I was involved in a crash with someone that has no insurance. What are my rights?
Author: Attorney Jason Macri
Unfortunately, Florida law does not require drivers to have bodily injury coverage on their insurance policies. This means that a driver in Florida can legally injure another person and not have the type of insurance that would compensate that person for their injuries. This is why one of the most important insurance coverages you can buy is “UM” coverage. “UM” stands for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and it can help you if you are injured by one of these uninsured drivers.
Many people do not purchase UM when they buy their auto insurance because it increases their insurance premiums. Most auto insurance brokers do not explain the importance of UM to their customers and, because UM is not a requirement, the majority of new auto insurance policies are sold without UM coverage. Though UM will increase a person’s auto insurance premiums, it can pay a person back many times over if they need it. UM coverage can help a person even in situations where the person who causes your injuries does have bodily injury coverage. Once your lawyer is able to secure the Defendant’s bodily injury policy limits, no matter how big or small, a claim can be made against your UM coverage.
Many Florida drivers do have bodily injury coverage on their insurance policies but unfortunately, the amount is usually completely inadequate. The most typical amount of bodily injury coverage on a person’s policy is $10,000.00 worth of coverage. If one of these people injures you, the most their insurance company will pay is $10,000.00 toward your damages. While $10,000.00 is a great deal of money to some, much of the time it is completely inadequate when that amount is intended to compensate a person for their injuries. In this instance, UM coverage will help. Once your attorney has secured that $10,000.00 in bodily injury coverage for you, she/he can then make a claim against your UM coverage. With UM, you can add the amount of the Defendant’s bodily injury coverage to the amount of your UM coverage. In a situation where a person has purchased $100,000.00 in UM coverage, a claim previously worth only $10,000.00 now has a maximum value of $110,000.00. This is why UM is so important.
Insurance policies are not the easiest documents to interpret and, many times, people have no idea what types of coverages they have on their policy. This is why it is extremely important to contact an experienced injury lawyer if you, your friends or your family are in a situation where an uninsured or an underinsured driver causes injuries. It can make the difference between getting adequately compensated for injures and not getting compensated at all.