Getting into a car accident is bad enough. But what happens if you happen to be struck by an uninsured motorist? The Florida insurance council states that Florida has one of the highest per capita numbers of people driving who are uninsured anywhere in the country. This means your chances of being struck by an uninsured motorist in Florida are much higher than in other states. You may think that you simply have no recourse to ever getting your one for the repair in a situation such as this but that simply is not the case. In this article we will discuss what can be done to get uninsured driver accident compensation in Florida.
Florida Law States That Drivers Have to Have Car Insurance
Legally speaking, there is no getting around the fact that drivers have to have car insurance in order to drive in the state of Florida. This means that anyone who strikes you while uninsured is legally obligated to pay for your injuries as well as your time off of work. They are also legally responsible for paying penalties of driving while uninsured, and may have their licensed suspended or revoked for doing so. The minimum amount of coverage that a driver is allowed to have in the state of Florida is $10,000 per person for bodily injury, $20,000 per accident, and $10,000 to cover property damage.
Collecting Through Insurance Companies
Florida is a no-fault state which is another way of saying that you will have to collect your damages through the insurance companies. 80% of your expenses for personal injury such as medical bills are usually covered by most insurance companies. If you have any other expense related to your injury, perhaps physical therapy, then 80% of these bills will be covered by your insurance company as well. When it is the other driver who is at fault, then the remaining 20% is supposed to be covered by their insurance. In the event that the other driver is uninsured you may file a claim with your own insurance company for the remaining 20%. This may not be the best way to recover your funds but if the insurance company approves your claim then you have saved yourself the hassle and expense of having to sue the other driver. Many car insurance policies have uninsured motorist as part of their plan coverage, so it could be as simple as filing a claim and mentioning to the adjuster that you were struck by an uninsured motorist and you want to claim that specific portion on your policy.
However, if the insurance company denies your claim then you are left with no other recourse but to sue the uninsured motorist for damages. Please do not feel badly about this if you are in this situation. The uninsured motorist is the one that caused the accident and therefore they are responsible for you personal care. It is their legal and moral obligation to pay you compensation for the damages that they caused.
Suing an Uninsured Motorist
Suing an uninsured motorist may not lead to great riches for a number of reasons, but it is the last recourse you have to getting the compensation you deserve. Most people who drive uninsured do not have a lot of money since that is why they are driving uninsured in the first place. They may have fallen on hard times and not been able to keep up with their monthly payments. If you do sue an uninsured motorist and win the case then a judge may set up a monthly payment plan from the defendant. Defendants in an uninsured driver lawsuit in Florida are considered debtors in the state of Florida and so there are a number of things that can be done to them in order to get the money you deserve. A lien could be put on non-residential real estate that they own, or a levy could be put on their bank account. They could also have their wages garnished.
These options are available to you from a judge if you win your case and the uninsured motorist has been forced to pay you a settlement. Be advised though, that in many cases the defendant will not have great assets and judges are reluctant to award high settlement amounts in the case of uninsured drivers simply because they know the person who struck you has not much money or ability to repay you. The settlement weekly payment amounts can even be as low as $20 a week.
However, if the judge discovers that the defendant has assets such as savings, or investments then that is another story. Hopefully when pursuing uninsured driver accident compensation you come across someone who has assets with which to pay you. It may even be possible to settle out of court if they know they are going to be sued and this is a win win for both of you since it keeps legal fees out of the picture while still getting you the compensation you deserve. If you find out that the defendant has these assets try approaching them personally and let them know about your situation. Tell them about your medical bills and the time off work and see if you can’t work out a solution between the two of you and agree on an amount to be paid. If the uninsured motorist refuses to work with you, then you may sue them. This should be a last resort, but still a powerful one and remember that a threat of a lawsuit to someone who has assets may be enough to get them to pay out right then and there.
Driving on the road presents many hazards and uninsured drivers are simply a reality we must face. If you are hit by a driver without insurance try to settle the claim with the insurance company first, then with the individual, and finally in court if you have to.