While almost every state in the U.S. requires motor vehicle owners to have insurance, not all drivers carry it — or, they may not carry enough. If you were involved in a car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may be wondering what your legal options are and what your next step should be. Here’s what you need to know.
Understand that Florida is a No-Fault State
Only twelve out of fifty-two states in America are no-fault insurance states, and Florida happens to be one of them. It’s important you understand what this means for your car accident case. In a no-fault state, a car insurance claim is paid out no matter who is at fault. This differs from a fault state, where drivers submit a claim to the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Instead of submitting your claim to the other driver’s insurance company, you’ll submit the claim to your own.
Who Pays for Your Damages?
In a no-fault state, your claim is submitted to your own insurance company. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is a requirement in Florida to help cover the often overwhelming costs of an accident. Whether you were at fault or not, your claim goes to your insurance company, who then makes a payment for the estimated cost of damages.
Can You Sue?
In some cases, you may be able to bring a civil lawsuit against the other driver if you meet specific criteria. Typically this is when the at-fault party’s actions are considered particularly egregious, and/or when the damages caused by the accident far exceed the injured driver’s insurance coverage. A Florida personal injury lawyer can help you determine if your case is eligible depending on your circumstances. Even if you are eligible, however, it’s important to note that there are limits or caps on damages that can be paid out.
When to Speak with an Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a negligent or careless driver in Florida and they were uninsured or underinsured, it’s critical that you consult with an accident lawyer to discuss your legal options. Even in a no-fault state like Florida, you still have recourse for damages you’ve incurred as a result of the accident, like medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle damage.
Call the Slonaker Law Firm today for more information or to schedule a consultation at 352.629.6656 (Ocala) or 352.777.8176 (After Hours).