Motor vehicle accidents are stressful enough for all parties involved, but they are more so when one driver doesn’t have any car insurance. If you live in the state of Florida, you face some of the highest odds in the nation that this might happen to you. At a staggering 26.7%, the Sunshine State has the largest issue with uninsured drivers on its roadways despite insurance coverage being a mandatory requirement.
What options do you have to recover compensation if injured in a car accident with an uninsured motorist? This is a challenge for many crash victims. Hopefully, this article sheds a little light on this complicated situation.
Why an Uninsured Motorist Is a Problem
Since Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to accidents, this means you first rely on your own coverage to pay for any medical expenses or lost wages after a car wreck. Regardless of fault under the law, your personal injury protection (PIP) starts covering 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages until the cap of $10,000 is met. Many companies allow you to purchase a higher policy amount for an extra charge if you wish. Additionally, PIP policies only cover injury-related costs, including lost wages and ongoing care, but not the damage to your vehicle.
Note: PIP doesn’t cover 100% of your medical expenses nor lost wages. Thus, you must seek reimbursement from the at-fault motorist for the amount not covered and if your injuries and damages exceed the PIP limits. However, you may find a shortfall in financial recovery if the at-fault party is uninsured.
Why Suing the At-Fault Driver May Be Futile in Florida
Typically, if the other driver lacks car insurance, they probably don’t have the funds to cover additional damages that exceed your own policy coverages. It will be nearly impossible for you to collect any compensation if they don’t have assets at their disposal to pay you.
This isn’t saying you wouldn’t be able to get a judgment against them, but again, if they don’t have the means to pay, you will likely not recover any damages. As you can see, this situation highlights why you need to have more than the minimum car insurance coverages required by the state of Florida to protect yourself.
Recover Injury Compensation Through Medical Payments Coverage
Similar to PIP, but not as comprehensive, medical payments coverage (Med Pay) can bridge some of the gaps between your PIP insurance and medical costs. This coverage does not base its benefit on who is at fault, and like PIP, follows the person, not the vehicle. Med Pay can pay for the 20% not covered under PIP and can also increase your coverage over the standard $10,000 PIP limits. There is one significant difference between Med Pay and PIP that you should know: Med Pay doesn’t cover injury-related costs like lost wages, childcare, or transportation expenses to medical appointments.
Recover Your Damages Through Your Collision Coverage
Though you often hear these two insurances referred to in a single term, comprehensive and collision coverages are separate forms of car insurance. Comprehensive coverage only covers damages coming from situations not related to an auto accident, like a tree falling on your car during a storm. Collision insurance can pay for damages your vehicle suffers because of a collision with another object, like a car or tree. Collision coverage is essential to have if your car is damaged by an uninsured motorist – without it, you may be stuck paying for the damages they cause out of your own pocket. Also, these types of policies will not compensate you for injuries and related costs of care.
Relying on Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you have uninsured motorist coverage under your own car insurance policy, you may have the ability to collect for injury damages caused by an uninsured motorist. This clause allows you additional coverage for accidents with drivers who do not carry an insurance policy on their vehicle or do not carry bodily injury coverage. You can use uninsured motorist coverage to reimburse you for gaps in coverage standard PIP leaves. Uninsured motorist coverage is additional coverage you pay for over. Such coverage isn’t mandatory, but it is a smart investment considering the high rates of uninsured motorists on Florida roadways.
Keep in mind that some auto insurance carriers have deadlines to notify them when involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist. This makes it important to speak with an experienced St. Petersburg car accident attorney right away. If you suffered severe injuries, you do not have the time or energy to fight with the insurance companies to find out what kind of policy the other driver carries or not. If there is any doubt about the at-fault party having an auto policy, your lawyer can notify your carrier right away, so you avoid missing this critical deadline.
Getting Help From an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
While it may seem impossible or hopeless, it is possible to get the compensation you deserve to help you begin the process of healing after an auto collision. Working with a seasoned St. Petersburg car accident attorney is a wise decision. Doing so will ensure your case isn’t jeopardized by missed submission deadlines for your injury claim.
Attorney Frank P. Marsalisi strives to provide the best support and representation to our clients during such difficult times. You deserve personalized attention and accommodation for any special needs you may have from your injuries. Frank P. Marsalisi will never leave you in the dark about your claim’s status and can communicate with you in English and Spanish.
For more than ten years, Marsalisi Law has helped thousands of accident victims recover fair compensation after suffering catastrophic accidents caused by uninsured motorists around the greater St. Petersburg area. We are proud members of the Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association and have successfully litigated countless claims involving motor vehicle injuries. Contact our office online today or call (727) 800-5052 for a free case evaluation to learn what your rights are and how to proceed with your case.
Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal!