If you were hurt by a truck driver in Florida, but they had no insurance coverage, you still have a few options for recovering compensation. You can file a claim with the driver’s trucking company, through your own insurance coverage, or pursue a personal injury lawsuit. A Florida truck accident lawyer can determine which path best suits your situation.
The Trucking Company May Provide the Insurance Coverage
Commercial truck drivers who cause accidents in the course of their work are sometimes covered by their company’s insurance. As a result, if you were hit and hurt by a truck driver without their own private insurance, they might still have coverage through their employer.
Trucking company insurance coverage depends on if the driver is an independent contractor or employed by the company.
If The Driver Was Employed By The Trucking Company
Trucking companies owe others on the road a duty of care to employ and train safe drivers. They are responsible for their drivers’ behavior, including when they cause accidents.
The insurance coverage provided by a trucking company can vary wildly depending on factors like:
- The size of the truck
- The cargo they were carrying
- The state they originated from
For instance, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), freight trucks are required to have coverage that ranges anywhere from $750,000 to $5 million based on the type of cargo. Florida has its own laws as well.
Therefore, the amount you could receive will depend on several variables.
If the Driver Was an Independent Contractor
Some trucking companies only contract with drivers rather than employing them. Avoiding liability is a major reason behind this practice—if the drivers aren’t employees, the company doesn’t have to cover them for accidents.
If this describes your Florida truck accident, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover any damages.
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Your Own Insurance May Provide Coverage in a Florida Truck Accident
Florida’s status as a no-fault state means that you can initially pursue compensation through your own insurance coverage. This way, even if the truck driver had no insurance, you can recover some compensation. That said, the coverage may not provide for all of your damages.
Florida’s Insurance Options
According to Florida Statute § 324.021, drivers are required to carry the following insurance coverage:
- $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP)
- $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL)
If you are hurt by a truck driver in Florida who has no insurance, you can file a claim with your own PIP coverage to receive up to $10,000 in coverage for medical treatment. To receive that, the Florida Bar Association points out that you must receive medical care within 14 days of the accident.
To put that $10,000 limit in perspective, consider that the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that a broken leg can cost up to $7,500 to treat. Since truck accidents often cause more serious injuries, you could exceed the $10,000 limit quickly. In that case, you may need to consider a lawsuit.
If you have optional coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorist accidents, you can file through these policies to receive additional damages–up to your policy limits.
Some Damages Aren’t Available
Insurance coverage like PIP can help pay for medical bills, but it does not provide compensation for damages like:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Changed quality of life
- Loss of consortium
Due to Florida’s insurance laws, you may need to pursue a lawsuit to sue for pain and suffering after a truck accident.
You Must Meet Certain Criteria To Sue A Truck Driver For Your Injuries
If the truck driver is not covered by company insurance and your personal insurance coverage is insufficient, you may have the option of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. However, you must meet the serious injury threshold.
Many states with no-fault insurance laws only allow injured victims to sue another party if they suffered severe injuries that meet certain criteria.
Given that truck accidents often cause severe injuries due to the truck’s size, your injuries could meet this threshold and allow you to file a lawsuit against the uninsured driver.
What Injuries Qualify For The Serious Injury Threshold?
According to Florida Statute § 627.737, a serious injury is:
- Significant loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury
- Significant or permanent scarring
- Significant or permanent disfigurement
A lot of injuries could fit under these criteria. A personal injury lawyer can talk with your doctors as well as consult other experts to determine if your medical condition would warrant filing a lawsuit.
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A Florida Truck Accident Attorney Can Review Your Options
Realizing the other driver in a motor vehicle accident has insufficient insurance coverage is frightening, but it doesn’t mean you’re on your own to cover your losses. The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can discuss all of the possibilities for compensation. Our team is available 24/7, so contact us today!
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