How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Come Into Play in Resolving a Claim for Injuries Following a Car Accident?
Uninsured motorist coverage is one of the most important types of automobile insurance you can purchase. Your uninsured motorist coverage will apply to cover you for personal injury, pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses if someone who causes a car accident either has no bodily injury insurance coverage or has too little coverage to pay the full value of your claim. Because Florida law does not require that owners of vehicles purchase bodily injury coverage, it is very common that they do not.
For example, if an at-fault driver has $10,000.00 in bodily injury coverage and you have a personal injury claim with a value of $50,000.00, your uninsured motorist coverage will apply to pay you the $40,000.00 not paid by the at-fault driver’s coverage. This, of course, assumes that you have uninsured motorist coverage and that your coverage limit is $40,000.00 or higher.
Florida law does not require that drivers or vehicle owners have any uninsured motorist coverage. Unfortunately, far too often we have clients with injury claims worth far more than the at-fault driver’s coverage yet the client has no uninsured motorist coverage.
Clients are often surprised to learn they have no uninsured motorist coverage as they were told by an insurance agent or broker that he or she purchased “full coverage.” “Full coverage” usually means just the opposite as it is commonly used to describe the absolute minimum coverage required by Florida law.
If you are injured as a passenger in another person’s vehicle, any uninsured motorist coverage in place for that vehicle will apply. In fact, the uninsured motorist coverage for the vehicle in which you are riding as a passenger will apply before any uninsured motorist coverage of your own. Importantly, in this scenario, both policies of uninsured motorist coverage will apply. Also, injured persons can get the benefit of any uninsured motorist coverage purchased by a resident relative.
Without uninsured motorist coverage, the injured person is left with the prospect of pursuing the at-fault driver personally to collect on his or her assets. In Florida, it is very difficult to recover on a judgment against an individual as Florida has numerous exemptions from execution including the homestead exemption and the head of household exemption.
Because some of the worst drivers have little or no insurance, we strongly recommend everyone purchase uninsured motorist coverage in as large an amount as can be afforded. You may be surprised how inexpensive uninsured motorist coverage is.
It is very important that you understand all of the insurance coverages that may apply for personal injuries that result from a car accident before settling your claim. For example, if you settle with an at fault driver without obtaining written permission from your uninsured motorist insurer, you may lose the right to make a uninsured motorist claim.
If you have any questions about an uninsured motorist claim for personal injuries resulting from a car or truck accident in the Jacksonville area, please do not hesitate to call. Consultations are always free.