Orlando Uninsured Motorist Coverage Lawyer
Auto collisions are frequent and expensive. Not only are the medical procedures costly, but the injuries sustained in a traumatic car accident are often long lasting and cause chronic pain, disfigurement, and disabilities for years to come. Lost wages from time taken off work and even the loss of a job due to a permanent or semi-permanent disability both take a heavy blow to even the well-insured victim’s pocket. But if you did not cause the accident, you won’t be held financially liable and therefore the costs will fall onto the shoulders of the negligent party, correct? In an ideal world that would be true, but millions of Americans irresponsibly and selfishly drive without motorist insurance. The cost, in that case, will unfortunately fall to the victim, not the negligent party.
The average auto accident claim was $3,221 in auto property damage and $15,443 in bodily injury, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. However, Florida law only requires a bare minimum of $10,000 personal injury protection insurance and $10,000 in property damage coverage. The former only covers the personal injury of the other party, while $10,000 in property damage coverage does nothing for your medical costs. Moreover, not only are the minimums for a driver to legally be driving down the highway too low in our state, but there are many that have no insurance at all. According to the Insurance Research Council, 12.6 percent of drivers did not have insurance in 2012. While you yourself may have health insurance, uninsured motorist coverage (UM coverage) pays the medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages for all of the passengers in your car, whether they are protected by their own insurance policies or not, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Call an experienced Orlando uninsured motorist coverage lawyer today to discuss the policy appropriate for you.
When Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Apply and Is it Required?
The state of Florida only mandates that resident drivers carry two types of insurance, as explained above: personal injury protection coverage (PIP) and property damage liability coverage (PDL). Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is not required in the state, although the purchase of this type of insurance is strongly recommended, especially as so many drivers in our state do not have insurance.
In understanding how uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage works, it’s first important to understand Florida’s no-fault car insurance rules. In the event that you are in an accident in Florida, regardless of fault, you must turn to your own insurance company first and file a claim under your PIP coverage. In fact, you are not even allowed to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company, even if the driver was clearly at fault, unless you suffer injured that meet Florida’s serious injury threshold. And then, even if you do, the driver may not have liability insurance, which means that they may be unable to pay for your damages.
In the event that your injuries are serious, you can file a claim against the other driver. But suppose that driver doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enoughinsurance to pay for your medical bills, your economic losses, or your noneconomic damages like pain and suffering? This is very possible, as in Florida, drivers are not required to purchase bodily injury liability insurance – the type of insurance that pays for damages to others in a crash. This is where your policy’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage would kick in. If you are entitled to damages from the other driver and they are uninsured or underinsured, you can recoup these damages through your own insurance up to your policy limits. If you do not carry this coverage type, you may not be able to recover compensation at all–even if the other driver was clearly at fault–based on a lack of the at-fault driver’s insurance/economic assets necessary to pay for your damages.
Discussing The Complex Policy Limits Of Uninsured Motorist Coverage With Your Lawyer
The higher the UM coverage limit, the more you can fully protect yourself and those in your car from the damages caused by uninsured or underinsured motorists. For one thing, the number of people in your vehicle at the time of the crash, and the severity of the injuries, will determine how much financial coverage each person is given. UM coverage comes as an option between a split limit and a combined single limit. A split limit of $15,000/$30,000, for an example, would mean that a single person would be covered by a maximum of $15,000 and the total coverage for everyone else in the vehicle would be $30,000. A combined single limit would cover a maximum of $30,000 total per accident.
Negotiating Your Insurance Claim with Help from an Orlando Lawyer
You may assume that because you have paid your premiums on time and have never before been in an accident, your insurance company will be helpful throughout the claim process, and will surely offer you the compensation award you deserve whether you are filing for personal injury protection benefits or filing a claim under your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. However, this is not always the case; insurance adjusters are interested in saving the insurance company money, and may be quick to lowball your settlement offer in hopes that you will accept whatever you can get.
Do not make the mistake of accepting a first settlement offer, or an offer that doesn’t fully compensate you. Once you sign a release of claim, you forfeit your right to seek further damages. If you are offered less than you deserve, know that you have the right to reject the settlement and negotiate your claim. Our lawyers are ready to advocate for you and represent you in negotiations, and, if necessary, litigation.
Contact Our Experienced Orlando Uninsured Motorist Lawyers
Deciding the limit that will best suit your needs is an important decision, and one that may require legal guidance. Contact one of our experienced Orlando uninsured or underinsured motorist lawyers today at The Pendas Law Firm at 1-888-573-6327 to discuss your options.