You were just in a bad car accident with another car. You get out of your car and find the other driver is looking sheepishly at you before he admits that he has no auto insurance coverage. Immediately, your first thought is that you will not be able to recover for any damages against the other driver. However, there are steps available to you to try and recover for damages.
Insurance Requirements for Florida Drivers
Under Florida law, all drivers of a vehicle with four or more wheels must maintain a certain minimum level of auto insurance coverage. Specifically, Florida requires that all drivers have $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 of property damage liability coverage (PDL). In addition, if you have a record of previous car accidents or have been convicted of certain types of offenses, the Florida DMV may require you to also obtain bodily injury liability coverage (BIL). However, despite these minimum requirements, many Florida drivers still drive uninsured.
Option 1 for Recovery: Suing the Uninsured Driver
Unfortunately, the majority of uninsured drivers in Florida are uninsured because they do not have money to afford insurance. This usually means that you will not be able to recover a large amount of money from them as they do not have anything to pay you. That being said, all hope may not be lost. First, if the uninsured driver does receive a steady form of payment (such as income) on a regular basis, a judge may order the driver to pay a small sum of money per month to you if the judge determines damages are appropriate. This amount is will more often than not be relatively small. A second potential avenue for recovery is if you can prove the uninsured driver has some class of assets that can be liquidated to pay you. If there are assets, your lawyer can attempt to freeze those assets or record a lien against those assets to ensure that you are able to recover.
Option 2 for Recovery: Filing a Claim with Your Personal Insurance Company
If you get into an accident with an uninsured driver and you hold uninsured motorist coverage, you may be able to recover from your own insurance company. Right after your accident, you should notify your own insurance company that you intend to file an uninsured motorist claim and ask them about the time limit for filing such a claim under your individual policy. You will subsequently negotiate with your insurance company and if you are unable to reach a settlement with them, your case will proceed to litigation or arbitration.
Contact Our Experienced Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you are in a car accident with an uninsured driver, you will want to contact an experienced car accident lawyer to help you determine whether you have any potential avenues for recovery. The well-established lawyers at Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, PLLC in West Palm Beach can help evaluate your claim and determine whether you have a chance to recover against the other driver. Contact us today for a free case review.