Everything you need to know about suing an uninsured or underinsured motorist in Florida after an accident
You never expect a car accident. However, they happen frequently enough that you should be prepared for what to do if it happens to you.
Even more unfortunate is an accident in which the other driver carries no insurance or is underinsured. The state of Florida mandates stiff penalties for driving without adequate insurance. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop many people from allowing their insurance coverage to lapse.
According to the Florida Insurance Council, the Sunshine State has some of the highest rates of uninsured motorists in the United States.
It’s a frequent occurrence that Florida drivers who fail to carry the required auto insurance also cause accidents. Who pays for the damage to your car, your passengers and yourself if the other driver has no liability insurance?
Continue reading for answers.
Florida law requires car insurance
You must have auto insurance to legally drive in the state of Florida. Drivers who don’t carry the required coverage may be subject to paying for damage to your vehicle and medical bills due to injuries, as well as face criminal consequences for failing to carry insurance while driving. The state may revoke or suspend their driver’s license.
In Florida, you must have an insurance policy that covers the minimum liability, which includes:
- $10,000 per person for bodily injury
- $10,000 for property damage
- $20,000 liability per crash
Collecting damages from uninsured drivers
Florida is a no-fault state. This means your auto insurance company should pay the majority of your auto accident claim, up to a $10,000 limit. If the other driver is at fault, that driver’s insurance company will cover the remaining 20 percent.
However, if the other driver is uninsured, your only option for compensation is to file a lawsuit.
Also, when you sustain very serious or permanent bodily injury that exceeds the $10,000 limit provided by PIP insurance, you can seek restitution outside of the no-fault insurance system. You can file a personal injury lawsuit to ensure that the at-fault driver pays to cover your financial losses.
Suing an uninsured or underinsured motorist in Florida
In some circumstances, filing a lawsuit to recover damages from an auto accident is a viable option. If you suffer serious injuries and require extensive medical care, it may be worth the effort to sue in civil court.
However, you should consider if the uninsured motorist that caused the accident is solvent enough to pay damages. If that person is facing financial hardship, you may need to negotiate a payment schedule that doesn’t put that person into further financial hardship.
If the defendant fails to make payments according to the negotiated settlement, you can pursue several options to collect on the claim. These include:
- Putting a lien on a non-homestead property
- Garnishing their wages
- Garnishing their bank account
- Seizing personal property with a levy
You may also try to have the state suspend the uninsured motorist’s license until the negotiated settlement is completely paid.
Get help from an experienced Florida uninsured car accident attorney
You don’t have to accept when an uninsured motorist causes an accident that results in physical harm, expensive medical bills and loss of work for you. Florida law entitles you to compensation for your losses.
If you have unpaid losses and damages due to an uninsured driver, contact Tragos, Sartes & Tragos for assistance in protecting your rights. We offer you a free initial consultation with no obligation to you. Let us evaluate your case and help you recover the money that you deserve.
Contact the Tragos, Sartes and Tragos today for a free case consultation.