Understand Your Options if You Got Hit by an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver in South Florida
Only about 80 percent of Florida drivers have auto insurance. Among those who have insurance, a significant portion only have the minimum “no-fault” coverage required under Florida law. As a result, if you’ve been injured in a collision in Florida, there is a decent chance that the other driver doesn’t have insurance to cover your losses. Additionally, even if the other driver has coverage, this coverage could be far less than you need. This is referred to as being “underinsured,” and it is a problem for many injured drivers and passengers in Florida. But, in many cases, there will be other options available, and hiring an experienced Fort Lauderdale uninsured motorist attorney will give you the best chance to recover the compensation you deserve.
Our Fort Lauderdale Uninsured Motorist Lawyer Outlines Your 3 Options for Recovering Compensation
What are your options after being hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver in Florida? The three most common options are:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance – If you have auto insurance, you have PIP coverage—because it is required under Florida law. This is “no-fault” coverage that you can use to help cover your medical bills and lost wages.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Insurance – If you opted to purchase UIM insurance (which is not required in Florida), filing a UIM claim may be your best option. This is a fault-based claim that allows you to seek full compensation up to your policy limit.
- Third–Party Liability Claim – Another option is to file what is known as a “third party” claim. This is a claim against an entity (such as a government agency or the other driver’s employer) that either shares or holds full responsibility for your collision.
What You Need to Know When Seeking Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you have UIM insurance, securing coverage for your car accident will likely prove challenging. This is because filing a UIM claim is similar to filing a claim under an at-fault driver’s liability policy. With this in mind, here are three important facts you need to know:
It Is Up to You to Prove Your Right to Coverage
Your auto insurance company isn’t simply going to accept liability for your UIM claim. You need to prove your right to coverage, which means that you need evidence that the other driver is to blame.
You Also Need to Prove How Much You are Entitled to Recover
In addition to proving fault, you also need to prove how much you are entitled to recover. This means that you need to accurately calculate just compensation for your financial and non-financial losses.
There are Time Limits for Seeking UIM Coverage
Your UIM policy has a time limit for seeking coverage, and Florida’s statute of limitations will apply to your claim as well. To make sure you do everything necessary on time, you should seek help from an experienced attorney.
Holding a Third Party Liable for a Car Accident
While we tend to think of other drivers as being the parties at fault for causing a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, the fact is that accidents usually result from a combination of factors. For example, the weather might play a role. Although you cannot sue mother nature, you might be able to recover if someone’s efforts to deal with the weather contributed to the cause of your accident. For instance, if a truck without proper mudguards spatters someone’s windshield and the reduced visibility causes a collision, the truck owner could be held liable for the accident.
Hazards on the road also often cause accidents, and the party responsible for creating the hazard could be required to pay for the consequences. For example, if an improperly secured object falls off a trailer or comes loose from the top of a car, that could lead to a collision. Or, if a government entity or subcontractor fails to make proper repairs to a road, bridge, or guardrail and that defect causes an accident, a car accident lawyer could bring a claim against the responsible entity.
In other third-party liability cases, a driver may swerve or drive irresponsibly in a way that causes the vehicles behind to collide while the reckless driver speeds away from the scene. Still, our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer can investigate to locate the driver and pursue relief against that third-party driver.
FAQs About Accidents Involving Underinsured and Uninsured Drivers
How Can I Determine if There’s a Third-Party Claim in My Case?
It can be helpful to collect evidence and build a comprehensive picture of the situation that led up to the collision. Then consider all the factors that made the situation what it was. From that point, it should be easier to spot irresponsible behavior that could be linked to the cause of the accident.
An experienced car accident attorney is used to performing this type of analysis, so it is wise to consult a lawyer as soon as possible while the evidence is most readily available.
What Do I Do if I Have a Problem with an Insurance Company After an Accident with an Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist?
Insurance laws in Florida are complicated, but insurance companies have certain obligations. It is helpful to educate yourself about insurance laws and coverage. When insurers act unethically or illegally try to dodge their responsibilities, a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer could work with you to recover the full amount to which you are entitled.
Am I Required to Pay for Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Florida laws do not require you to carry insurance to cover damage caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers. However, given the high percentage of drivers in our state that do not carry adequate coverage, if you choose not to pay for this insurance, you may end up paying in other ways—and paying far more.
What Does it Mean When Uninsured Motorist Coverage is “Stacked?”
Stacked insurance coverage allows you to combine insurance policy limits from two or more vehicles so that you can receive more for a claim. For example, if you have two cars with $20,000 in coverage for each, you could receive up to $40,000 to cover expenses after a collision involving one of those vehicles.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Fort Lauderdale Uninsured Motorist Lawyer Joseph Maus
Do you need help seeking just compensation for an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver? To discuss your case with Fort Lauderdale uninsured/underinsured motorist lawyer Joseph Maus in confidence, call 855-999-5297 or request a free consultation online now.