Car accidents are always a huge inconvenience, even more so when the driver who caused your accident has a total lack of auto insurance coverage. Not only will you possibly be recovering from injuries and trauma, but you will also have the added stress of thinking about how you are going to pay all of your medical bills and for your property damage.
If you have been caught up in this unpleasant situation, it is important that you know that you don’t have to go through this alone. A car accident attorney can provide legal support and work to secure compensation for any damages on your behalf.
At The Law Place, our team has over 75 years of experience between them. We have worked with many individuals who have been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver to reach a fair settlement.
Contact us today at (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Car Insurance Coverage Is Mandatory in Florida
All drivers in Florida are required by law to have the minimum mandatory car insurance. The minimum requirement is:
- $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP).
- $10,000 of property damage liability coverage (PDL).
Any person in Florida who is found driving without the minimum amount of coverage will face very serious consequences. They could face license suspension, license plate confiscation, and even serious criminal charges.
Florida’s Uninsured Drivers
According to recent national data, approximately 13% of all drivers in the U.S. drive with no car insurance coverage whatsoever. This means that there are around 32 million uninsured drivers on the road nationwide. Even though almost every state requires a specific amount of car insurance coverage to register a vehicle, a large number of drivers wait for their policies to expire before renewing them. Florida has the highest number of uninsured drivers in the country, with around 26.7% of them being uninsured. So, unfortunately, we all have a fair chance of getting caught up in an accident with one of them.
Most insurance companies in Florida will offer drivers additional car insurance coverage to address the issue of uninsured drivers. However, this coverage can be expensive, and many drivers find themselves unprotected by their own insurance company in these events.
Florida’s No-Fault Law
Florida is a no-fault state, as per Florida Statute 627.7407, which means that individuals must initially file a claim with their own insurance company. However, in the case of more serious accidents, even a driver with the full amount of coverage may not have enough to cover all of their expenses. In this case, they would ideally file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider.
When an at-fault driver does not have car insurance, you may need to file a lawsuit in order to recover your losses. A personal injury lawyer can do this on your behalf. The courts in Florida will follow the comparative fault rule, as per Florida Statute 768.81, to determine liability.
How Should I Approach Car Accident Insurance Claims Involving an Uninsured Driver?
Before you consider suing the uninsured driver to get the compensation you deserve after an accident, you should speak to your insurance company first.
Take the time to review your specific auto insurance policy and establish if you have car insurance that protects you following an accident with an uninsured driver. If you do, this could be a simple route to recovering your damages.
You should speak to an attorney if:
- Your insurance company refuses to pay for your damages in full even though you have uninsured motorist coverage.
- You don’t have uninsured motorist coverage and need to file a lawsuit against the driver to recover your damages.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the whole process and need some support, we can help. Call us for a free consultation to find out more.
What if the at-Fault Driver Cannot Pay My Damages?
Unfortunately, drivers who have not properly insured their vehicles are unlikely to have much money either. Usually, when they have failed to purchase motorist coverage, they are not simply negligent. They merely cannot set aside any money for the monthly payments. Therefore, many victims assume that it is not worth filing a lawsuit against them.
However, with the right lawyer on your side, you may have more options than you think when it comes to obtaining compensation after an accident with an uninsured driver. Judges sometimes insist that the defendant pays fees monthly to the victim who has incurred damages because of the accident.
Additionally, a car accident attorney can determine if the uninsured driver has any assets such as property, valuables, or investments. If the driver is found to be in possession of any of these assets, liquidation may be the way to obtain the payment you deserve.
Furthermore, there may be another party involved who may be liable for your injuries. For example, if the driver was driving a company car or a commercial truck, their employer could be held accountable for their lack of insurance.
When Is a Driver Considered to Be at-Fault?
Usually, a driver who is considered to be at-fault in an accident will have acted negligently. If negligence can be established, you will be entitled to file a lawsuit against them.
Examples of such acts include:
- Drunk driving (DUI) – Any person who is caught operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or above is breaking the law and will face serious legal consequences. If a drunk driver was responsible for your accident, they could be held accountable for your injuries.
- Distracted driving – Unfortunately, many car accidents are caused by drivers who are distracted from the road. Common examples include the use of a mobile phone, eating, and talking to passengers. A driver who causes an accident because they are not paying proper attention can be sued for negligence.
- Fleeing the scene of an accident (hit and run) – All drivers in Florida are required by law to remain at the scene of an accident until law enforcement arrives and permits them to leave. Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a serious crime. If you were in an accident with an uninsured driver who left the scene and did not render aid or pass on their information, you might be eligible to file a lawsuit against them.
- Driving recklessly – According to Florida Statute 316.192, reckless driving is defined as “any person who drives a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense in Florida, and any driver who is accused of this crime can be held liable for any accidents and injuries they caused as a result.
Establishing liability in an accident is not always easy. In most cases, only an experienced personal injury lawyer can gather the necessary evidence to prove a claim. A car accident attorney from The Law Place can thoroughly investigate your case and file a lawsuit on your behalf.
What Damages Can I Claim for Following an Accident in Florida?
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be eligible to claim a wide range of economic and non-economic damages, such as:
- Medical bills.
- Lost wages and future earnings.
- Pain and suffering.
- Property damage.
- Rehabilitation, for example, physical therapy.
Unfortunately, it is likely that your insurance company will not pay out in full for all of your losses, and if the other driver was uninsured, you would not have the option of filing a claim with their insurance company. Therefore, a filing lawsuit may be the only way forward.
When Should I Contact a Florida Auto Accident Attorney?
If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver and are worried that you will not be compensated in full for your damages, you should waste no time in contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer who can tell you whether you have a valid claim during your free consultation.
A reputable car accident attorney can help you figure out exactly what steps you need to take to secure adequate compensation. They can get to work on investigating the accident scene, examining any police or witness reports, and speaking to your insurance company on your behalf if necessary.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
You have four years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida, according to Florida’s statute of limitations. This is to ensure that all legal actions are taken within a reasonable amount of time so that the evidence is still reliable.
Victims should note that lawsuits take time to build, and over time it can be harder to obtain credible evidence. Therefore, you should contact an attorney sooner rather than later.
Call The Law Place Today
If you have been injured in a car accident and the at-fault party was uninsured, The Law Place can help. Our car accident attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience and have helped many victims recover damages from uninsured drivers.
We will always offer a free consultation where we will review your case and tell you if you have a valid claim. If you choose to work with us, we will support you every step of the way and work tirelessly until a fair settlement is reached.
Contact us today at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our car accident attorneys are ready to get started on your case.