Not all Floridians insure their vehicles appropriately, and the insurance companies themselves often try to get out of paying underinsured/uninsured personal injury claims. Even when these greedy corporations agree to cover a plaintiff’s losses, maximum coverages rarely compensate the full extent of damages the victim suffered. Who covers this policy gap?
Generally, you have two options: file a claim against your own uninsured/underinsured policy or sue the at-fault party for the difference.
When Should I Sue the Other Driver?
When you don’t carry your own uninsured or underinsured motorist accident coverage, going after a defendant’s assets may be your only option. A Florida personal injury compensation lawsuit may result in a significant judgment against the party found liable for causing your injuries. There are several assets the court may tap into to satisfy your compensation award, including:
- Motor vehicles. The state of Florida can take vehicles that have a value of $1,000 or more minus any debts owed based on its collateral.
- A person’s home. If the defendant has a homestead exemption, their home may have to be sold before settlement. If a debtor is married, then their spouse may also have to consent.
- File a lien against the property. This step is usually taken if a judgment is ordered and the uninsured/underinsured defendant has failed to pay the judgment amount by the court. This prevents them from selling the property or taking loans on it until the debt gets paid off.
- Savings accounts are fair game in a personal injury lawsuit. Holdings on savings accounts are a good target for most cases. This includes traditional and Roth IRA’s, 401Ks, and personal savings accounts. Though, some situations allow a retirement account to be semi-protected from bankruptcy. This means that the plaintiff in an injury case becomes a creditor if the defendant files for bankruptcy.
While you can file for personal injury compensation against an individual’s assets, we advise you to only do so in rare circumstances. For example, if the individual who caused your accident doesn’t have sufficient money or property to cover your claim, what good is a lawsuit? Consider first consulting with a qualified car accident attorney in Osceola County, FL, before filing your suit to determine if it’s worth the time and cost.
Why Going Through Your Own Insurer May Be Best
As mentioned earlier, filing a personal injury claim through at-fault driver’s insurance is ideal. Still, if their policy is insufficient (or they don’t have one at all), your coverage may be your best bet. In situations where you suspect or know for sure that the other driver doesn’t have sufficient auto insurance, contact an attorney immediately to begin the claim process with your own insurer.
It’s worth noting that you will need to have bought an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy when offered to you at the time you purchased your coverage. If you don’t have this benefit, your lawyer can assess your policy and other insurances you might have and determine if any of those will help cover your injuries and damages.
Keep in mind that any compensation you receive from your car insurance company can’t exceed the maximums outlined in your policy. This means if you only have coverage for bodily injury of up to $100,000 and your claim is for $250,000, you would still have a $150,000 gap in damages to cover somehow.
Trust an Experienced Car Accident Attorney to Represent Your Claim
Jordan Law has represented individuals and their families whose lives were changed after a serious auto accident in Central Florida. As your legal counsel, we always make ourselves available to discuss your case and answer any questions or concerns you might have. Trust us to help you recover costly damages, including:
- Medical bills (current and future)
- Transportation to medical appointments for your injuries
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Diminished work capacity
- Permanent or Temporary disablement
- Wrongful death
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And more
If you’re unsure what insurance coverage will apply to your motor vehicle accident, the best thing to do is reach out to a skilled personal injury firm like Jordan Law to find out. We’ll perform a full investigation and assess what coverages the at-fault driver and your own policy provide for your injuries and related damages. So contact us today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about what options you have for pursuing compensation in uninsured/underinsured accident situations.