If you were involved in a car accident in Florida and have found that your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is not enough to cover the cost of your damages, you could be eligible to file a claim against the at-fault driver. But what happens when the at-fault driver is uninsured? What if they flee the scene of the accident, leaving you without a way to obtain their contact or insurance information?
Florida drivers have the option of adding uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage to their auto insurance policies. If you have this type of coverage, you could receive compensation after an accident in which PIP is insufficient, even when the other driver is uninsured.
At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., we help motor vehicle accident victims seek fair compensation after serious collisions and injuries. Our Tallahassee uninsured motorist accident attorney can help you review your policy and determine what options are available to you. Our team can assist you in all aspects of filing your claim, including navigating disputes with the insurance company.
Do You Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Florida?
The state of Florida requires all licensed drivers to carry at least $10,000 in both personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL) insurance. However, as of May 2021, Florida drivers are not required to carry any bodily injury insurance or uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.
If you have the bare minimum required insurance in Florida, your coverage is alarmingly inadequate. Chances are, if you get into an accident, you will not have enough insurance to cover the cost of your medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages, such as pain and suffering. While you could sue the at-fault driver (if your injuries are considered “serious”), the other driver may also be underinsured or, worse, uninsured. Even if your lawsuit is successful, it is highly likely that an underinsured/uninsured motorist will not have enough assets to pay, meaning you will likely never see the money you need to recover.
Because of this, it is very smart to add optional UM/UIM coverage to your auto insurance policy. This coverage protects you in the event you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver and your own PIP and PDL coverage is insufficient.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida ranks sixth highest among U.S. states with uninsured motorists (as of 2019, the latest year for which data are available). Approximately 20% of Florida drivers are uninsured, meaning your chances of being in an accident with an uninsured motorist in Florida are relatively high. While you are not required by law to purchase UM/UIM insurance, doing so can ultimately save you an immense amount of stress when you are inevitably involved in a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
What Are the Two Types of UM Coverage?
There are two types of UM coverage available in Florida:
- Split-Limit Coverage: Under a split-limit policy, different amounts of coverage are available depending on the number of people injured or killed in an accident. Typically, split-limit coverage offers up to $15,000 in compensation for accidents involving one injured person or one fatality and up to $30,000 for those involving multiple injured or deceased parties.
- Combined Single-Limit Coverage: With a combined single-limit policy, coverage is not split depending on the number of injured parties or the number of people killed in the accident. Using the same amounts as the above example, a combined single-limit policy would provide up to $30,000 per accident, regardless of how many people were involved.
Most people opt for the split-limit coverage, but there are benefits to both kinds of uninsured motorist coverage. Make sure you understand your options and your policy; our team can review your current auto insurance policy and provide guidance as needed to ensure you have the best possible protection.
Who Is Covered by UM Insurance?
Uninsured motorist coverage does not only apply to you, the insured driver.
In Florida, UM insurance covers:
- The policyholder
- Family members
This means that if you are involved in an accident while you have passengers in the vehicle, you and your passengers are covered. If your family member borrows your car, uses another vehicle, or rides as a passenger in your car or someone else’s, they are covered by your UM insurance.
In addition to providing protection when you are hit and injured by an uninsured motorist, UM coverage protects you when you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, bicycle-vehicle collision, or pedestrian accident. UM coverage provides reimbursement for various damages in these types of accidents, including medical bills, lost wages, bodily injury, and more.
How to File a UM Claim
Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always honor claimants’ policies. Even if you have elected to add UM/UIM coverage to your policy, your auto insurance provider may dispute your claim. At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., we understand how frustrating this is, especially when you are already dealing with the aftermath of the crash in your personal life.
To file a UM or UIM claim, there are several steps you should take:
- First, ensure that you do, in fact, have this type of coverage. You only have UM/UIM coverage in Florida if you have elected to add this type of insurance to your policy.
- Confirm that you have met the obligations of your UM/UIM coverage, including paying premiums in full and on time.
- Cooperate with your insurance company’s investigation. This investigation will take place prior to your insurance company accepting or denying your claim.
- Agreeing to an examination under oath (EUO) by the insurance company or an independent medical examination (IME) by a physician chosen by your insurance company.
Additionally, unlike with PIP claims, you will need to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident in order to file a UM/UIM claim and recover compensation. The other driver may have been at fault if they were texting while driving or were otherwise distracted behind the wheel, speeding, tailgating, driving drunk, violated traffic laws, or acted negligently or wrongfully in some way.
At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., our Tallahassee UM claims attorney can help you with the various steps involving in filing a UM/UIM claim. It is important to remember that the insurance company is not on your side. You need someone who knows the law and will stand up for your rights against the interests of the insurance company. You need someone who will fight for you.
Reach Out to Shapiro Law Firm, P.A. Today
If you or someone you love was injured by an uninsured motorist and you need help filing a UM or UIM claim, contact our firm. With over 25 years of legal experience, Attorney Paul Shapiro has helped countless clients get back on their feet after devastating motor vehicle collisions. He and his team are here to guide you through the legal process and fight for the maximum recovery you are owed.
At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., we provide free consultations and contingency fees, meaning you do not owe anything unless/until we recover compensation for you. When you trust your case to our firm, you can have confidence knowing that you are in good hands.
Paul A. Shapiro
I became a personal injury attorney because I wanted to help people. What we do here is really about you – it's about your injuries… your rights… and it's about fairness and justice for you. After 25 years in practice in Tallahassee, I'm proud to have provided counsel, and helped so many people get what they really deserve. At Shapiro Law Firm, P.A., we will always keep the personal in personal injury law.
— Paul A. Shapiro, Personal Injury Lawyer" Read Full Bio
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