uninsured
Florida requires that every licensed driver carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) liability, and $10,000 in bodily injury liability (BIL) protection. However, as many as one-fourth of Florida drivers do not carry any insurance, or carry less than is required. Many either cannot afford it or do not wish to pay for it – Florida reports consistently high prices for auto insurance, which can price some people out of the market – but others simply do not care about the stiff fines and potential license revocation.
What this means is if you are involved in an auto accident with an uninsured driver, you will have to rely on your own PIP coverage in order to get your medical bills paid. While this may be enough for relatively minor accidents, it is not sufficient for crashes in which injuries are severe. Florida law holds that if you obtain medical assistance within 14 days of your accident, your PIP coverage must cover 80 percent of all “reasonable expenses for medically necessary” care. The remaining 20 percent may seem somewhat inconsequential, but it can add up.
Recourse May Be Slim
While obviously, one cannot change every uninsured motorist on Florida roads, you can take steps to protect yourself, and to know your rights as a driver. One thing you can do to help protect yourself is to purchase uninsured motorist coverage as an addition to your policy, which can help cover any bills your PIP insurance does not cover. This does not necessarily mean that insurers may not contest any claims, but this type of coverage can still be handy.
In addition, if your injuries are severe to the point where you permanently lose function in a limb, or lose a bodily function, you can override the no-fault system and file suit against the driver or drivers who struck you. However, if a driver is uninsured, they may not have many assets to fall back on even if you are successful in your suit. If a driver is judgment proof, you may have very little recourse to pursue in terms of compensation.
Call A Tampa Auto Accident Lawyer Today
An auto accident is always a potentially traumatic life event, and if there are complications like the other driver being uninsured, it can feel hopeless to try and get compensation for your injuries. The Tampa car accident attorneys at the Rinaldo Law Group have years of experience in these matters and are ready and willing to try and get the fairest result possible in your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.