Many motorists on Tampa’s roads are uninsured. Research shows that in 2011, over 14% of motorists were uninsured in the US. Unfortunately, uninsured motorists in Tampa, FL, make it very difficult to claim damages if you have been in a serious crash. Although in Florida, you will initially approach your own insurance for compensation, if your damages exceed your policy limits, you could be left out of pocket.
Our car accident attorneys at The Law Place have the experience and knowledge of Florida law, necessary to advise you on what your next steps should be. You may still be able to claim compensation from the uninsured motorist, or there may be another party partially at fault for your accident, such as the car manufacturer or local authorities whose job it is to upkeep the road.
Contact us today on (813) 544-4444 for a free consultation and find out what we can do for you in Tampa, FL.
Florida Auto Insurance Laws
Every motorist in Florida is legally required to have a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage and $10,000 in property damage, according to Florida Statute 627.736. Every individual is required to initially claim from their own insurance company, regardless of who was at fault. However, if your damages cost more than the limits of your policy, then you may need to claim from the at-fault party. If the at-fault party does not have insurance, then you might struggle to claim all of your damages.
Florida does not require motorists to have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you are involved in a serious accident up to the maximum amount allowed under your policy. It may also protect you if the other driver is underinsured, meaning that if they opted for low policy limits, then you may still be covered by your own insurance.
Uninsured Motorist Accidents Liability in Tampa
If you were involved in a car accident, you should be able to file a personal injury claim against the driver who caused your injuries. However, if the other driver was uninsured, then they may not have the assets to compensate you.
Some cases become more complicated when they involve other parties. For example, did a defective car part worsen your injuries? Or were the roads in a dangerous condition?
In your free consultation, your lawyer will ask you some simple questions to see if they think that you have a claim.
To prove liability in Tampa, you often must show someone was negligent. Negligence requires that you prove:
- You were owed a duty of care – In Florida, drivers automatically owe a duty of care when they drive to keep those around them safe. You are also owed a duty of care by the local authorities to keep the roads safe and by car, manufacturers to make your vehicle safe.
- Breach of duty – Someone acted recklessly and, therefore, breached their duty of care. To prove this, you need to prove that they did not act as a reasonable person would have.
- Causation – The breach resulted in your injuries, both bodily injury and emotional trauma.
- Damages – Your injuries led to costs such as medical bills and lost wages.
If another driver was negligent and they were uninsured, then you may be able to claim from your Tampa underinsured motorist coverage. If not, you may still be able to take them to court to claim damages. If your case involves negligence from another party, then you may end up seeking compensation from somewhere else.
This might all sound a little complicated. And after dealing with an uninsured motorist accident in Tampa, it is likely to feel overwhelming. Contact us today for a free consultation and get some legal advice so that you can at least know what your next steps should be.
Seeking Compensation in Tampa
According to Florida law, if you establish liability, then you should be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages. If you have lost a loved one in ana accident, then you should also be able to claim for funeral expenses and any loss of income to a family household.
Unfortunately, suing a Tampa uninsured driver often leaves you with uncompensated damages. This is because an uninsured motorist is unlikely to have the assets available to pay for any medical bills that result from severe bodily injury. Judges in Tampa are unlikely to award you a large amount if the defendant can’t pay it.
However, as previously discussed in this article, there may be other avenues you can explore. It is always worth contacting a law firm in Florida for some advice from a lawyer following any car accident. At The Law Place, we offer a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose!
There could be evidence that the Tampa uninsured driver has hidden assets or money. In which case, you might still be able to claim for the compensation you deserve following an accident. In order to investigate this, you will need a lawyer who can run a credit check against the driver. If hidden assets are discovered, your lawyer may be able to freeze their accounts, ensuring that they cannot attempt to hide or move money to escape paying. You should, therefore, contact The Law Place as quickly as possible following the accident.
File a Claim Through Your Own Insurance Company
After a car accident in Florida, you are required to inform your insurance company. Your policy will tell you how long you have, but it is usually 24 hours. If the other driver is unable to provide their insurance details at the scene or is reluctant to give you their name and contact information, then it could be a sign that they are uninsured. If this is the case, you need to speak to your insurance company quickly, as you often have less time to claim under your uninsured motorist coverage.
But remember, insurance companies are big business, and their top goal is profit. Therefore, when speaking with your insurance company, be mindful of what you say about the accident, as it could be used to devalue your claim. Never admit fault or discuss the bodily injury. You may not have all of the facts right away. Although you need to notify your insurance company about the accident, you do not need to tell them every little detail. Keep it factual and brief, until you have spoken to a Florida law firm. They will be able to advise you, and if they do take on your case, they may be able to speak to your insurance firm on your behalf.
Working with a claim where a driver does not have motorist coverage is more complicated than working with a typical insurance claim. If the other driver claims to not have insurance, or if they refuse to give you any insurance information with regards to their coverage, speak to a law firm right away.
Contact Us at The Law Place Today
At The Law Place, based in Florida, we have helped countless clients recover damages from uninsured drivers. Unlike many law firms, we will not shy away from complex cases. If we think you have a chance at compensation for your personal injury case, then we will do what we can to help you. And at the very least, our law firm can offer some free and no-obligation advice on Florida law and how to deal with an uninsured driver. Contact us now for a free consultation on (813) 544-4444.