Q. The person who hit my vehicle has no insurance. Can they still be made to pay?
A. There is really no way to know for sure just what your options will be. However, in most instances, those responsible for an accident could still be liable for damages even if they lack insurance coverage. You could seek financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit directly from the person responsible. You also have an additional option in your own insurance company. Since Florida drivers carry PIP coverage, it’s possible that you can seek out restitution for your injuries through your policy.
Q. What does fault mean in an uninsured motorist accident?
A. Fault is defined in Florida as whichever motorist acted in a negligent or reckless manner. If those actions are what led to the accident, you may have the grounds to seek compensation for your injuries. Usually, the case will focus on getting money from the other motorist’s insurance company. But in some instances, the individual may be liable as well. However, the first step will be determining fault. Negligent and reckless behavior could include:
• Drunk driving
• Failure to yield right of way
• Texting while driving
• Driving erratically
• Failure to maintain a vehicle for safety
In short, if you can show that the other motorist was driving in a way that any reasonable driver would consider to be reckless or negligent, you may have the opportunity to seek compensation. This can come from them as well as from your own insurance provider. Your lawyer will be able to review your case and make a determination as to just what options you have and how best to go about getting the compensation that you are owed.
Q. Will my insurance cover my injuries?
A. One key thing to remember is that while the other party may not have insurance, you likely do. Florida is a state that requires all motorists to carry PIP coverage, which is a type of insurance designed to pay damages to you no matter who is to blame for the accident. In most cases, your PIP policy should handle the majority of your costs.
Q. How much will PIP cover?
A. PIP does have its limitations. Specifically, it only provides you up to 60% of your total lost wages and 80 percent of your medical bills. And that 80 percent is only up to $10,000, after which you will be responsible for paying out of pocket. As such, PIP should be your first line of seeking compensation after an accident, but not necessarily your last. You may be able to file a claim to get money from those responsible.
Q. If PIP covers my costs, why do I need a lawyer?
A. The simple answer is that while it’s usually designed to cover your costs, PIP doesn’t always offer to pay what you’re owed. Insurance companies could try to fight against paying you anything and having a lawyer on your side ensures that you are able to stand up to them and get what you are owed. Additionally, seeking compensation beyond your PIP policy is something that will likely require the help of an attorney and a personal injury claim. In short, you need a lawyer to make sure you get what you are owed.
Q. I’ve been offered a settlement. Shouldn’t I go ahead and take it?
A. No, at least not until your attorney has had time to review it properly. Insurance companies often try to offer lowball settlement amounts in an attempt to avoid paying you out anything more than they have to. Your lawyer will consult with experts to make sure they know what you are really owed, then fight to get it for you. Don’t make the mistake of accepting a settlement that is less than you deserve. Let your lawyer review your case and your settlement offers first.