What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Many states require drivers to purchase liability car insurance to protect others in case of car accidents. Liability insurance pays accident victims for their injuries and damages when an insured driver causes a car accident.
However, not all drivers follow the law. Many drivers do not have the required auto insurance to drive. Also, many states don’t require liability auto insurance.
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What Are the Automobile Insurance Requirements in Florida?
Florida is a no-fault state for car accidents. Each driver is required to purchase no-fault insurance coverage (Personal Injury Protection, or PIP) in the amount of $10,000. State law does not require drivers to have a liability policy for auto insurance, but drivers may choose to purchase basic bodily injury liability coverage.
If you are injured in an accident in Florida, you must file a claim with your PIP insurance company. PIP coverage pays up to 80 percent of your reasonable and necessary medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages in most cases. However, you must meet the criteria and seek medical attention within 14 days from the accident date to receive benefits.
You can only sue the at-fault driver for damages if you sustain serious injuries as defined by Florida statutes. You can obtain a judgment against the at-fault driver, but collecting compensation could be difficult. The driver may not have assets or income to pay your damages. Therefore, you have a judgment, but it is not worth anything.
However, you might be able to recover compensation for an accident involving an uninsured driver if you have uninsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy.
File an Uninsured Motorist Claim
Uninsured motorist coverage is an optional coverage you can purchase in Florida. If you are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, your insurance company takes the place of a liability insurance provider for the at-fault driver.
In other words, your insurance company compensates you for damages you would receive if the other driver had liability insurance coverage.
Filing a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage could result in compensation for damages, including:
- Medical bills and expenses related to treatment, nursing care, and therapies
- Loss of income, wages, diminished earning capacity, and benefits
- Impairments, scarring, disabilities, and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Mental anguish and emotional suffering
You have the burden of proving that the other driver caused the car accident. You must also prove that the accident caused your injuries and you sustained damages due to the accident.
In other words, you must prove the same elements for an uninsured motorist claim as you would if filing a claim against the at-fault driver. A Gainesville uninsured motorist accident lawyer can help you gather evidence proving that the other driver caused the accident. An attorney can also help you prove the value of your damages to receive a fair settlement for your uninsured motorist claim.
It is important to note that while you might be dealing with your insurance provider, it does not guarantee that the insurance adjuster will treat you fairly. The adjuster is only concerned with limiting the company’s liability for your claim. Therefore, the fact that you are a customer does not impact the adjuster’s goal of paying as little as possible to settle your claim.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident With an Uninsured Driver in Gainesville?
Regardless of how the accident occurred, you need to treat the car crash as any other automobile accident. Try to remain calm and do not admit fault. If possible, you need to begin building a case against the uninsured driver by gathering evidence from the accident scene.
Steps to take after a car accident with an uninsured driver include:
Report the Accident to the Police
Call the police to report the accident. It is vital to have an official police report if you need to file an uninsured motorist claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Wait for the police to arrive and tell them what happened. Be honest, but do not admit fault. Instead, simply state the facts as you recall.
Document the Accident Scene
If it is safe to do so and your injuries permit, take photographs of the accident scene. Make sure you capture the position of the vehicles, the vehicle license plates, damages to each vehicle, and the surrounding area. It can also help to take videos of the accident scene to capture anything you might have missed while taking photos.
Ask eyewitnesses and bystanders for their names and contact information. Eyewitness testimony can be a crucial piece of evidence used to prove fault in a car accident case.
Seek Medical Attention
Do not refuse medical treatment at the accident scene or say that you are “okay” or “fine” after the crash. Instead, tell the paramedics that you intend to see your doctor if you do not feel the need to go to the emergency room.
As soon as possible, see a doctor for care. You need to document your injuries for an uninsured motorist claim or lawsuit. You must prove that the car accident caused your injuries to recover compensation from the other driver or insurance provider.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
File a report with your insurance company as soon as possible. Let the insurance company know that the other driver did not have liability insurance coverage.
Generally, you do not want to provide written or recorded statements before consulting an attorney.
If you answer questions when you file an insurance claim, keep these things in mind:
- Do not admit that you could have contributed to the cause of the accident – comparative fault may apply in an uninsured motorist claim
- Avoid discussing personal information or details of the day of the accident, your personal life, or family
- Be truthful and concise in your responses
- Do not volunteer information – only answer the questions asked
- Do not estimate or guess – if you do not know the answer, say that you don’t know
Contact a lawyer for advice if an insurance adjuster pressures you to provide a written or recorded statement. An insurance company should not pressure or bully you into accepting a settlement offer, signing documents, or providing statements. You have the right to seek legal counsel regarding the accident and your uninsured motorist claim.
Contact a Gainesville Personal Injury Lawyer if You’ve Been in an Accident With an Uninsured Motorist
Insurance claims in Florida are complicated. The no-fault insurance laws can be challenging to navigate. Contact an experienced Gainesville car accident lawyer to discuss your case. An attorney will help you negotiate with insurance companies and file a personal injury lawsuit if necessary.