Florida has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the country with more than 1 in 4 drivers on the road without insurance. In addition, Florida does not require drivers to carry bodily injury liability insurance. However, they are required to carry property damage liability insurance. So, if you’re seriously injured in an accident, your no-fault personal injury protection may not be enough to cover all of your expenses. When that is the case, you need to explore other avenues for coverage.
What Happens if You Get Into a Car Accident in Florida Without Insurance?
Wondering what happens if you get into a car accident with an uninsured driver? If you are injured by an uninsured driver, there is little hope of a fair recovery without having uninsured motorist coverage. Additionally, if you are injured by an underinsured driver, you may be limited to that driver’s policy limits which will be inadequate to fairly compensate you.
How to Handle the Immediate Aftermath of the Accident
As with an accident, it’s important to document the accident to the best of your ability. This includes getting as much information from everyone involved in the accident as possible, as well as obtaining a police report.
Get contact information from all potential witnesses and necessary information from all drivers, such as license and vehicle information, names, addresses, contact information, and insurance details from any insured drivers.
Do not admit liability at the scene of the accident. Remain civil, but do not make any agreements or offers from the uninsured driver. Seek medical attention as soon as possible for any potential injuries and document any necessary repair expenses.
The Importance of Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Florida Drivers
While not required in Florida, your insurance company should offer you uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage as part of your policy. If you decline this coverage, it must be in writing. UM coverage kicks in if you are involved in an accident with someone who does not have insurance or does not have a sufficient amount of insurance. In addition, collision insurance can help cover any property damage, especially if the driver who damaged your car is uninsured. You should consider getting stacked UM coverage so that you can recover at higher limits.
If you are injured in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, your UM coverage is available to pay you compensation. As an example, if your damages are $100,000, the at-fault driver is uninsured, and you purchased $100,000 in UM benefits, you will be fully paid. If the at-fault party is underinsured with a $25,000 policy, your same UM coverage will pay you the additional $75,000, thus making you whole.
The bottom line is that UM coverage is exceedingly important, and you should purchase it in the highest amount you can afford to protect yourself and your family members from uninsured motorists.
Recent Car Accident Without Insurance Settlement Payouts & Amounts
Our client is a mother of five children and is involved in a myriad of volunteer and philanthropy work in the Central Florida area. She was proceeding down a road in Valrico, Florida when the defendant, who was stopped at a stop sign, pulled right in front of her, violating her right of way and causing a “T-bone” collision to the side of our client’s vehicle.
As a result of the crash, our client suffered a significant injury to her neck. An MRI scan was performed which revealed a large, herniated disc. Later, our client’s surgeon ordered an updated MRI which showed that the herniated disc was deteriorating. The surgeon believed our client needed a cervical discectomy with fusion to repair the damage.
Our client initially hired a large law firm shortly after the accident. Her case lingered in that office for five months with virtually nothing being done to move her case forward. She fired that office and hired our firm to assist her. We quickly discovered that the defendant who caused the accident had only a limited insurance policy of $10.000.00. Fortunately, however, our client had protected herself by purchasing a policy that provided uninsured motorist insurance in the amount of $300,000.00. We filed a lawsuit against the at-fault party and our client’s insurance company. The defendant’s insurance company paid its $10,000.00 limits shortly after the suit was filed. We then prepared a comprehensive demand to our client’s insurer giving them a limited time to pay their policy limits. The conditional demand was accepted, and the case was settled for a total of $310,000.00.
This case demonstrates the importance of having uninsured motorist coverage. It is critical to purchase uninsured motorist insurance since many drivers in Florida have either no bodily injury coverage or only a small amount, such as the defendant in this case. Uninsured motorist coverage applies in both situations and pays your damages which are caused by the uninsured driver. Without this coverage, you may be left with little or no compensation when you are hurt by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Another factor to consider includes a herniated disc settlement without surgery, or with surgery.
Our client was a delightful 62-year-old woman who was employed as a realtor. She was driving north on Church Ave. in Tampa approaching the intersection with McKay Ave. when the defendant ran through the stop sign and collided with the driver’s side of our client’s vehicle causing extensive damage.
Our client experienced immediate pain and presented to the emergency room. She sustained a bad cut on her hand which required several stitches. She also suffered injuries to her neck, back, and shoulder which required further medical care. MRI scans were performed which demonstrated a herniated disc in our client’s neck, bulging discs in her back, and a tendon tear in her shoulder. She underwent conservative care and had injections performed to help with her neck pain. Our client’s surgeon also gave an opinion that she would require surgery to repair the tear in her shoulder.
Once our client reached her maximum medical improvement, we prepared a comprehensive demand package to the defendant’s insurance company. The company made a low-ball offer which our client rejected. We pushed for the policy limits of $100,000.00, and we stood firm after the insurance company made additional offers under the policy limits. Eventually, knowing it was facing imminent legal action, the insurer agreed to tender its full limit of $100,000.00.
We then made a demand on our client’s own insurance company for her $100,000.00 uninsured motorist limit. Like the defendant’s insurance company, our client’s carrier also started off with a low-ball offer. We filed a civil remedy notice against them essentially arguing that the company was acting in bad faith in failing to settle the claim for the limits. Before the notice was set to expire, the company acceded to our demand and agreed to pay our client $100,000.00 for a total settlement of $200,000.00.
Not At Fault Florida – What Does It Mean?
Wondering what it means that Florida is a no-fault state? When it comes to car accidents, Florida operates under a no-fault system, which means that regardless of who is at fault, drivers are required to seek compensation from their own insurance companies. Vehicle insurance policies in Florida are required to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which provides coverage for injuries sustained in an accident.
Seeking Compensation for an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
Pursuing compensation for injuries that were sustained in an accident with an uninsured driver may sometimes be challenging, but there may be options, such as:
- Uninsured motorist coverage: Some car insurance policies provide coverage for these types of accidents.
- Pursuing an injury lawsuit against the uninsured motorist: While you may be able to sue the driver, collecting on the judgment can be difficult if the driver has few personal assets.
Regardless of how you ultimately decide how to handle the matter, speaking with a car accident lawyer near you can be very helpful in understanding what your legal options are.
How Do You Make an Insurance Claim for Car Accident Without Insurance When You Are Not at Fault?
Since Florida is a no-fault state, you should be able to recover from your personal injury protection (PIP) regardless of who was at fault in the accident. Your recovery is capped at the amount of coverage you have; the minimum is $10,000 in Florida. PIP pays 80% of your medical expenses and some of your lost wages. After the accident, you should also notify your insurance company that you want to file an uninsured motorist claim.
Uninsured Driver Facts & Statistics
- Believe it or not, nearly 14% of all motorists do not have car insurance. That’s one in seven drivers in the United States who are potentially on the road uninsured.
- Research has found a close correlation between the health of the economy with the number of uninsured drivers who are on the road. All too many drivers make the mistake of letting their car insurance lapse when they are facing financial hardship.
Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney for a Florida Car Accident Without Insurance
If you’ve been injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, you should be sure to consult with an experienced attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.