As Florida personal injury attorneys, our legal team has seen numerous cases wherein car accident victims aren’t sure whether they have uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage (often denoted UM/ UIM coverage) as part of their auto insurance plan. In fact, many people don’t even know what it is.
This is troubling indeed when you consider that this is often the primary source of recovery for those in accidents with drivers who either don’t have insurance or don’t have enough insurance to fully cover the damages incurred in a serious crash.
As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida car accidents rack up a total of $32 million in medical costs and nearly $3 billion in work loss costs every single year. More than $2,450 people are killed in Florida crashes annually, and motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for people under the age of 54. Many of these people are the primary breadwinners in their family, and they can’t afford to be saddled with crippling debt for medical costs and other expenses that stem from a car accident.
Florida law requires all motorists to purchase and maintain $10,000 in personal injury protection and $10,000 in property damage liability. PIP coverage will provide coverage for medical bills and a portion of lost wages up to $10,000 regardless of who is at fault. Of course, if you have ever been admitted to the hospital, you know that money can go quick. Meanwhile, bodily injury liability coverage, which covers damages for serious and permanent injury or death to others when you cause a crash, is not required to drive a car, though it can be if you’ve previously been convicted of a DUI, per F.S. 324.023. However, many people carry some amount of bodily injury liability because failure to do so will mean a driver’s personal assets are in jeopardy.
But even when people do carry bodily injury liability, it is often not enough to fully cover the cost of one’s damages in an Orlando car accident. That’s why uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage is so critical.
F.S. 627.727 is Florida’s law pertaining to UM/ UIM coverage. Drivers are not required to purchase this coverage (though it is strongly advised), but insurance companies are required to offer it, and those who reject it can only legally do so in writing. Unfortunately, many people reject the coverage without really understanding what it is and how it might benefit them, thinking only of the fact they wish to (nominally) reduce their regular insurance premiums.
Consider, though, that according to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida ranks No. 2 in the country when it comes to uninsured motorists. There is a 1 in 5 chance in Florida that the driver next to you is uninsured. Even if the driver has coverage, it’s more likely than not they are only carrying the minimum amount. If that driver causes a crash and has no bodily injury liability coverage or lacks any insurance at all, the UM/ UIM protection you purchased can help you cover medical expenses, lost wages and other damages that won’t be totally covered under your PIP insurance. You might even be covered for future losses and expenses, and for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, disability and loss of life enjoyment.
This is why we strongly encourage Florida motorists to invest in a good UM/ UIM policy, so that if you are in a crash with a driver who is uninsured or underinsured, you will have options.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
More Blog Entries:
Fatal Pedestrian Car Accidents in Miami, June 26, 2017, Orlando Car Accident Lawyer Blog