What Happens if You are Hit by an Uninsured Driver?
You have just been in a car accident with another vehicle. Your car is damaged and you already begin to feel aches and pains. But, you know the accident wasn’t your fault and breathe a sigh of relief in knowing the other driver’s insurance will cover your medical expenses.
But, what if the other driver is uninsured?
Florida insurance laws
Before you register a car in Florida you must show proof of personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability insurance (PDL). PIP covers up to $10,000 worth of medical expenses resulting from injury, regardless of what caused the crash.
Florida has harsh penalties for drivers without insurance, risking up to a three-year suspension of your license, registration and vehicle tags. There is also a $150 reinstatement fee to get your license and registration back. However, many drivers still remain uninsured. In fact, one in four drivers in Florida is uninsured, making it the state with the highest percentage of uninsured drivers, according to research by Insurify Insights.
With so many uninsured Florida drivers, it’s important to determine if you have Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage, as it is the best means to receive compensation for injuries sustained from an accident with an uninsured driver.
One of our attorneys at Jimenez Law Firm P.A., Kelsey McCusker, discusses
the benefits of electing to have UM on your auto insurance policy.
In Florida, UM is an optional coverage you can buy as part of your auto insurance plan. It covers your medical expenses for injuries resulting from a car crash with an uninsured or under-insured driver.
Typically, in an accident where both drivers are insured, the insurance policy of the at-fault driver covers the medical bills of the injured party. But, when the at-fault driver has no insurance, you may have to pay for your medical expenses out of pocket.
This is why having UM insurance is beneficial because you may be compensated for your medical expenses regardless if the at-fault driver has insurance. If you don’t have UM insurance and are unable to cover your medical expenses, your last option to potentially receive compensation is to pursue a claim against the driver directly.
Suing an uninsured driver
If your medical expenses are significant, it may be reasonable to consider suing the at-fault driver. However, many uninsured drivers in Florida are uninsured because they simply cannot afford coverage. This means it is unlikely for you to receive much if any compensation from them.