25 percent. This is the percentage of all drivers being underinsured in Miami. On the other hand, it is also the same percentage of drivers being uninsured. Florida is among the states that have the highest rates of uninsured and underinsured motorists in the country.
In a place where almost one-half of all drivers are underinsured or insured, there is a high chance that you will one day be involved in an accident where your losses will not be covered by the driver’s insurance. Also, due to the struggling economy of the country, chances are that this percentage will only go higher.
How can someone be underinsured?
Motorists who decide to carry exactly the state-mandated coverage (the minimum amount that is set by the state laws) are basically underinsured. Underinsured means that the amount of that insurance coverage is not enough to even cover the damages for a moderate accident.
Florida law instructs auto insurance companies to offer underinsured and uninsured motorist policies that have a coverage equal to that which is offered in standard collision and liability policies that they offer. Such an insurance policy is great for motorists and we recommend all our clients purchase this level of coverage.
The only problem is that Florida law also allows a person to wave that extra coverage if they want to when buying their auto policy. Many people are under the impression that this extra coverage is for a very unlikely event and wave this extra coverage to reduce their household expenses, leaving them underinsured.
What are my options if I am involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver?
The first thing that you should do if you have been injured in an accident is to reach out to a Miami car accident lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to assess your situation and help you in choosing the right path.
Keep in mind – there is a very narrow window for you to come forward with your claim. This is why you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible; so, options can be explored while facts are fresh and time doesn’t limit some or all options.
Perhaps the best-case scenario that you could face in such a harrowing situation is if the uninsured or underinsured driver who caused the accident was working for ride-sharing companies such as Uber or Lyft. In Florida, ride-sharing networks such as Uber and Lyft have a hefty insurance policy in-effect for uninsured and underinsured drivers. The insurance policies for these ride-sharing networks provide them coverage of up to one million dollars.
So, if an experienced car accident attorney in Miami is representing you, all you need to do is focus on your physical recovery while your attorney will get you the compensation for your injury and the damages caused by the accident.
If the underinsured or uninsured driver is not working for any such networks
If the uninsured or underinsured driver who caused the accident is not working for any ride-sharing network that could offer the compensation for your damages, the role of your attorney is very significant here.
You will most probably have two paths to follow:
- No-fault policy and At-fault policy
- Other avenues for recovery
The “No-Fault” and “At-Fault” insurance policies
For auto insurance claims, Florida follows a no-fault insurance statute. The no-fault insurance statute says that each of the parties involved in the incident will use their own insurance coverage to compensate for their medical bills for their personal injuries and damages incurred by the accident.
In case of a no-fault scenario, consulting with a personal injury attorney in Miami would be your best bet. This is because the injuries you incurred could be covered by your insurance in the event of an underinsured or uninsured accident situation.
There is another side to the no-fault insurance statute too. In exceptional cases where the damage is very severe or permanent (including disfigurement or scarring) or the victim has suffered from the permanent loss of a bodily function, Florida’s injury threshold clauses will allow you to file a claim against the at-fault driver. Again, an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer will be essential in getting partial or full compensation for your injuries.
Other recovery options
If the No-fault insurance statue is not falling in your favor, there are other options that your attorney can pursue to get at least some portion of the damages of this accident recovered for you. Since you are not at fault for causing the accident, it all comes down to why couldn’t you get compensated.
If the driver was uninsured, they made an illegal decision, for which your Miami car accident attorney could pursue a claim to pay for your damages. If the driver was underinsured, they made a bad decision but no an illegal one. In that case, your attorney will look into other options to help you like wage garnishments and other such options.
Knowing the fair settlement is key
Since you aren’t fully aware of all the laws and the deeply-buried loopholes of your insurance policy or the underinsured driver’s, you could easily miss out on the right scale of your deserved compensation and get tricked by the insurance company. Insurance companies and their policies are designed to give you as little as possible. This is where many people make mistakes when they try to tackle an insurance claim themselves.
Car accident lawyers in Miami know all about the insurance policies and clauses that come into play based on the nature of the accident, which makes them capable of measuring the true value of your injuries and damages. Your personal injury attorney will also be able to use this knowledge to make sure that the insurance company pays the deserving amount as the compensation for your injuries and damages.
Scenarios where uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage comes into play
You will need a car accident attorney in Miami if you have been involved in any of the following scenarios:
- A hit and run accident (you may be in a vehicle, a pedestrian, or bicycling)
- If an uninsured driver hits you.
In this case, you can claim your own uninsured and underinsured coverage to pay for your medical expenses and damages to property including the pain and suffering factor. Also, if the uninsured driver has financial assets, your attorney can file a lawsuit against those assets to recover compensation for your injuries and damages.
- If an underinsured driver hits you.
In this case, the best option for you is to collect the coverage offered by the driver’s insurance and the remaining expenses can be recovered by your own insurance.
- You have been involved in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver; your attorney has helped you in getting compensated to the full extent, but it still isn’t enough to cover the full expenses of your injuries and damages.
An option at this point is to review the insurance policies of your family members who live in your household. It can happen that your family member has an uninsured motorist coverage or other insurance policy that also covers you.