Tampa Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyers
It’s a very good idea for Florida drivers to purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage when they select auto insurance policies. Every driver must carry the state minimums of $10,000 coverage for Personal Injury Protection and $10,000 for Property Damage Liability. All insurance carriers in the state must offer additional Uninsured Motorist Coverage, as well, but unfortunately many drivers opt-out of this optional coverage to save money on insurance premiums. This is a bad idea because the additional cost of maintaining Uninsured Motorist Coverage pales in comparison to the financial security it can provide after an accident.
Florida has the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the country, with about one of every five drivers being uninsured. Although the state follows a no-fault insurance law for car accidents, a minimum coverage policy will rarely cover the total cost of damage after a serious accident. When an injured driver’s insurance is insufficient to cover such damages, he or she will generally move to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. If the other driver’s insurance is insufficient or the driver does not have auto insurance, the injured driver will need to contact Tampa uninsured motorist accident lawyers to discuss other potential avenues of compensation, such as personal injury claims.
What to Do After an Accident With an Uninsured Driver
After an accident with an uninsured driver, contact the police to report the damage and any injuries and provide officers with your statement once they arrive. Be very careful which words you use during this conversation, as the police may misconstrue seemingly innocent statements like “I’m sorry” or “I couldn’t stop in time” as admissions of fault. These statements can come back to haunt you later, so simply answer the officers’ questions honestly and concisely until they allow you to leave. Try to take pictures of the accident site before they clear it, as photos of the damage to your vehicle, your injuries, and the scene of the crash may all be valuable evidence in a later lawsuit.
Your next step should be to seek medical attention, even if you believe you only suffered minor injuries. Some wounds will take time to noticeably manifest symptoms, so any delay in treatment could seriously complicate your medical condition and make an unseen injury worse. Additionally, any delay on your part in seeking medical treatment could cast doubt on your story in a future insurance claim or lawsuit against an at-fault driver. Your physician will provide you with a report that lists your injuries, possible future complications, and recovery plan. This is another vital piece of evidence if you decide to pursue legal action for your accident.
Florida Insurance Laws
Every driver must carry the minimum coverage for Personal Injury Protection and Property Damage Liability, but it is also wise to carry as much additional coverage as you deem reasonable. Considering the extraordinarily high rate of uninsured drivers in Florida, maintaining Bodily Injury Liability Coverage and Uninsured Motorist Coverage is a very wise choice. These selections shouldn’t increase your premiums by more than $100 per year, which is very reasonable in light of what they provide.
Uninsured motorist coverage can help with damages such as:
- Medical expenses, up to the limit of the policy.
- Lost wages not covered by a no-fault insurance policy.
- Future medical expenses related to an accident.
- Future wage losses resulting from an accident.
- Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Coverage for victims of hit-and-run drivers.
Possible Insurance Complications
Although Uninsured Motorist Coverage can provide additional relief beyond the standard no-fault insurance requirements in Florida, it will not cover damage to a vehicle or other property damage. Insurance carriers will likely offer additional coverage options for these concerns, so check carefully for the options available through your chosen carrier.
Before agreeing to sign any insurance policy, be sure to do some research on the insurance carrier. While they may offer competitive premium rates, they may not have a great track record of past policyholder interactions. Look online to see what people are saying about an insurance carrier when it comes to dealing with claimants, processing claims, claim processing time, pushback from claims adjusters, and any past legal entanglements over denied coverage.
There is no solid formula for calculating how much a settlement offer will be for a car accident in Florida. The amount largely depends on which types of auto insurance coverage the drivers have selected, and this is tricky in cases involving uninsured motorists. When insurance is not enough to cover the total cost of a serious accident and the at-fault driver does not have insurance, the injured driver should contact Bulluck Law Group as their Tampa uninsured motorist accident lawyers.
Building a Lawsuit
Since Florida is a no-fault state, an injured driver must first use his or her own auto insurance policy to cover medical expenses and lost wages and then file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance for property damage. Florida only allows injured drivers to file personal injury lawsuits for serious accidents, typically those that result in fatalities, permanent disabilities, or very extensive property damage. There is a four-year statute of limitations or time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit for a serious car accident in Florida, so don’t delay in reaching out to your attorney and start building your case.
Damages and Compensation in Uninsured Motorist Claims
As long as the police can identify and locate the at-fault driver, he or she will face legal penalties for driving without insurance, including fines and driver’s license suspension. In some cases, an at-fault driver may face jail time for a seriously damaging accident, or an accident caused by reckless or aggressive driving. He or she may also face criminal charges if any criminal activity took place related to the accident.
Since the injured driver’s insurance is unlikely to cover the total cost of a serious car accident and the at-fault driver in an uninsured motorist accident case does not have any auto insurance, the injured driver must file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover any needed additional compensation. Depending on the type of accident and what insurance covers, plaintiffs can secure compensation for their additional medical expenses and lost wages beyond the scope of their insurance coverage as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
How Can an Attorney Help?
Florida drivers need to remember that the state follows a pure comparative negligence law, meaning a plaintiff who was partially at fault for his or her damages can still collect compensation. However, the court reduces the plaintiff’s compensation by his or her degree of fault in causing the accident.
The right Tampa uninsured motorist accident lawyers can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of an uninsured motorist accident when insurance isn’t enough to cover the damage. The team at Bulluck Law Group in Tampa, FL has extensive experience handling all types of car accident claims, including those involving uninsured motorists. Additionally, our team isn’t afraid to deal with difficult insurance carriers who reduce or deny coverage without just cause.
Contact the Bulluck Law Group Tampa, Florida office today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. We can help you better understand your insurance coverage and handle dealing with the insurance companies, so you can focus on your recovery.