It is bad enough to get hurt in a car accident, but when you find out that the person who caused the wreck did not carry liability insurance, it can feel like getting hurt again. If you suffered an injury in a crash with an uninsured motorist in The Hammocks, FL, the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can help. Call us today at 1-800-747-3733 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with an uninsured motorist accident lawyer in The Hammocks, FL.
Having a Lawyer Handle Your Uninsured Motorist Case in The Hammocks, FL
Florida law does not require that people with uninsured motorist injury claims have lawyers to help with their cases, but having a lawyer navigate the complex process can be a good idea. Because of the convoluted insurance issues inherent in these claims, it might not be prudent to try to handle your uninsured motorist case as a DIY project.
Making a mistake like missing a deadline or not serving all the right parties can result in the judge dismissing your case. With an experienced personal injury lawyer on board, you can focus on getting well while we take care of the legal issues.
“No-Fault” Insurance in Florida
Florida is a “no-fault” motor vehicle accident state. This law makes you buy insurance that will cover your losses if you are in a crash, regardless of whose carelessness caused the wreck. This insurance is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
Insurance companies sell different amounts of PIP coverage, but Florida law requires you to maintain at least $10,000 of PIP to pay the total of your medical bills and disability (being unable to work) and $5,000 in death benefits. These minimum amounts will not come close to covering your losses if you get involved in a significant collision.
Because you have to pay for PIP insurance to cover your losses, Florida law generally prohibits you from suing the person whose negligence caused the wreck. The careless driver gets off scot-free without having to pay a penny of your damages.
Getting Around the Ban Against Suing the Negligent Driver
Since the no-fault law’s ban on suing the careless driver can be unfair in some situations, Florida law contains an exception that allows you to file a personal injury lawsuit if, because of the wreck, someone:
- Died, or
- Suffered a permanent injury, or
- Sustained permanent and significant scarring and disfigurement, or
- Has the permanent and significant loss of an important bodily function.
If the facts of your case meet any of these four conditions, you satisfy the “permanent injury threshold,” so you can sue the at-fault driver.
How the Permanent Injury Threshold Works with Uninsured Motorists
An uninsured motorist, by definition, does not carry motor vehicle liability insurance that could pay valid claims for losses that the driver’s negligence caused. As a result, the driver does not have the usual source of funds to pay your claim.
You might think that there is not much point in filing a lawsuit against someone who does not have auto insurance to pay the judgment, but there are other possible sources of funds to pay your claims. Your actual options will depend on the facts of your case, but here are a few common possibilities:
- File a claim on your uninsured motorist coverage of your automobile policy. Florida law does not make people buy this insurance, but given the limited funds that PIP coverage provides, you might find uninsured motorist coverage to be extremely valuable.
- Get a judgment against the at-fault driver and then pursue his personal assets or his other insurance policies. People with homeowner’s insurance often have “umbrella” liability coverage, which can pay for losses they cause through negligence. Umbrella coverage usually has policy limits of $1 million or more, which can be fortunate in a case that meets the permanent injury threshold.
- File a lien against the at-fault driver’s property so that he cannot sell it without paying the judgment that he owes you. Also, if he comes into money one day, through inheritance or some other windfall, you can execute your judgment.
Damages for an Uninsured Motorist Claim in The Hammocks, FL
The responsible person can be liable for your damages, which will vary from one case to another, but can include things like:
Medical expenses, for the treatment you needed because of your injuries, such as the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, surgery, doctor, x-rays, lab work, prescription drugs, and physical therapy.
Future medical costs, if your injuries make it necessary for you to receive ongoing or future medical interventions.
Equipment that you need because of your injuries, like wheelchairs, crutches, home modifications, and adaptive vehicles.
Long-term care, if you sustained devastating injuries that leave you in need of daily help with medical treatments and personal care.
Lost wages, to replace wages, salary, self-employment, and other income you missed because of the wreck and recuperation.
Decreased earning potential, if you cannot make as much money after the accident because of your injuries.
Disability, if you cannot work at all because of your injuries.
Pain and suffering, for the physical discomfort and emotional distress you experienced.
Other “intangible” losses, like disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and your spouse’s loss of consortium.
Factors of Liability
An uninsured motorist accident lawyer in The Hammocks, FL can prove all four elements of liability to hold someone responsible for your losses. These factors are that:
- The driver owed you a duty of care. All drivers must operate their vehicles with caution.
- The driver breached the duty of care. Failing to meet the standard of care is negligence. Speeding or driving while intoxicated are examples of negligence.
- The negligence caused the accident; for example, the driver could not stop in time because she was speeding.
- The negligence caused measurable damages. Physical injury is an example of measurable harm.
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we will treat you with dignity and respect. We will listen to your concerns and take the time to talk with you. There are no upfront legal fees because our legal fees come out of the settlement or judgment. Call our office today at 1-800-747-3733 to line up your free consultation to speak with an uninsured motorist accident lawyer in The Hammocks, FL about your accident.