The Motor Accident Nightmare: Uninsured Drivers

The Motor Accident Nightmare: Uninsured DriversThis is probably the one, big, nightmare situation that no driving, biking or pedestrian accident victim wants to think about, but it does happen. You get into an accident, are seriously injured, and it is clear that you are not at fault. However, the person that is at fault can’t even help with financial compensation for injury treatment even if he or she is responsible, because there’s no insurance.

Sadly, in Florida, this is not that uncommon. According to state statistics, 26% of drivers on Florida roads—that is to say one in four!—are currently taking to the streets without insurance. This percentage of uninsured drivers goes up depending on the age of the vehicle being used. Vehicles that are 15 years or older tend to have drivers that haven’t bothered to get proper insurance coverage, even though this is technically illegal.

So what does this mean to cars, and cyclists on the road, or pedestrians crossing a street? Does this mean that if you sustain an injury due to such an incident you simply have to pay for medical treatment yourself, even though it wasn’t your fault?

There are a few options for people who want to be prepared against such a terrible situation. One of the easiest is something known as UM.

Insurance When There’s No Other


UM stands for uninsured motorist insurance. It’s a special type of insurance is often offered by standard insurance carriers, though it is not legally required and mandatory, the way standard auto insurance is. As the name implies, UM is extra coverage from your insurance company itself in the event that you should get into an accident with someone in Florida that has no insurance of their own.

In Florida, if you choose to get motor insurance that includes body injury liability, then UM is usually “bundled” into the offer. You don’t have to accept it, but you do have to expressly reject it if you don’t want it included as part of your insurance “package.” Otherwise, if no specific rejection is given, and you don’t recall doing so, you may very well already have UM included in your policy.

What To Do


This means that if you find yourself in this situation where the other party has already admitted to being uninsured, you’ll be making a claim with your own insurance company. This may be a smooth process, or a tricky one depending on the specific circumstances of an accident. For example, if a car accident resulted in only minor injuries, and/or minor damage, then the normal “no fault” conditions of an accident would apply. This means if total damages are under $10,000, then, under normal conditions, both parties would immediately turn to their respective insurance companies to quickly assess and dispense with financing for damages.

Because No Fault situations are for smaller injury and physical damages, this is much more likely to get processed quickly, even if you are making a UM claim. Where things would get more complex and require greater attention to resolve is if things become serious. A permanent injury for example, especially if it also denies you the ability to return to your job, is a more difficult situation. Insurers may not quickly or easily resolve this, so you may need to seek legal advice. Talk to accident lawyers that can be your advocate in matters regarding insurance companies as comfortably as they may represent your interests when taking someone to court in a civil lawsuit.

Explore Your Options


When looking at your auto insurance, take the time to ask the questions that matter. Is the insurance just for you, or does it cover your family members as well? Does this apply to UM as well? What happens if your child is struck and injured by someone who is uninsured, will your policy have contingencies in place for that? Don’t make the assumption that just because UM insurance exists, it will provide all the financial protection you require, carefully go over it yourself to make sure your concerns are addressed.

And even if you should get into accident with someone that is uninsured, don’t assume that they are getting off scot-free. The law has measures in place to deal with them.


 

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