Uninsured Motorist Coverage
– by Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) is optional in the State of Florida. You can purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage on your own auto insurance policy. Uninsured Motorist covers you and the relatives who live with you, and people who occupy your car. Uninsured Motorist pays you for injuries caused by an auto accident where the at-fault driver is uninsured or under-insured.
Why Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Important in Florida?
Approximately 30% of Florida drivers have no auto insurance, and a driver is considered “insured” with limits as low as $10,000 per person/$20,000 per accident for bodily injury. Often, that will not cover a trip to the Emergency Room. Approximately 50% of Florida auto insurance policies have limits of $25,000 per person or lower. If you are hurt or injured in a car accident by an uninsured or under-insured drivers, you may have to pay for your injuries out of pocket. This is why it is important to have Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Florida.
What Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Pay For?
Uninsured Motorist Coverage pays for things like medical bills, loss of the future enjoyment of life, lost wages and disability, long term nursing care, medical devices like wheelchairs, pain and suffering, death, replacement services for things you are no longer able to do such as yard work and cleaning. Also, Uninsured Motorist Coverage may pay for the cost to retro-fit your house to accommodate disabilities caused by the auto accident.
Who Should I Contact If I am In A Motor Vehicle Crash?
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle crash contact a attorney as soon as possible. Determining liability in a motor vehicle crash is usually complex. Damages are often complicated. Treatment of sustained injuries may be costly, painful and may take months, or even years. Insurance coverage, especially Uninsured Motorist Coverage, is very important. An experienced motor vehicle crash attorney can aggressively investigate and seek the financial compensation you are entitled to for pain and suffering and for medical treatment and care. An experienced motor vehicle crash lawyer will thoroughly analyze your case and explain the insurance provisions and the options you have for pursuing fair compensation.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle crash due to the negligence of another, you are entitled to compensation. An experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer will determine the insurance coverage available and assist you in settling the matter or in filing a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation.
Why Fernandez & Hernandez?
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Fernandez & Hernandez can investigate and determine liability. The attorneys at Fernandez & Hernandez will determine what compensatory damages and expenses are fair for your medical treatment, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. If the party responsible for your injuries is found to be especially negligent and careless, punitive damages may be awarded.
Attorney Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez provides legal representation for victims and families in motor vehicle accidents and wrongful death cases. Our Tampa personal injury attorneys welcome the opportunity to interview with you and your loved ones. We invite you to review our recent results for settlements and trial verdicts. Our qualifications and background are available to you as well. We recommend also reading our reviews on Google Reviews, Avvo and Yelp. Our Tampa Attorneys Martin Hernandez and Daniel Fernandez are bilingual as well.
No matter how serious or minimal your injuries, we will fight hard for compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Attorney Martin J. Hernandez can help guide you through the process. At Fernandez & Hernandez we know how to help you and your family following any kind of accident, and we have the resources to do it. When you call Fernandez & Hernandez we will answer all of your questions quickly.
Our personal injury lawyers can help in all phases of injury and wrongful death cases. We handle personal injury claims from initial investigation through trial and appellate proceedings. At Fernandez & Hernandez, we will go to trial, if necessary, and fight on your behalf, and we have the results to prove it.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in the Tampa Bay area call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813-229-5353.
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Understanding Uninsured Motorist Coverage
What happens if the at fault driver does not have insurance?
Quite often, the worse drivers don’t carry liability insurance because they either only have “no-fault” or no insurance at all. Why? Because if you own nothing, you insure nothing because you have nothing to lose. Read below how your Tampa Injury Attorney Martin Hernandez can help you, your family and those who ride with you be protected and compensated when the at fault driver does not have insurance or have enough insurance.
But how do you protect yourself if the at fault party does not have insurance?
Simple. Uninsured motorist coverage. In Florida, Uninsured Motorist Coverage is an optional coverage you can purchase on your own auto insurance policy which will compensate you for your injuries if the at fault party does not have insurance or enough insurance. Uninsured Motorist coverage is for you and your relatives who live with you (i.e., resident relatives) and people who occupy your car. UM pays you for injuries caused by an auto accident where the at-fault driver is uninsured (has no insurance), under-insured driver (not enough insurance) or if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident. UM coverage can only be used where you or your family members or driver of your car did not cause the auto accident.
One thing to know UM does not pay for your car. We recommend purchasing collision coverage on your car to cover damages to your car caused by an uninsured motorist.
UM coverage pays for things like:
- Medical bills
- Loss of the future enjoyment of life
- Lost wages and disability
- Long term nursing care
- Wheelchairs and medical devices
- Pain & suffering
- Replacement services for things you are no longer able to do: yard service, cleaning, etc.
- cost to retro-fit your house to accommodate disabilities caused by the auto accident
In Florida, if you elect to carry bodily injury liability insurance, the law requires that the insurance company also provides Uninsured Motorist coverage, unless you expressly reject it by signing a form!
