Although Florida requires all vehicle owners to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, 26.7% of drivers did not have insurance in 2015. This means that you have a relatively high chance of encountering an uninsured driver. If you are ever in an auto accident with an uninsured driver, do not panic.
Important Reminder: Florida Is A No-Fault State
It would help to remember that Florida is a no-fault state, which means that each driver is required to have PIP. Your PIP should cover your car’s damages and your medical bills.
Therefore, if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, your concerns remain the same. Your primary goal should be to document the accident and get all the necessary information, not worry about how the other driver will cover expenses. In other words, you should only worry about filing the accident with your insurance company.
What To Do When You Get Into An Accident With An Uninsured Driver
• Call The Police – This is always the first step when you get into an accident, even when both parties are insured. Ideally, you should call the police before everything else since a police report is necessary in any insurance claims process.
• Gather Details – Write down all of the important details, such as the name and contact details of the other driver, their car’s make and model, their plate number, the time and date of the accident, and the name and badge number of the responding officer. Gather the names and contact details of any witnesses too.
• Take Pictures – Take pictures as you normally would in a car accident. Concrete documentation is important in filing insurance claims.
• Do Not Accept Cash – Some uninsured drivers may offer you cash in an attempt to keep you from filing a claim and avoid fines from being uninsured. Do not accept money. This may be a disadvantage for you as you may be shortchanged in case you end up with major repairs or injuries later on.
• See A Doctor – It is advisable to see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. This will ascertain that your medical bills related to the accident will be covered by your insurance company. This way, you will also know if you sustained serious injuries that may amass hefty bills and require you to file a lawsuit against the other driver.
• File Your Claim Right Away – Most insurance companies have a deadline for filing insurance claims, so make sure you comply. When you file a claim, simply provide all the details of the accident and your policy. However, when they ask for the other driver’s insurance details, simply give them the contact details provided to you.
Filing An Personal Injury Claim Against An Uninsured Driver
Filing a personal injury claim against an uninsured driver is not much different from filing an insurance claim. It will make a world of a difference for the uninsured driver because they will not have an insurance company to cover the claims, but it should not affect your right to get compensation. Here are some ways you can still get compensation from an uninsured, at-fault driver:
With that said, you should take into account the high possibility that the uninsured driver may not have the capacity to pay the compensation. If that is the case for the at-fault party, Florida courts may facilitate an arrangement between the two of you. If the driver has a monthly income, the judge may order the driver to pay a certain amount to you on a monthly basis. With consideration to the uninsured driver’s financial capacity, there is also a chance that the compensation will be slightly lower than what you would get if they were insured.
If the at-fault driver has some class of assets that can be liquidated and used to pay you, this is another viable option. Your personal injury lawyer will need to prove the existence of such assets, and then they may attempt to freeze those said assets or record a lien to make sure that they will be used to pay your compensation.
Getting into an accident with an uninsured driver is not as much of a disaster as some might think it is. In essence, the other driver’s insurance will not affect your ability to claim compensation. Florida personal injury laws have provisions to make sure that you get the compensation you deserve.