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Car Accidents Caused by Uninsured Drivers

Car insurance plays a crucial role in car accidents in Florida. If your injuries aren’t too serious, you can get no-fault benefits through your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. If your injuries are serious or permanent, then you can pursue a claim against the other driver and collect even more compensation from their insurance. But what if they aren’t insured? This isn’t just an academic question. More than one in five drivers in Florida don’t have liability insurance, ranking Florida in sixth place among states having the highest percentage of uninsured drivers in the country.

The good news is that even if you got hit by an uninsured driver, you still have rights and options to recover compensation for your injuries, and the law firm of Chadwick & Chadwick can help. Since 1985, we’ve been helping car accident victims who have been seriously injured by the negligence of another driver. We’ve handled just about every kind of claim there is, including those involving uninsured motorists. From our office in Tampa, we help car accident injury victims throughout Florida, so call us if you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, and find out how our skilled and dedicated team can help.

Florida’s Car Insurance Laws

Florida’s unique insurance laws can be intricate, especially in cases involving uninsured or underinsured motorists. As a no-fault state, Florida requires drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This insurance covers a portion of your medical bills and lost wages, regardless of who is at fault. However, PIP does not cover all of your expenses, and it doesn’t pay anything for common personal injury damages like pain and suffering or emotional distress. Also, depending on the circumstances, your PIP benefits can be capped at only $2,500 or $10,000, regardless of your actual damages.

Florida’s no-fault insurance law contains a “tort exemption” allowing you to sue the negligent driver at fault for the accident and recover damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish and inconvenience. This exemption only applies to serious accidents that result in:

  • Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
  • Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Death

This tort exemption might seem of little help if the other driver is uninsured, but you still have options.

Legal Recourse for Victims of Uninsured Drivers

When you are hit by an uninsured driver, the path to compensation becomes more challenging, but not impossible. Our team at Chadwick & Chadwick is skilled in navigating these complex situations. We focus on exploring various legal avenues, including:

  1. Uninsured Motorist Coverage: If you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage as part of your insurance policy, it can be a crucial asset. This coverage is designed to compensate you for your losses in the event the at-fault driver lacks insurance. The tort exemption applies to UM coverage, allowing you to recover for the full extent of your damages. Our attorneys can assist in filing and negotiating a UM claim with your insurance provider. Legal representation is necessary to get compensated for the full value of your claim.

  2. Personal Injury Lawsuit: In some cases, pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the uninsured driver may be an option. Even if the driver has no auto insurance, they might have other insurance policies that apply or enough assets that would make a lawsuit worthwhile. If you don’t carry UM insurance, then this could be an option worth exploring.

  3. Other Liable Parties: Sometimes, other parties may be partially responsible for the accident. For instance, if a vehicle defect contributed to the crash, a product liability claim against the manufacturer might be appropriate.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

There are only a couple of states in the country that don’t require drivers to carry bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance, and Florida is one of them. While all drivers must carry no-fault PIP coverage and property damage liability, BIL is only required for certain drivers, such as taxi and rideshare drivers, or people who have been cited for certain moving violations or been in an accident.

If the at-fault driver has some insurance but it is not enough to cover your damages, you might be able to make up the difference if you have underinsured motorist (UIM) on your policy. Chances are, if you have UM coverage, you also have UIM.

Don’t Settle Your Case Until You’ve Talked to an Attorney

If you get hit by an uninsured driver, they are likely to try and get you to settle with them directly rather than calling the police or involving insurance. This is almost always a mistake. First of all, reporting the accident may required by law, such as if any injury is involved or there is property damage over $500. Even if the damage to your vehicle seems minor and you feel okay at the moment, you really have no good idea how much it will take to fix your car or how badly you might have been hurt. While it might be tempting to accept cash from the other driver, doing so could hurt your chances of getting the compensation you need. It’s better to call the insurance company, call the police, go to a doctor, and talk to an attorney who can evaluate your case and advise you on your best options.

Contact Chadwick & Chadwick for a Free Consultation

If you’ve been in a car accident with an uninsured driver in Tampa or anywhere in Florida, don’t navigate this complex legal journey alone. Contact Chadwick & Chadwick today for a free consultation. We’ll discuss your case, explain your options, and outline a strategy to pursue the compensation you deserve. Let our experience and dedication work for you in this challenging time.

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