Learn about your legal options in Miami if you get in an accident with an uninsured driver.
A car accident is always a stressful event, but an accident with an uninsured driver can leave you feeling especially vulnerable and uncertain about the future. The aftermath of these accidents can be overwhelming, leaving you to deal with injuries, damages and the daunting task of navigating through the maze of legal and insurance claims to secure the compensation you deserve.
Fortunately, you don’t have to face this challenge alone. Miami accident attorney Mike Redondo is at your service, bringing a wealth of expertise and a compassionate approach to help victims of car accidents with uninsured drivers understand their legal options for justice and compensation.
If you have questions after reading this article or want help filing a claim, reach out to Redondo Law to schedule a free consultation.
How many drivers are uninsured?
According to a 2019 study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), about 1 in every 8 U.S. drivers is uninsured, or about 12.5%. In Florida, the percentage of uninsured drivers is even worse, with an estimated 20.4% of drivers having absolutely no car insurance.
What are my options in Florida if I’m in an accident with an uninsured driver?
If you’re involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver in Florida, you have several options to consider for covering damages and injuries. Florida’s insurance laws and no-fault system provide different avenues for recovery:
- Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Florida is a no-fault state, which means that after an accident, you first turn to your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP is required for all Florida drivers and covers you regardless of who is at fault, typically covering 80% of medical expenses and 60% of lost wages, up to the limit of your policy, which is usually $10,000.
- Property damage liability (PDL) coverage. While PIP covers medical expenses and lost wages, PDL coverage, which is also required in Florida, covers damage to other drivers’ vehicles or property if you’re at fault for the accident. However, this coverage does not apply to damage to your own car or property.
- Collision coverage. If you have collision coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, it can be used to repair or replace your vehicle after an accident with an uninsured driver. However, this coverage is optional and not required by Florida law.
- Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is an optional insurance that protects you if you’re in an accident with an at-fault driver without PDL insurance. UM coverage can pay for your medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. In Florida, insurers are required to offer UM coverage, but you can opt out if you choose.
- Health insurance. If your PIP coverage does not fully cover your medical expenses, your health insurance might cover the remaining costs. However, you may be responsible for any deductibles or copayments.
- Legal action. In some cases, you might want to also consider filing a lawsuit against the uninsured driver. While this is an option, it’s important to note that individuals who do not have auto insurance typically don’t have the assets to cover your damages, making it difficult to actually recover compensation through legal means.
When dealing with an accident involving an uninsured driver, it’s often beneficial to consult with an attorney who can help you navigate your options and ensure that you pursue all available avenues for compensation. A lawyer can also assist you in negotiating with insurance companies and, if necessary, pursuing legal action to recover damages.
How does uninsured motorist coverage work in Florida?
Florida’s uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is designed to provide a safeguard for individuals involved in accidents with drivers lacking liability insurance or carrying inadequate coverage to address the resulting damages and injuries.
Here’s an overview of how UM coverage works in Florida:
- What it covers. UM coverage in Florida can pay for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other injury-related expenses for you and your passengers. It does not cover property damage.
- Coverage limits. The amount of UM coverage is selected at the time you purchase your policy. Florida law requires insurers to offer UM coverage at limits that match the bodily injury liability coverage limits you select, but you can choose to purchase lower limits or reject UM coverage altogether in writing.
- Filing a claim. To use your UM coverage, you must first prove that the other driver was at fault and that they were uninsured or underinsured. This often involves obtaining a police report, gathering evidence of the accident, and demonstrating your injuries and financial losses.
UM coverage is particularly important in Florida due to its high rate of uninsured drivers. It provides a crucial safety net, ensuring that you and your passengers have access to compensation for injuries and losses, even when the at-fault driver cannot pay.
Do insurance companies go after uninsured drivers in Florida?
Yes, insurance companies in Florida may pursue uninsured drivers to recover costs associated with claims under certain circumstances. This process, known as subrogation, allows an insurance company to seek reimbursement from the at-fault, uninsured driver for any payouts the insurance company makes on behalf of their insured party.
