Accidents With Uninsured Motorists In Florida
Florida is one of the states that uses a “no-fault” auto insurance system. Under a no-fault system, all licensed drivers based in the state must carry a certain amount of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which then can be used if the driver is ever involved in an auto accident. However, there is a sizable minority of Florida drivers who either do not have enough PIP insurance coverage, or have none at all. If you are involved in an accident with someone lacking the required coverage, you may still have options to try and recover.
When someone is involved in an auto accident, there is a finite window of time in which to claim benefits under your PIP insurance policy – Florida law states that an injured plaintiff must pursue medical care within 14 days, and if they do so, their coverage will pay for 80 percent of “all reasonable expenses” for medically necessary care. However, if the accident was caused due to the negligence or recklessness of another person, you then have the right to file a claim with their insurer, seeking compensation for your medical bills.
This seems like a relatively straightforward process, but in reality, the uninsured motorist having no insurance means that you will likely have to file with your own insurer. Too many drivers are unfamiliar with what their policies include, and because of this, you may face a bit of a fight with your insurer in seeking coverage. For example, it is not uncommon for insurers to dispute everything from fault, to the extent of your injuries, to the timing of medical care.
What Can I Do?
Because of the high prevalence of uninsured drivers in Florida, many motorists choose to purchase uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage through their own insurer, which effectively ensures your bills will be covered even if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver. UIM coverage can, depending on the situation, cover medical bills, lost wages, and a host of other potential expenses, though like any other insurance, it has policy limits. The concept of stacking policies (that is, adding coverage based on how many vehicles in your family) is a sound one, and you may wish to explore it.
If you do not have UIM coverage, but have been injured, you can go to court, trying to recover from the defendant. However, this is unlikely to succeed in most cases – if someone does not have auto insurance, it is very often due to their inability to afford it, and if they cannot afford insurance, it is very unlikely that they will be able to make good on a jury award. In some cases, the defendant’s wages may be garnished, or their property may be sold, but this is the exception, rather than the rule.
Contact A Tampa Auto Accident Attorney
Uninsured motorists are a frustratingly common minority on Florida roads, and their very presence raises the stakes on every drive for every driver. If you have been injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you need an experienced Tampa car accident attorney who understands how high the stakes are, and who is prepared to fight for what you are owed. The Rinaldo Law Group has been handling these cases for a long time, and is ready to put that experience to work for you. Call our offices today for a free consultation.