Have Questions about Your Auto Insurance? John Bales Attorneys Can Help.
Although your auto insurance company may not always be helpful after an auto accident, Florida law requires that you carry insurance for any four-wheeled vehicle that you own and operate. If you are involved in a car wreck where someone is injured and you do not have insurance, you can face stiff penalties—including the loss of your license and even jail time.
Florida insurance laws are complex. The level of coverage you need depends on many different circumstances, and sometimes you may not realize your coverage is lacking until after the accident. At John Bales Attorneys, our auto accident lawyers are familiar with car insurance laws in the state, and we can help you after your accident—just dial (800) 225-5564 or fill out a free initial consultation form.
Types of Auto Insurance
When you purchase auto insurance in Florida, there are many factors to consider and several types of insurance available, including:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) — or Florida No-Fault Insurance—covers your damages regardless of who is at fault for the accident. You must carry a minimum of $10,000 of PIP coverage.
- Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) — covers the costs related to the permanent injuries or deaths of others if you are involved in an auto accident. This coverage also provides compensation in the event that you are sued for the accident.
- Property Damage Liability (PDL) — PDL coverage pays for any damage that occurs to other parties’ vehicles in the accident.
- Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) InsuranceUM and UIM insurance covers damages if the person who caused your accident does not carry his or her own insurance policy.
Types of Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claims
Many passengers and drivers do not fully comprehend the many instances where uninsured and underinsured motorist claims can arise. This is why it is important to contact an auto accident attorney to fully understand your rights as a motorists.
Uninsured motorist coverage can apply to a variety of situations including but not limited to the following:
- Possible if you are a pedestrian that is struck by a car with a driver who lacks the appropriate amount of coverage;
- Can also apply in hit-and-run accidents if there is direct contact between your vehicle and another vehicle;
- If your vehicle is struck by a driver who does not have enough insurance;
- If you are riding a bicycle and are hit by a car with a driver who does not have the appropriate amount of insurance coverage;
- If you are a passenger in another car that is hit by a driver who lacks sufficient insurance.
In many cases, a combination of uninsured/underinsured policies may apply to your auto accident case and offer opportunities to help pay your medical bills and pain and suffering.
It’s important that you start a claim soon after your accident as there are time limitations on how long you have to file a claim. If you wish to discuss your accident with a car accident lawyer in Tampa, FL, contact John Bales Attorneys now. If we handle your case, we only get paid if you do.
Call the auto accidents attorneys at John Bales Attorneys now for a FREE consultation at (800) 225-5564, or fill out our online form.
Insurance May Cover You, Even With an Uninsured Driver
If you were hit by a driver without insurance in an at-fault state, you may think you are out of luck — unable to collect any settlement at all. But before you give up, you should always call an experienced personal injury lawyer. The experienced personal injury lawyer is sure to look at all possibilities for insurance coverage, including insurance covering the driver, the vehicle’s owner, and any user given permission to use the vehicle, as well as a client’s own insurance coverage, before giving up.
In one case, a law firm was able to help a distraught woman who was hit by an uninsured driver in an at-fault state. This driver was clearly at fault for the accident. In fact, he said at the scene that he knew he was at fault, but had no insurance to pay for the damage. The client had purchased collision coverage only, thinking she was doing the smart thing by saving money. Because neither driver had any insurance that applied to the crash, this woman thought she was out of luck. Still, she called a law firm, which agreed to take her case.
After investigating the facts, the law firm discovered that the at-fault driver was driving his girlfriend’s mother’s vehicle — with the permission of his girlfriend, to run an errand. Also, as it turned out, the mother and daughter had an agreement that the daughter could borrow her mother’s car as needed from time to time. That meant the at-fault driver was a “permissive user” could borrow her mother’s car as needed from time to time. That meant the at-fault driver was a “permissive user” under the policy — someone who has permission to drive the car — which meant that he covered by the mother’s liability insurance. In most states, liability coverage will cover permissive users of an insured automobile. This was true even though the driver of both vehicles involved in the accident were personally uninsured.
This scenario is actually quite common. Although laws in almost every state require all drivers to have liability insurance, many violate the law. An experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to help by searching thoroughly for an applicable insurance policy covering any party involved in the accident.
DO I NEED UNINSURED / UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE?
If you’re in an accident, there’s always a possibility that the other person involved doesn’t have insurance. In fact, in the state of Florida drivers are not required to have UM or UIM coverage. UM or UIM coverage is the best way a driver can be prepared to handle the financial burden of an accident. In the event the other driver either has no insurance or not enough, UM or UIM coverage can help. An accident can result is astronomical medical bills, pain & suffering, time away from work, and diminished earning capacity. If you combine all of that with the fact that almost 25% of drivers in Florida do not have car insurance, the cost of adding both UM and UIM coverage is miniscule compared to the costs that often accompany an auto accident.
The Florida state legislature enacted a policy requiring the insurance company to make you sign a separate document if you refuse UM or UIM coverage. Your insurance carrier is also required to offer you uninsured motorist coverage. If you elect to reject UM or UIM coverage the insurance broker will often avoid explaining the importance of the coverage. Because UM or UIM insurance tend to favor the insured person, it exposes the insurance company to a much greater risk.
Get John Bales Attorneys on Your Side
As auto accident lawyers, we know that insurance companies do not always play by the rules—and they may deny you money when you need it the most. It is our goal to level the playing field and fight for your rights to compensation. To get the experienced legal team at John Bales Attorneys on your side, contact us today.