In any automobile accident injury claim in Florida, the injured person will first look to the at-fault driver’s insurance policy to cover the victim’s injuries. However, not everyone is legally insured. Moreover, the at-fault driver may have no bodily injury coverage or minimal coverage that will not sufficiently pay for medical bills and pain and suffering. Additionally, the at-fault driver might flee the scene and is never found.
For example, if the at-fault driver only has a $10,000 bodily injury policy and the injured person has $25,000 in medical bills, there simply isn’t enough insurance from the at-fault driver to pay for the damages to the injured driver. Though it is possible to sue the at-fault driver for anything above the bodily injury insurance limits, in my experience people with low policy limits generally don’t have sufficient personal funds or assets to pursue.
If a Florida driver sustains injury from an uninsured or underinsured driver, the best option is often to make a claim with the injured person’s own automobile insurance policy under what is called uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This is a type of coverage that is optional in Florida, and can be essential in cases where the at-fault driver either has no bodily injury coverage or does not have sufficient coverage to make the injured person whole.
One study in 2015 says that 13%, or about one in eight drivers are uninsured. The same study says that Florida has the highest rate in the country of uninsured motorists – 26%, or one in four drivers. Due to this alarming statistic, it is extremely important to carry uninsured motorist coverage in Florida. Uninsured motorist coverage can also apply when the at-fault driver flees the scene, or if the at-fault driver has only minimal bodily injury coverage.
Uninsured motorist cases are first-party contract cases, and so they are almost a hybrid of negligence and contract cases. As such, they can become complicated. If you or a loved one has suffered injury due to an uninsured motorist, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney to assess your particular situation.