The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department reveals the state records over 200,000 car crashes annually, or about 650 accidents per day. Florida law requires every motor vehicle registered in the state to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage to pay for damages they may cause in an accident for a minimum of $10,000. Unfortunately, not all motorists on our roads follow this rule. Studies reveal that Florida has the highest rates of uninsured motorists meaning the likelihood of getting into a crash with an uninsured driver is substantially high.
Motor vehicle accidents are stressful and costly to deal with, no matter the details or circumstances. If you get into an accident and the other driver doesn’t have auto insurance, the stress and costs become compounded. It is important to have the help of a car accident attorney who will advise you on appropriate steps to take so you recover compensation for your damages.
If you got into a car crash with insurance and weren’t at fault, the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Eltringham Law Group can help you recover your damages. We have several decades of combined experience successfully representing clients involved in road crashes. Our zealous attorneys will find other ways to have your expenses covered.
What Happens When There Is No Insurance in a Car Accident?
The state of Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, meaning in case of an accident, each driver’s own insurance policy pays damages to the policyholder regardless of fault. If the other driver was at fault and didn’t have auto insurance, some of your options include:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Personal Injury Protection or PIP is a no-fault insurance that covers medical expenses regardless of who is at fault during an accident. It can also cover for lost wages and other typical damage resulting from car accidents. Depending on your state, PIP can be optional insurance coverage or a mandatory policy add-on.
As mentioned earlier, every car insurance policy in Florida is required to provide PIP coverage regardless of who was at fault for an accident. This means if you get into a motor vehicle crash with an uninsured driver, your PIP coverage can cover your damages.
All you have to do is report the damage within 14 days from the date of the accident. The insurance company will pay up to $10,000 in damages, including up to 80% of medical bills and up to 60% of lost wages.
Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) auto insurance protects motorists who get into an accident with an at-fault driver who doesn’t carry liability insurance. In essence, if you are carrying uninsured/underinsured coverage, you will collect compensation from your own insurance company after a wreck with an uninsured at-fault driver. UM/UIM also provides coverage if the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough liability insurance to cover your damages and losses.
While PIP coverage is mandatory in Florida, uninsured/underinsured coverage is optional. The UM or UIM policy covers you, your family, and any other passenger who was in your car at the time of the accident. The policy covers the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
However, the uninsured/underinsured coverage doesn’t cover property damage to your car.
File a Lawsuit Against the at-Fault Driver
You can consider filing a lawsuit against the uninsured at-fault driver if your damages exceed the $10,000 provided by PIP. A lawsuit can also be an attractive option to recover damages not included in your PIP coverage. Unfortunately, even after winning a judgment against the at-fault driver, it can be challenging to collect the award from the other driver.
What If You Were at Fault for the Accident?
If you were driving an uninsured motor vehicle and caused an accident in Florida, you could face any of the following consequences:
- Lawsuit: The other driver can initiate a lawsuit against you in a bid to recover damages, including lost medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, loss of future earnings, and more. If a motor vehicle crash resulted in death, you could also be sued for wrongful death.
- Suspension of driver’s license: Operating a motor vehicle without appropriate insurance coverage is a serious offense in the state of Florida. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will likely suspend your license and car registration for up to three years.
- Civil penalties: You could also face high penalties for your violations. The first violation attracts a reinstatement fee of $150. Subsequent violations attract a reinstatement fee of up to $500.
What Are the Damages That Personal Injury Protection Covers?
A PIP pays for your medical costs regardless of who was at fault for a crash. The coverage can also help even when you are not inside your car. For example, if you get injured by a car while walking or even riding in someone’s car, the PIP may have you covered up to certain limits.
Specifically, PIP personal injury protection can cover the following damages:
- Medical expenses: PIP can cover typical medical expenses, including medication, medical supplies, surgical treatment, ambulance and nursing services, and more.
- Lost wages: In some cases, PIP coverage may also cover lost wages if you are unable to work due to an accident
- Substitute services: PIP can also cover for substitute services like cleaning crew where the crash injuries keep you from performing your household chores
- Funeral expenses: In the unfortunate event a victim’s accident results in death, the PIP can help pay for funeral expenses.
However, PIP insurance doesn’t cover damage to your vehicle or damage to other people’s property. It also doesn’t cover vehicle theft or medical expenses that exceed your coverage limits.
Get The Help of an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Florida
Car accidents result in severe injuries, property damages, and massive expenses. If you are involved in an accident without car insurance, recovering damages can be a frustrating experience. The best way to maximize compensation after a car accident with an uninsured at-fault party is to hire an experienced car accident lawyer.
If you are struggling with unpaid losses and damage from an uninsured driver, the experienced car accident attorneys at the Eltringham Law Group can help protect your rights. Our attorneys have vast experience, and a proven track record helping clients with similar cases win a substantial settlement to cover their losses. Let us evaluate your case and help you recover the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today for a free initial non-obligatory consultation.