When Your Car Accident Injuries Exceed Your Insurance Coverage
In Florida, all drivers are required to obtain auto insurance to cover the cost of physical injuries and property damage resulting from car accidents. Unfortunately, the limits of these policies often end up being far too little to actually reimburse an accident victim for medical bills and vehicle repair or replacement. Those who find themselves in this situation are not, however, without options, so if you were involved in a car accident in Florida, you should speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyer who can help ensure that your claim has the best possible chance of success.
PIP Insurance Policy Limits
Under Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system, drivers are only required to obtain coverage of $10,000 for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000 for property damage liability. This system requires car accident victims to first file claims with their own insurers after a crash, recovering reimbursement for their physical injuries under their PIP insurance policies. This coverage applies regardless of fault. Florida law does not, however, require policyholders to purchase bodily injury liability insurance, which covers the costs of injuries that a person causes someone else to suffer. Unfortunately, $10,000 doesn’t go very far even for those with relatively minor injuries, so many car accident victims find themselves unable to cover the full cost of their medical bills, especially if they were forced to take time off from work while recovering.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Although it is not required under Florida law, many drivers also choose to purchase an underinsured motorist policy. These policies are designed specifically to kick in when someone’s PIP coverage isn’t enough to pay for an injured party’s medical bills and lost wages. These policies, however, only pay up to a certain limit. If these limits are also exceeded due to the severity of the victim’s injuries, he or she may need to step outside of the no-fault insurance system to obtain recovery.
Stepping Outside of the No-Fault System
Insurers generally don’t like to pay compensation to accident victims in amounts that exceed designated policy limits. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to step outside of Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system and file a liability claim with the at-fault driver or his or her insurer directly. The first way is by demonstrating that your losses exceed the limits of your policy. The second way is a bit more difficult, as it requires proving that an injury meets the state’s definition of a serious injury, which in turn, requires evidence of some sort of significant or permanent disability, scarring, or disfigurement. Those who satisfy these burdens have the option of filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party in court.
Call Today to Learn More
If you were injured in an accident and suffered severe injuries, you are undoubtedly facing pressure from your insurer to settle. Before making this decision, however, you should strongly consider speaking with an attorney about some of your other options. For help with your own claim, please call 954-566-9919 and speak with one of the dedicated Florida car accident lawyers at Boone & Davis today.