Your to-do list for today probably does not include protecting yourself against uninsured motorists. We want to convince you that protecting yourself from an uninsured driver is a priority task.
What is an Uninsured Motorist?
Every state except New Hampshire has a law requiring vehicle owners to carry auto insurance. An uninsured motorist is breaking the law by not having an active car insurance policy in place.
You may have also heard of the term underinsured motorist. It refers to a driver whose car insurance policy does not provide enough coverage to pay for the damages they caused in an accident.
Why You Need to Protect Yourself from Uninsured Motorists
Let’s say you’ve unfortunately, been in an accident. This accident caused you injuries and/or property damage. Even worse, the driver responsible is uninsured. The law holds that driver responsible for paying for your injuries and property loss. But, the uninsured motorist doesn’t have an insurance company to pay on his/her behalf. Thus, the uninsured driver must pay out of pocket. The reality is, someone who isn’t paying car insurance, most likely, doesn’t have the cash to pay out of pocket. Nor, assets that could be used in exchange.
Encountering an Uninsured Motorist Is Likely in Florida
By Florida law, all four-wheel vehicle owners must carry car insurance. Therefore, you might think getting into a car accident with an uninsured motorist would be unlikely.
Unfortunately, accidents involving uninsured motorists are common in Florida. The state has the highest percentage of uninsured drivers in the nation. The Insurance Research Council reports 26.7 percent of Florida drivers are uninsured.
Isn’t Florida a No-Fault State?
Yes, Florida is a no-fault state. The no-fault law requires the injured party to seek payment for his or her lost wages and medical bills through the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits of his or her own car insurance policy. However, Florida’s no-fault law still holds the party who causes a car accident responsible to pay for the injured person’s injuries and property loss.
What You Can Do
Since Florida has such a large share of uninsured motorists, you need to take action to protect yourself before you’re hit by an uninsured driver. Now is the right time to contact your car insurance company about adding uninsured motorist coverage (UM) to your auto insurance policy.
Although the state of Florida does not require you to have UM coverage, we highly recommend it. When purchasing your UM coverage, your insurance company may offer you a choice between stacked and unstacked coverage. Generally, stacked coverage is more expensive because you get far more coverage through higher policy limits.
Benefits of UM Coverage
UM coverage protects you from having to come out of your own pocket when your medical expenses exceed what your PIP coverage limits. In Florida, your UM coverage also covers passengers in your vehicle and family members who live with you. UM coverage also can pay for other accident-related issues such as lost wages, pain, and suffering.
Suing May Not Offer Protection
In case we haven’t convinced you of your need for UM coverage, let’s talk about why suing usually isn’t an option when you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist. The law is on your side and holds an uninsured motorist accountable when that driver causes a car accident. You may be able to sue and “win” a lawsuit against an uninsured motorist. However, the judgment against the uninsured driver is useless if he or she does not have any money or valuable assets to pay you with.
Tampa Bay Personal Injury Attorneys
If you need legal help related to a recent auto accident, call the Crash Lawyer today for a free consultation.