What you should do if the other driver is at fault in an accident but lacks insurance coverage is check to see if you have uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). You can rely on your own insurance if you have this coverage. If not, you may consider filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Car accidents are frustrating, particularly when another driver causes them. This challenge is made worse when the driver that hit you isn’t carrying insurance. A lawyer can explore your own insurance policy or take legal action to seek recovery for your losses.
Insurance Coverage and Florida’s No-Fault Rule
Florida relies on a no-fault rule for car accidents. The first element of this rule is mandatory driver’s insurance policies. These policies include:
- Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance: As a driver in Florida, you must carry at least $10,000 in PIP insurance. PIP insurance will cover up to 80% of medical expenses with a $10,000 limit, regardless of fault.
- Property damage liability (PDL) insurance: Alongside your PIP policy, you must also carry a minimum of $10,000 in PDL insurance. PDL insurance covers property damages sustained by another driver in an accident. For example, if you damaged another driver’s vehicle and were at fault, they can file a claim against your PDL policy to receive coverage for their vehicle repairs.
Here’s how Florida’s no-fault rule applies to these policies. After a car accident, regardless of fault, you need to use your PIP coverage first. Therefore, your PIP policy may cover most of your losses if the other driver doesn’t have insurance.
However, in some cases, sometimes a PIP policy isn’t enough. To pursue additional compensation, you must exceed Florida’s no-fault threshold.
Florida’s No-Fault Threshold
Florida’s no-fault threshold allows you to pursue compensation beyond your PIP policy by:
- Filing an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy: This approach doesn’t apply to cases where the at-fault driver isn’t carrying insurance. You can’t file a claim with their insurer if they have no insurance or are underinsured.
- File a lawsuit: If the at-fault driver isn’t carrying insurance and you exceed the no-fault threshold, you can file a lawsuit. Winning a lawsuit will require the at-fault driver to cover some or all the damages you sustained in the car accident.
Your car accident must have involved a serious injury to exceed the no-fault threshold. Under Florida Statutes § 316.027, the following instances qualify as serious injury:
- An injury that creates a substantial risk of death
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of an important bodily function
The No-Fault Threshold and Damages
In accidents that don’t exceed the no-fault threshold, you can only receive compensation from your PIP policy. This policy just covers medical expenses.
However, if you exceed the no-fault threshold by suffering a serious injury, you can also pursue non-economic damages, which include the following:
- Mental anguish
After a crash, a Jacksonville car accident lawyer can determine if you have the right to pursue non-economic damages.
For a free legal consultation 800-747-3733
What Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Most car insurance providers offer underinsured and uninsured motorist policies. These policies kick in when the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages. They cover losses that the at-fault driver’s insurance would have paid for if they had sufficient insurance coverage.
Remember, though, underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage isn’t mandatory in Florida. Unless you specifically purchased it alongside your compulsory car insurance, it’s unlikely that you have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage.
Should I File A Lawsuit Against The At-Fault Driver?
If you aren’t carrying underinsured motorist coverage, you pass the serious injury threshold, and your PIP policy falls short, a lawsuit may be your best option. A lawsuit against the at-fault driver could cover several types of damages, including:
- Lost wages
- Non-economic damages, like pain and suffering
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Present and future medical expenses
- Loss of a loved one if your accident involved a wrongful death
- Most damages associated with your accident
For you to receive compensation after a lawsuit, the at-fault driver must have enough money to pay for your losses. This can create hiccups if the driver who caused your accident doesn’t have much money.
However, by working with a car accident lawyer, you can build a plan to address this problem. Lawsuits can be tweaked to pay a verdict over time rather than all at once.
Do I Need To Hire A Lawyer?
Florida car accident victims aren’t required to hire a lawyer. However, working with a car accident lawyer could bring clarity and focus to your case. Car accident lawyers provide the following services:
- Explaining your options – a beneficial service in accidents involving uninsured motorists
- Pursuing compensation on your behalf, whether that’s through insurance negotiations or a lawsuit
- Investigating the details of your car accidents
- Answering any questions you have about your accident
- Providing you with consistent case updates
Managing the aftermath of a car accident alone can be a headache. You can develop a clear game plan without the hassle by consulting with a lawyer.
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Work With A Car Accident Lawyer If The Other Driver Is At Fault But Lacks Insurance Coverage
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we’ve recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. We’re hard-working and committed to providing a seamless legal experience. If an uninsured or underinsured driver injured you, we could tell you what to do next. Contact our offices today for a free, no-obligation case review.
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