How To Handle An Accident With An Uninsured Driver
The scourge of drivers in Southwest Florida is the uninsured driver or the motorist who carries Florida’s minimum auto insurance coverage—which is functionally no insurance at all. Drivers who cause damage and injury to others should be held liable for their actions, but many times these drivers do not have the resources to pay full and fair compensation.
Finding the Money to Compensate Victims
An uninsured driver carries no auto insurance at all. An underinsured driver carries either the minimum required collision damage—bodily injury liability insurance is not required in Florida—or a low amount of bodily injury coverage, typically $10,000-$25,000. In any serious crash, these levels of liability coverage are practically useless. If the driver has limited financial resources, then pursuit of the claim may be financially untenable.
Before accepting the insurance carrier’s representation of no insurance or limited insurance, an investigation should be made into all potentially liable parties—causes and contributors to the crash—and their insurance resources.
- Was the driver living in a household which maintained auto insurance?
- Was the driver operating a company vehicle at the time of the crash?
- Did the driver have personal liability insurance or umbrella coverage?
- Was the driver on-the-job, on-the-clock, or otherwise working for an employer at the time of the car accident?
- Did any other motorists contribute to the crash?
- Did any non-motorists play a role in causing the auto accident?
- Was the driver operating a vehicle owned by someone else?
- Does the at-fault driver have substantial financial resources?
In each of these instances, there may be insurance available to pay money damages. Reviewing all other sources of liability insurance coverage or other financial assets to determine whether there is any third party source of compensation is critical.
Pursuing Compensation through Uninsured Motorist Insurance
Every driver in Southwest Florida should pay the small price for uninsured motorist insurance. This is money well spent and protects the injured party in the event he or she is struck and injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Also known as UM coverage, uninsured motorist insurance is mandatory coverage offered by your own auto insurance company. Be careful, however, because the coverage may be rejected by signing a rejection form. Do not sign a UM rejection form.
In the event of an auto accident involving a driver who has no insurance or a small policy, your UM insurance makes up the difference and pays your compensation. Your own insurance company stands in the shoes of the at-fault driver and pays you, and then after paying you, pursues the uninsured driver for reimbursement.
UM insurance also protects you in the event of a hit and run accident. If you are a victim of a hit and run and suffer injuries, you may be able to obtain full compensation from your uninsured motorist coverage.
This is an important resource which is available to all Florida drivers, yet so many do not keep and pay for UM. The cost is typically minimal, and the ounce of prevention is worth the pound of protection.
Steps to Protect Yourself from Uninsured Drivers and Underinsured Drivers with UM Insurance
Check your auto insurance policy—declarations page which lists your coverage amounts, and the premiums—to determine whether you have uninsured motorist insurance coverage. If you don’t have it, then contact your insurance company and obtain the coverage. If already have UM, then it may be time to raise your limits.
In today’s world, you should carry a minimum UM amount of $100,000. This will mean that you have to raise your bodily injury limits to the same amount. Again, the price is minimal for the amount of protection for you and your family.
If you have more than one car in your household, then make sure your UM insurance is “stacked.” Stacked UM coverage means that in the event of an auto accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, your available UM insurance is multiplied by the number of covered vehicles.
Pursuing Justice for Good People Harmed by Uninsured Drivers
No one wants to be hurt and have his or her life turned upside down by a crash. Making matters worse is when the accident is caused by a driver who does not have insurance or has so little that the victim bears the full brunt of the loss.
You may have many options under the circumstances. Sarasota attorney David Harris is experienced, skilled, and driven to pursue full and fair compensation for you and your family.
Call David for a free and personal consultation about your circumstances. If David takes your case, then know you have access to a responsive lawyer who never leaves you in the dark, answering your calls, questions, and keeping you involved while seeking justice.