What if I am in a Car Accident Without Insurance in Florida? - Personal Injury Lawyer | Tampa Car Accident Attorney

What if I am in a Car Accident Without Insurance in Florida? – Personal Injury Lawyer | Tampa Car Accident Attorney

By: Tampa Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez, Esq

Car insurance is “required” in the state of Florida and there is a misconception that “full coverage” is all you need.  Wrong.  “Full coverage” is the bare minimum required to get a driver’s license and purchase a car.  It protects the other person’s car if you were at fault and the first $10,000 for your medical bills regardless of who is at fault under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits.

But what about if you were not at fault and you have more than $10,000 in medical bills?  Who pays then?  How can you protect yourself and your family?

In 2011, the Insurance Research Council found that almost 14% of drivers in the United States do not have insurance coverage, which means that the likelihood of being in a car accident without insurance held by both parties is much higher.   This number is higher in Florida, especially in Tampa and Miami.

If you do have car insurance, there are six basic aspects that are covered in the policy. It is important to first understand these before you can understand what happens if you are uninsured.

Car Accident Lawyer in Tampa, Florida.

What does car insurance cover?

Bodily injury liability coverage pays for the injuries that are caused to the driver and the passengers during the accident that is not at fault.

Property damage liability: This covers the repairs to the other vehicles involved, as well as buildings, fences, etc., to the person not at fault.

Collision insurance covers the damage that is caused to your vehicle and property regardless of who is at fault.

Personal injury protection (also known as Florida “No-Fault”) is the cover that pays out for the injuries and lost wages that you, your resident relatives and the passengers in your car sustained.

Comprehensive cover is there for when the damage to your vehicle is caused by incidents other than accidents. These incidents include vandalism and natural disasters.

The last coverage, but perhaps the most important coverage, is the coverage for the uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This covers costs and damages that are caused by a person who does not have insurance (i.e., hit-and-run driver, an unlisted driver, a driver without insurance or a driver) who does not possess enough insurance coverage.

Underinsured, or more commonly known in Florida as Uninsured, Motorist coverage is the typically the cheapest coverage to buy “dollar for dollar.”  Yet, it is perhaps the most important because it follows you wherever you go, wherever your family goes and protects any occupants in your car when you are not at fault.  Florida Statute § 627.727 clearly makes this coverage so important that you need to affirmatively sign off on rejecting this coverage.

We highly recommend you protect yourself and your family by buying “Uninsured Motorist” coverage equivalent to you household income.  It’s important!

How important?  Florida Statute § 627.727 (2018) clearly states that in order to reject this coverage, an insured must sign a form that meets the following criteria:

The rejection or selection of lower limits shall be made on a form approved by the office. The form shall fully advise the applicant of the nature of the coverage and shall state that the coverage is equal to bodily injury liability limits unless lower limits are requested or the coverage is rejected. The heading of the form shall be in 12-point bold type and shall state: “You are electing not to purchase certain valuable coverage which protects you and your family or you are purchasing uninsured motorist limits less than your bodily injury liability limits when you sign this form. Please read carefully.” If this form is signed by a named insured, it will be conclusively presumed that there was an informed, knowing rejection of coverage or election of lower limits on behalf of all insureds. The insurer shall notify the named insured at least annually of her or his options as to the coverage required by this section. Such notice shall be part of, and attached to, the notice of premium, shall provide for a means to allow the insured to request such coverage, and shall be given in a manner approved by the office.

Quite often our firm needs to discharge an injured party because the at-fault party does not have bodily injury coverage or even insurance at all.  Moreover, our client’s did not adequately protect themselves by purchasing “Uninsured Motorist” coverage.

Florida is a No-fault state.

Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state. Meaning that if a motor accident happens, each driver’s insurance must pay for the damages regardless of who is at fault, which can be tricky as well as frustrating.

Auto insurance policies cover the basics such as damage and medical bills. If the accident has caused permanent physical damage, injury or disability, then they can pursue a civil lawsuit against you. It is best to seek legal advice immediately.

If you are uninsured and you are in an accident with another vehicle whose driver is also uninsured, then you have a bit of problem.  You cannot get blood from a turnip and you will not be able to force the other person to pay when the other person does not have any money to begin with.  You will then be liable to pay for the damages to your car. Medical expenses, wages lost, and other property damage will also be out of your pocket. Even if you have another form of insurance, it will not be covered because you did not have motor vehicle insurance.

When you have sustained serious injuries or are left permanently disabled, you can file a civil lawsuit against the other driver. The driver who is at fault. With this lawsuit, you will be able to recover, among other expenses, pain and suffering and medical expenses. To determine whether you have a case concerning a car accident without insurance, contact an experienced auto accident lawyer.

To Insure or Not to Insure?

Lastly, if you do not have insurance, you are on your own. The same can be said if you are in a car accident without insurance. The medical bills alone will bankrupt you if you are seriously injured. Lawsuits take a long time to come to a conclusion and reach a verdict. You cannot bargain on getting any form of compensation from a civil suit. Your life can be ruined by not having insurance on your vehicle in an accident. There are multiple policies that offer affordable car insurance on the market. If you do the research, you will be able to find insurance that falls into your budget. The bottom line is that you do not want to be the unfortunate person that is in a car accident without insurance.

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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