If you drive in the State of Florida, then it is very important to be aware of the amount of underinsured and uninsured drivers in your midst. Over 25% of drivers on Florida’s roads were completely uninsured in a 2015 statistic, making it the state with the nation’s highest number of uninsured motorists. Jared Newman, Managing Partner of South Florida Law’s Personal Injury Practice answers frequently asked questions on what it all means and how best to protect yourself as a Florida driver.
Q: What is the difference between an underinsured and uninsured driver?
A: Let’s start with uninsured drivers. These are individuals who are driving illegally in the State of Florida because they do not have the minimum levels of insurance required by law. In an accident, there is no insurance to cover the personal injury suffered by either the uninsured nor the other party if the uninsured was responsible for the accident. Hit-and-run drivers are also considered uninsured drivers.
Underinsured drivers are those whose insurance is too limited to cover the property damage and personal injury caused to a third party. This becomes an issue if the underinsured driver is deemed responsible for the accident.
Q: How can someone protect themselves from uninsured and underinsured drivers?
A: By getting Uninsured and Underinsured driver Insurance. Though buyer beware: one class of insurance does not cover for the other. The two are not exchangeable: an accident with an uninsured driver will not be covered by Underinsured Driver Insurance nor will Uninsured Driver Insurance cover any portion of a crash with an underinsured driver. Also, pay attention to the details: some policies specifically cover property damage but not your personal injury. To get full coverage, you will need to get one that specifies both.
Q: What should people do if they get into an accident?
A: There are a number of different potential scenarios including various combinations of insured, underinsured, uninsured and even hit-and-run vehicles and motorists. Each case is different and it’s important that everyone involved place safety first by avoiding dangers like on coming cars and call 9-1-1 in the case of bodily injury.
“Place safety first … call 9-1-1 … [then] call a competent injury attorney immediately.”
Q: … and then exchange contacts, registration and insurance details? Call your insurance company?
A: Not right away! Once safety has been established, if there are any injuries it’s important to call a competent injury attorney immediately. Speaking to insurance companies and others might not help your case. After all, they are the ones that may be “on the hook” to make the payments of your claim. They have a conflict of interest since they may end up owing you for your injuries, loss of work and pain and suffering related to your injuries. Insurance companies have lawyers, and the other motorists may have lawyers too. You need to get representation as early as possible to ensure the best outcome of your case.
Q: How much do you charge to represent injured motorists making claims?
A: Our Personal Injury services are provided on a contingency fee basis. That means unless we get a settlement or court decision with a financial award our clients don’t owe us a dime.
Q: So your clients only pay you if you win their case?
A: That’s correct, we only get paid if you do. If you or anyone else you know has been injured in an accident recently, call me Jared Newman at (954) 900-8885.
Jared Newman, Esq. is a seasoned attorney at South Florida Law, with an emphasis in Personal Injury Law. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology from the University of Florida. Mr. Newman attended and received his Juris Doctorate from the South Houston College of Law.
Mr. Newman understands insurance companies tactics and has the experience to counter them. This background allows South Florida law to fight smart against Big Insurance. If necessary, we are prepared to meet insurance companies in court and recover the compensation you deserve.