What are your rights if you were injured in an auto accident involving an uninsured or underinsured motorist? Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common question here in Florida, where we have the nation’s second-highest rate of uninsured drivers. Orange Park personal injury attorneys at Ansbacher Law have some suggestions on how you can still achieve a fair outcome.
The following are five potential ways to seek financial compensation when you are injured in an accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver:
In Florida, all drivers are required by law to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP covers your medical expenses regardless of who was at fault in the accident, so you can use it to help cover your medical expenses if you were injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is an optional form of auto insurance for Florida drivers. If you have UIM coverage, you can file a claim under your own insurance policy just as you would against an at-fault driver’s insurer (provided that the at-fault driver was adequately insured). In order to recover compensation under your UIM policy, you must be able to prove that the uninsured or underinsured driver was negligent in causing or contributing to the accident, so it is generally best to hire experienced legal representation.
Another option for securing compensation is to examine possible factors outside of the uninsured or underinsured driver’s negligence. For example, if a road defect – such as a pothole, sinkhole, or low shoulder – played a role in the accident, you may have a claim against a state or local highway authority or a private contractor that was hired to design and construct the road.
If an issue with your vehicle (or the other driver’s vehicle) is to blame for the accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the vehicle’s manufacturer or any other companies involved in the “chain of distribution.” Vehicle defect claims are subject to the law of strict liability, which means that proof of negligence is not required.
Was the driver who hit you on the clock at the time of the accident? Under Florida law, employers can be held liable when their employees cause accidents within the scope of their employment. This is true for accidents involving both private and company-owned vehicles.
Of course, these options will not be available in all circumstances, and assessing your options requires a clear understanding of both your insurance policy and the various factors involved in the accident. In order to protect your rights and maximize your financial recovery, it will be important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
If you were injured in an accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation about your legal rights. To speak with one of our Orange Park car accident attorneys in confidence, please call (904) 737-4600 or contact our firm online today.