It is no secret that car accidents can be dangerous, traumatic, and expensive life events. Whether you are insured or not, knowing what to expect after being involved in a car accident is essential.
If You Have Car Insurance
If you are part of the almost 75 percent of Florida drivers that have car insurance, you may be in luck when it comes to recovering losses following a car accident. With required minimums in place, you may be able to recover most of your damages.
Florida requires its drivers to maintain specific car insurance coverages to operate a motor vehicle legally. Should a driver be involved in a car accident, the following coverages are meant to protect them financially.
- Property Damage Liability (PDL) - Minimum of $10,000.
- PDL coverage covers the cost of any damage caused by the at-fault driver to the other driver's property.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) - Minimum and maximum of $10,000.
- PIP coverage is meant to help reimburse drivers for medical bills and related expenses, avoiding lawsuits for compensation. For many injuries, however, this amount is not nearly sufficient.
After the Accident
Immediately after getting into an injury-causing accident, follow these steps:
- Ensure Your Safety - Check yourself for any injuries and their severity. Call the local law enforcement and medical personnel. If possible, move your vehicle out of the road.
- Exchange Information - Taking care not to admit fault, exchange information with the other driver, including your contact information, driver's license and license plate.
- Take Pictures - Having your own evidence is vital, especially when the insurance companies get involved. Take photos of any injuries or property damage sustained.
- Contact an Attorney - Whether or not you are at fault, an experienced car accident attorney can examine the details and recommend the best course of action.
Seeking Additional Compensation
With Florida's low insurance requirements, there may be instances where expenses exceed policy limits. There are a few options to consider in seeking additional compensation in these cases.
- Filing a Claim with the Other Driver's Car Insurance Carrier.
- Filing a Lawsuit with the Other Driver.
- Filing a Claim with Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage.
Driving While Uninsured
Driving without car insurance in Florida is illegal. If you are caught driving without insurance, you could face severe penalties, including fines and potential jail time. Given the risks involved, it's simply not worth driving without car insurance in Florida.
When you drive without insurance, you make yourself vulnerable to the consequences that follow. Other than the expenses you may have to pay out of pocket, there are legal ramifications as well.
- First Offense - $150 fine, possible license revocation.
- Second Offense - $250 fine, possible license revocation.
- Third Offense - $500 fine, possible license revocation.
After the Accident
As with any car accident, do not drive away. The consequences of driving without car insurance are minuscule compared to those of a hit-and-run. Just as you read above, immediately after an accident, assess the situation and make sure that everyone is safe before exchanging information, collecting evidence and contacting an attorney.
There may be some restrictions for an uninsured driver when it comes to receiving compensation. Depending on who was at fault, you may still be entitled to compensation. If you were not at fault, you might be able to collect damages from the at-fault party. If you were at fault, you could very likely see yourself paying out-of-pocket for the other party's expenses.
Protecting Your Rights for Over 25 Years
At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., we pride ourselves on protecting and advocating for the rights of our clients involved in car accidents. Whether you are insured or uninsured, at-fault or not-at-fault, we can give you the legal representation you need to get the justice you deserve.
Call us today at (850) 629-7226 or fill out a form online for a free initial consultation.