How to Handle a Car Accident with an Uninsured Motorist
The back of your car is smashed, and your neck is aching. The driver who hit you looks panicked, and when you ask him for his insurance information, he says he doesn’t have any. This isn’t an ideal situation, but these tips will assist you if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver.
Even though a minimum amount of liability insurance is legally required in almost every state, there are drivers who get behind the wheel without proper car insurance. You never know when you will have a run-in with an uninsured driver — especially in Florida. Currently, 1 in 7 local drivers is uninsured.
All drivers are vulnerable to collisions with uninsured drivers. The car accident attorneys at Mickey Keenan, P.A., discuss how to handle an accident with an uninsured driver and the best practices for filing a claim.
Injury Liability Limits
In Florida, drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) and $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP), also referred to as “Florida no-fault insurance.”
Bodily-injury liability limits can be as low as $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident. Some motorists opt for liability limits as high as $250,000 a person and $500,000 per accident. It depends on state minimum requirements and your personal preferences.
This insurance protects your assets should you cause an accident resulting in serious injuries to others. Without it, your assets could be at risk in a lawsuit.
Carrying the bare minimum auto insurance required by Florida law likely will be inadequate after an accident. That $10,000 does not go far when paying for medical expenses after a crash. It certainly won’t cover lost wages of someone who is severely injured in a wreck. If your bills exceed this amount, you could be held responsible for additional damages past your bodily-injury liability coverage amounts.
Uninsured Driver Insurance Coverage
In Florida, a run-in with an uninsured driver is a greater risk because too many motorists aren’t properly covered. The good news is that you can be proactive about your protection if you are in a collision with a driver who does not carry insurance.
Uninsured-motorist coverage is optional in most states, but it is important to carry. UM coverage is an addition to your car insurance policy that protects you, the policyholder, in the event of a crash with someone who does not have sufficient insurance.
Carrying the bare-minimum auto insurance required by Florida law likely will be inadequate after an accident. That $10,000 doesn’t go far to pay for medical expenses after a crash.
If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, your insurance provider will help pay the cost of injuries to you and your passengers, which is what the other driver’s liability insurance should be covering. An uninsured-motorist policy will help cover medical costs, loss of income, and other expenses that your insurance limits won’t cover.
If you do not have uninsured-motorist coverage, you could take the at-fault driver to court for incurred expenses — if the accident occurred in an at-fault state. Without UM coverage in Florida, you could be left needing to pay the additional bills yourself.
If you have been in an accident with an uninsured driver and carry UM coverage, our local attorneys at Mickey Keenan Law can help file your lawsuit and get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. Call today, (813) 871-1300.
After a Crash with an Uninsured Motorist
Call the Police
It is always wise to call the police, especially if you are dealing with an uninsured motorist. It is imperative because the police report will help smooth the insurance claims process.
Even though they do not have insurance information to swap with you, you will want their contact and vehicle details. Ask witnesses for their contact information as well because their statements can be beneficial during the claims process.
Write down any details you think could help you when placing a claim with your insurance company. This includes:
- Take note of the make and model of the vehicle involved
- The time and location of the accident
- The name and badge number of the responding officer
A picture is worth a thousand words and can help when filing a claim after an accident. Capture the damage to your car and the other vehicle; the other person’s driver’s license plate; traffic signs; and the direction that each vehicle was traveling at the time of the accident.
Don’t Accept Money
Because the other driver does not carry insurance, they could face hefty fines and fees — which means they may try to offer you money to avoid getting insurance or a lawyer involved.
Do not accept money, even if it seems like a good deal. You have no idea what the costs are to repair the damage or what your medical bills will be, so it is best to wait and speak to your care professionals and possibly an attorney.
Claims Against an Uninsured Driver
Now that you have all the information you need, it’s time to contact your insurance company to inform them of the accident.
Have the following on hand when placing an accident claim:
- Your insurance card
- The date, time, and location of the accident
- Photos and a detailed report about the accident; be as descriptive as possible
- The contact information for the at-fault driver
- Name of the police department and the police report number
Inform them about the uninsured driver because it can affect the process should your policy benefits not be enough to cover the injuries or property damages.
Uninsured-motorist coverage is optional
in most states, but it is important to carry.
Hit by an Uninsured Driver in a No-Fault State?
If you are hit by a driver without insurance in a no-fault state like Florida, your insurance provider will be the one who will pay some or all your medical bills and repairs. Remember, whether or not the other driver has insurance, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company.
Our Attorneys Can Help in an Accident
One in seven drivers in Florida are uninsured or underinsured, and if you have been in a car accident with an uninsured driver, you need an experienced attorney on your side to get the settlement that you are legally entitled to recover.
At Mickey Keenan, P.A., we strive to make you whole again after a car accident. Contact us today for a free consultation at (813) 871-1300 or schedule an appointment with one of our veteran auto-accident attorneys, Alan Bulnes or Mickey Keenan.
Do not settle for less. Here, your family is our family.