Generally, UM coverage is intended to provide the insured with the right to recover from his or her own insurance carrier damages that he or she would otherwise be legally entitled to recover from an uninsured or underinsured tortfeasor. Therefore, UM claims have several distinct legal elements: the “insured” must be “legally entitled to recover” damages due the tortfeasor’s “ownership, maintenance, or use” of an “uninsured motor vehicle” or “underinsured motor vehicle.”
How is UM Coverage offered?
UM Coverage is offered similar to Bodily-Injury Coverage, in a limit per person and per accident. For instance a $10,000/$20,000 UM policy means that the UM carrier will compensate injured persons up to $10,000 per person or $20,000 per accident for all injured parties involved. UM coverage is normally available as such:
Who Is Covered by UM/UIM Policies
The people covered by an uninsured motorist coverage are the insured and members of their family (spouse, children or any relatives living in the same house) covered by the policy itself. The coverage also extends to people who were in the vehicle when the accident occurred. In an instance where the insured dies in the accident, the spouse would be entitled to coverage under the policy.
The 2 types of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
Like liability insurance, uninsured and underinsured motorist breaks down into 2 coverage types: bodily injury and property damage.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI)
Can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and injury-related expenses for you, any permissive drivers, and your passengers, it can also provide coverage for injuries sustained in hit-and-run accidents.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD)
If your car is damaged in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, this coverage steps in to help. Unlike UMBI, this coverage doesn’t protect against damage caused by hit-and-run collisions.
What happens if the at-fault driver does not have BI and you do not have UM?
If you do not have UM, and the other driver has no bodily injury insurance, no matter how badly you are injured, you will not be able to recover anything from the insurance carrier other than the initial PIP coverage for medical expenses and lost wages — i.e., no pain and suffering, emotional damages, loss of quality of life and other non-economic damages.
Generally in this case, you have the right to bring a judgment against the at-fault driver for damages you have suffered due to their negligence. This means going after the responsible party’s personal assets.
If you were in a collision with a driver who did not have proper insurance coverage or is underinsured, you may be worried about how your medical costs and other losses will be covered. Even if you have uninsured / underinsured coverage, you may encounter resistance. Your insurance company may try to unfairly deny or limit the amount you are compensated.
If you’re in an auto accident caused by an uninsured motorist and you don’t have UM coverage, your health insurance will generally pay for your medical bills related to that car accident, with you paying for any deductible and co-payment amounts. That can easily add up to a hefty amount if you require a hospital stay. If you have UM/UIM coverage, that pays for health care expenses before your health insurance kicks in.
Your health insurance won’t pay for lost wages if you miss work or for pain and suffering resulting from the crash. Lost wages and pain and suffering are paid for by the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. If the other driver doesn’t have liability insurance, or doesn’t have enough of it, you’re out of luck — unless you want to pursue the matter in court.
As with any other car accident, before you can make a claim on UM/UIM coverage, car insurance companies will want to investigate the claim. They will confirm that the other motorist is uninsured or underinsured and that he or she is at fault.
You live in a no-fault state, it may still be a good idea to buy UM/UIM coverage. In a no-fault state, you have to file a claim with your own insurer— no matter who is to blame for the accident — and your right to sue the other party is restricted. However, drivers are allowed to sue for severe injuries and pain and suffering if the case meets certain conditions. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, and you win a lawsuit against him, there may be nothing to collect.
The state of Florida has one of the highest numbers of uninsured drivers in the country. One should protect themselves in case of an accident. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have the right protection. The state has set up a minimum protection net for its drivers by requiring all its drivers to carry a $10,000 policy of Personal Injury Protection (PIP). There is a second lay to the umbrella of coverage. That is Bodily Injury Insurance. It pays for the expenses others incur if you cause an accident while driving. Remember that you are not just protection you and your family.
Uninsured Motorist coverage according to Tampa Injury Attorney Martin J. Hernandez
Attorney Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez, LLC in Tampa provides legal representation for families in auto accident injury and wrongful death cases. Our Tampa personal injury attorneys welcome the opportunity to interview with you and your loved ones. We invite you to review our recent results from settlements to trial verdicts. Our qualifications and background are available to you as well. Our Tampa Attorneys Martin Hernandez and Daniel Fernandez are bilingual as well. Just call us at 813-229-5353 for your free consultation.
The Tampa personal injury lawyers of Fernandez & Hernandez, serve Florida communities including Tampa, Brandon, Carrollwood, Westchase, Riverview, Temple Terrace, Pasco, Pinellas, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Lakeland, Plant City, Ruskin, Apollo Beach, Dover, Valrico, Lutz, Lakeland and many other neighborhoods in Tampa Bay area. Contact an Experienced Tampa Auto Accident Attorney from Fernandez & Hernandez Law.
If you have been involved in an Auto Accident in the Tampa Bay area, call Tampa personal injury lawyer Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez for a free consultation now. We recommend also reading his reviews on Google Reviews, Avvo and Yelp.
Call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813-229-5353 or read more at: www.InjuryLawyersOfTampa.com
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