A serious car accident is a jarring experience at the best of times. You may be recovering from a severe injury, missing time at work, trying to put yourself and your life back together. Injuries mean medical care, and medical care means bills. If you suddenly find out that your medical bills and other expenses are not going to be covered by insurance, you may be concerned about facing significant financial hardship.
The experienced and compassionate uninsured motorist accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A., can help you figure out what to do after an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver in Collier or Orange County. We will help you understand the law, gather necessary evidence, identify responsible parties, and build your claim with insurers and negligent drivers to maximize your available recovery, even when the at-fault driver did not carry the proper insurance.
Insurance Requirements in Florida
Florida law requires all motor vehicle drivers to maintain a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage. “Motor vehicles” means vehicles with at least four wheels – different rules apply to motorcycles. Under the law, auto drivers must carry $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) per person injured in an accident, and $20,000 of PIP per crash (in case multiple people are injured). They must also carry $10,000 in property liability coverage.
Additional rules apply to certain categories of drivers, such as drivers with a history of criminal convictions. Not all drivers follow the law, however, and many operate their vehicles with little or no car insurance in case of an accident.
Florida’s No-Fault System and Suing an Uninsured Driver
Florida is a “no-fault” state when it comes to auto accidents. That means that in a typical accident, you will most likely file a claim with your own insurance company first, regardless of who caused the crash. Your insurance policy will cover your injuries, including medical costs and wages lost as a result of temporary disability or medical leave.
Your insurance, however, only covers you up to the policy limit. Moreover, in Florida, your policy is likely intended to cover only 80 percent of your medical expenses. When someone else is at fault, their insurance policy should cover the remaining 20 percent. If the other person does not have insurance, then you may have to sue the at-fault driver.
Unfortunately, suing the other party may not be a very lucrative option. Typically, drivers who do not carry the required insurance coverage are not in a financial position to pay for your expenses out of pocket. You may end up trying to garnish their wages or putting a lien on their home as a creditor. Moreover, there are limitations on whether you can sue under Florida’s no-fault rules. To sue for additional damages such as pain and suffering in a typical case, for example, you must first demonstrate that you suffered a “serious injury,” such as loss of a limb or bodily function, disfigurement, or death.
We recommend that all drivers in Florida carry optional “uninsured motorist” coverage, which will provide additional coverage in the event an underinsured or uninsured driver injures you. A knowledgeable and dedicated Florida car accident lawyer can advise you on your options for recovery after an accident with an uninsured driver, whether a lawsuit is possible or advisable, and how you can best pursue the maximum coverage and damages available given your circumstances.
Trusted Help With Your Claim Against an Uninsured Driver
If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed by an uninsured or underinsured driver in Naples, Orlando, or throughout Collier and Orange counties, reach out to a knowledgeable and compassionate Florida uninsured motorist accident lawyer for help. Call the talented Florida uninsured and underinsured driver legal team at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A., at 239-649-8050 today for a free consultation. Let us help you explore your options for obtaining the compensation you are owed after a Florida car crash with an uninsured driver.