Getting into an accident is a stressful and frustrating experience. When the other party has no insurance, you might wonder what happens after an accident with an uninsured driver.
Because Florida is a no-fault state, your first source of recovery is your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. That means you could receive reimbursement for some of your medical expenses and lost wages regardless of the other driver’s insurance status.
In cases with severe injuries, you could have the right to pursue a personal injury claim against the responsible party under Florida’s serious injury threshold rule. However, it can be more complicated if you’re in a car accident with an uninsured driver.
Compensation Under PIP Coverage in Florida
Personal injury protection insurance is mandatory in Florida. The law requires you to carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL).
You can present a claim under your PIP policy for reimbursement when you get into a collision, regardless of who caused the accident. PIP coverage is limited, however. You cannot collect certain types of compensation that you would in a personal injury lawsuit, such as pain and suffering.
PIP policies pay up to 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages. Many drivers only sign up for the minimum limits for PIP coverage in Florida. That might be enough for a more minor, less serious accident. However, even a moderately severe collision can quickly exceed $10,000 in medical expenses.
Suppose your injuries meet the threshold for pursuing a claim against the other driver. In that case, you might be confused about what to do next since they may not have any applicable insurance coverage for the accident.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Do you pay for uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage under your own auto policy? If so, you could be eligible to pursue a claim under your uninsured motorist insurance. Your UM coverage can apply when you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver.
Although you are presenting a claim to your own insurance company, the claims adjuster will treat it like a third-party claim. That means the claims adjuster essentially steps into the shoes of the other driver’s insurance.
You are not automatically entitled to compensation under UM insurance. The adjuster will thoroughly investigate and determine whether the other driver is at fault for your injuries and other damages.
That is why you need a skilled car accident lawyer who can help you build a strong case. Don’t risk your potential settlement by trying to handle a UM claim independently.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your policy, purchase the highest limits you can afford. That will help protect you in the future should you be involved in an accident.
Filing a Lawsuit Against the Uninsured Driver
What happens if you exhausted your PIP, don’t have UM coverage, or your insurance company denies your claims? You can try to file a lawsuit against the individual who caused the accident.
However, this solution is not ideal. If this lawsuit involves an accident with an uninsured driver, there’s a good chance they don’t have any assets or money to pay any judgment against them.
Importance of Hiring a Lawyer for Florida Car Accidents
Pursuing compensation in an accident with an uninsured driver can be complicated. It would be best if you had a legal advocate who understands the laws in Florida. In your case, there may be other avenues of recovery that you do not realize exist.
Were there more than two drivers involved in the accident? If so, you may also have a claim against that other driver. Accidents involving three or more vehicles likely have multiple contributing factors.
Sometimes, another entity, such as a government municipality, also shares responsibility for the accident. Even a vehicle manufacturer could be accountable if a vehicle defect contributed to the accident.
Your attorney will help you build the strongest case to help support your claim for damages. Before collecting compensation for any fault-based claim, such as a UM claim, you must prove the other party is responsible for your injuries and other damages. The four main elements of a negligence-based claim are:
Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation and preserve all necessary evidence. We will collect all documentation, speak with witnesses, and negotiate with the claims adjuster assigned to your UM claim.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer
If you have questions on what happens after an accident with an uninsured driver, contact Nonni Homola to schedule an initial consultation. With over 40 years of experience, our team knows how to help you fight for the maximum compensation possible.