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Options when you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist

The thought of an accident is not typically the first thing that Florida drivers have on their minds when they get behind the wheels of their vehicles every day. Smart motorists know the risk exists, drive safely and arm themselves with sufficient auto insurance coverage.
 
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    February 01, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The thought of an accident is not typically the first thing that Florida drivers have on their minds when they get behind the wheels of their vehicles every day. Smart motorists know the risk exists, drive safely and arm themselves with sufficient auto insurance coverage.

Though an accident may not be in the forefront of Florida drivers' minds when they get behind the wheel we all know the risk exists. Responsible drivers drive safely and carry appropriate auto insurance to help protect themselves.

Sadly, not all drivers are as responsible. Too many people fail to carry even the legally required level of insurance coverage. Others carry only minimal coverage that fails to provide adequate compensation to people injured as a consequence of their carelessness in motor vehicle accidents.

What are Florida's laws concerning auto insurance?

Florida's laws governing automotive insurance are relatively simple and clear. The primary laws can be summed up as follows:
- Florida's laws governing automobile insurance are a bit complicated, but the primary laws can be summarized as follows:
- Every licensed driver is required to carry at least $10,000 worth of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This insurance covers medical expenses and associated costs for those insured under the policy regardless of who caused the accident.
- Every licensed driver is required to carry at least $10,000 worth of property damage liability coverage. This insurance covers property damage to another party's vehicle if the insured party is found to be at fault.
- There is no requirement to have coverage for injury to another person. This type of coverage when available is known as Bodily Injury or BI coverage.
- A driver may have his or her license suspended if found to be driving without insurance.

A driver's own PIP coverage is expected to be utilized before turning to another driver's insurance except in cases with severe injuries. Those include instances where permanent or significant disfigurement or loss of some bodily use or function has occurred. In these situations, victims are allowed to seek restitution from the at-fault party.

A person injured in an accident is required to use their own PIP coverage for payment of medical treatment and lost wages up to the limits of coverage. If their PIP coverage is exhausted the at fault driver may be responsible for additional necessary medical treatment and lost wages. If you are injured in a motor vehicle collision and meet the threshold requirement of suffering either (a) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function (b) Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement (c) Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement or (d) Death - then you may also recover damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of the bodily injury, sickness, or disease.

What happens if a driver is uninsured or underinsured?

First, it is important to understand the difference between these two terms. Uninsured motorists have no insurance coverage at all. Underinsured motorists have coverage that offers less compensation than is required to meet the needs of a certain situation. For example, if you are injured and your total medical bills are $50,000 but the at-fault driver has a policy that only offers $10,000 in payments, he or she is said to be underinsured.

Every driver in Florida must be provided with uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM or UIM) as part of their motor vehicle insurance policy unless they reject the coverage in writing. This insurance is vital in cases where you are involved in an accident with a driver who either has no insurance or who has insufficient insurance coverage. We recommend every policy holder in the state protect themselves from the additional negligence of the at fault driver who fails to carry sufficient insurance coverage to compensate those they hurt and do not reject the UM coverage.

It is always best to talk to an attorney to learn about what to expect and what the best options are in your particular situation.

Article provided by Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A.
Visit us at www.ffplaw.com



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