The efforts to recover the funds can include legal judgments, garnishing wages, or placing liens on the uninsured driver’s property. However, it’s important to note that successfully recovering funds depends on the uninsured driver’s ability to pay. If the uninsured driver has no significant assets or income, it may be difficult for the insurance company to recover the expended amounts.
If the insurance company successfully recovers the funds, this may benefit you indirectly. For example, if you had to pay a deductible for repairs under your collision coverage, you might be reimbursed for this deductible once recovery is successful. Additionally, successful subrogation can help keep insurance premiums from increasing by offsetting the cost of claims.
Whether an insurance company decides to go after an uninsured driver depends on various factors, including:
- The amount of money at stake
- The likelihood of successful recovery
- The uninsured driver’s financial status
In many cases, the cost of pursuing recovery may outweigh the potential amount to be recovered, leading insurers to absorb the loss rather than engage in extensive recovery efforts.
Does an uninsured motorist claim raise my rates in Florida?
Usually not, but it depends. Individual insurance companies have their own policies regarding how they adjust premiums following claims.
Some insurers may not increase your rates for a first UM claim, especially if you have a history of safe driving and few claims. Others might adjust rates based on the total cost of claims over a certain period, regardless of fault.
The Florida Department of Insurance Regulation oversees insurance practices, but it allows companies some discretion in setting rates based on risk assessment. However, insurers are required to justify rate increases and cannot penalize drivers arbitrarily.
If you notice an increase in your insurance premiums after filing a UM claim, it could be due to several factors, including the insurance company’s overall loss experience, changes in your driving record, or other claims you’ve filed. It’s also possible that rate increases are part of broader rate adjustments within your geographic area or for your insurer.
If you’re concerned about the impact of a UM claim on your insurance rates, it’s a good idea to speak directly with your insurance agent or company.
How can an attorney help with a car accident claim involving an uninsured driver in Florida?
A Miami car accident attorney can be instrumental in navigating the complexities of a claim involving an uninsured driver. Here’s how an attorney can help:
- Understanding your coverage. An attorney can review your insurance policy, help you understand your coverage and advise you on the benefits you’re entitled to and how to maximize your claim.
- Filing claims. Attorneys can assist in the preparation and filing of claims with your insurance company, ensuring that all necessary documentation is complete and submitted on time. This includes PIP claims, which are required under Florida’s no-fault insurance system, as well as UM claims for additional compensation.
- Negotiating with insurance companies. Insurance companies aim to minimize payouts. An experienced attorney can negotiate with insurers on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries, damages and any other losses.
- Pursuing legal action. If negotiations with insurance companies are unsuccessful or if there are disputes over coverage, an attorney can represent you in legal action against the insurance company. Although suing an uninsured driver directly may not always be the most effective way to recover damages due to their potential lack of assets, an attorney can evaluate the situation and recommend the best course of action.
- Assessing damages. An attorney can help accurately assess the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any future costs associated with your injuries. This comprehensive assessment ensures that any claim or legal action seeks adequate compensation.
- Legal advice and representation. Throughout the claims process, an attorney provides legal advice tailored to your specific situation. If your case goes to court, having an attorney ensures you have professional representation that understands the intricacies of Florida’s traffic and insurance laws.
- Time limit considerations. Florida has specific statutes of limitations for filing injury claims. An attorney can ensure that all claims and potential lawsuits are filed within these legal time frames, preserving your right to compensation.
In essence, a Florida car accident attorney offers not only legal expertise and representation but also peace of mind during a potentially stressful and complex process. Their support can be crucial in securing the compensation you need to recover from an accident with an uninsured driver.
Redondo Law can help with your Miami car accident claim
When facing the challenges of an uninsured motorist accident, it’s essential to have a seasoned legal advocate on your side. With extensive expertise in personal injury cases, skilled Miami car accident attorney Mike Redondo is dedicated to pursuing the justice and compensation you rightfully deserve.
Leveraging his years of experience in dealing with complex cases, especially when insurance coverage is lacking, he’ll work tirelessly to secure the maximum financial support for your medical bills, lost income, and the emotional toll of your suffering.
Fill out the form below to schedule your free consultation with Redondo Law today.