Fort Lauderdale Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Lawyers
The state of Florida has minimum car insurance requirements that every vehicle operator must carry before getting behind the wheel. Minimums include $10,000 in personal injury protection insurance and $10,000 in property damage liability. It is illegal to drive without insurance in Fort Lauderdale. If police catch a driver without at least the minimum amount of coverage, penalties may include fines of up to $500 and license suspension. If an uninsured or underinsured motorist caused your collision, you could face an uphill legal battle. Contact our Fort Lauderdale underinsured motorist accident lawyers today for a free consultation.
Fort Lauderdale’s No-Fault Insurance Rules
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. This means that drivers involved in car accidents first go to their own insurance companies for damage compensation, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This is in contrast to most states’ fault systems. In fault states, the first outlet for damage recovery is through the at-fault driver’s insurer. In Fort Lauderdale, the other driver’s policy will only cover damages if your own policy doesn’t have enough coverage to fully compensate you for personal injuries and property damage.
In an accident with an uninsured/underinsured motorist, the insured driver might not receive adequate compensation from an insurance claim. The claim might go over the insured driver’s policy limit and require additional money from the at-fault party’s insurer. If this insurance doesn’t exist or is not enough to cover damages, the injured party could be at a loss when it comes to recovery. Luckily, there are a few possible solutions to these situations in Fort Lauderdale.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance
Fort Lauderdale insurance carriers offer a type of coverage called “uninsured/underinsured motorist” (UIM) insurance. Florida law does not make this type of coverage mandatory. It is an optional, additional coverage policyholders can purchase. Most insurers offer UIM at the time of the policy purchase. The policyholder must reject this coverage in writing. UIM insurance will pay additional benefits to car accident victims if the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the costs of the policyholder’s medical bills and other damages. Talk to your insurer after a collision to find out if you have this type of coverage and if it’s enough to compensate you for damages.
If you decide to file an uninsured motorist claim, the insurance company will only pay for damages if the other motorist is held to be legally accountable for the accident. But in a no-fault state such as Florida, it is not always possible to obtain such damages, unless the case is exceptional.
Under the rule concerning personal injury protection (PIP), such cases include loss of a significant bodily function, permanent injury, considerable and permanent scarring, and death. In addition, you can file a claim for economic damages that do not fall within the realm of PIP, an example of which is the 20 percent of medical expenses that are not covered by PIP and amounts in excess of the PIP limit. Furthermore the uninsured motorist may be liable for committing a tort and is personally liable for paying PIP benefits.
Personal Injury Claims for UIM Collisions
Another possible solution for damage recovery in these situations is filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver with the civil courts of Fort Lauderdale. A personal injury claim alleges that the other driver was negligent in some way, and this negligence caused the accident. For example, the other driver may have been texting behind the wheel, driving drunk, or too tired to safely operate the vehicle. In accidents involving negligence, the courts could order the defendant (or his/her insurance company) to reimburse the victim for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
The Law Offices of Chalik & Chalik are here to help car accident victims dealing with uninsured/underinsured motorists in Fort Lauderdale. Jason and Debi Chalik will personally handle these cases, communicate with insurance companies, and fight for just compensation through the legal system when appropriate.