Uninsured Motorist Insurance and Underinsured Motorist Insurance
In the State of Florida, Uninsured Motorist Insurance is an optional form of automobile insurance. Many motor vehicle owners choose not to obtain because it raises the premium. Furthermore, many motor vehicle owners do not realize the importance and value of having Uninsured Motorist Insurance / Underinsured Motorist Insurance especially in a state in which many vehicle owners are uninsured or merely have the basic required automobile insurance. Unfortunately, many injury victims only realize and understand the importantace of Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Insurance when it is too late to do anything about it. That's right, after a car accident takes place, it is too late to then purchase Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Insurance to provide compensation for the injury vicitm if the insurance for the at-fault driver is minimal to non-existent.
Florida only required an owner of a motor vehicle to have PIP (Personal Injury Protection) and Property Damage Insurance. PIP will pay for the medical bills (80 % of the bills up to $10,000) for the insured motor vehicle owner and possibly resident household members and occupants of the vehicle. PIP does not provide compensation for pain, suffering, mental anguish, or loss of enjoyment of life. Furthermore, an injury victim cannot access the PIP of the at-fault driver unless the injury victim does not have PIP and is an occupant of the at-fault driver's vehicle. Other instances in which a person can access the PIP of the at-fault driver if when the injury vcitim is a bicyclist or pedestrian who does not otherwise own a motor vehicle or have access to a relative's PIP benefits.
As for Uninsurred Motorist Insurance and Underinsured Motorist Insurance, this type of insurance can provide coverage for non-economic damages which include pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish IF the injury victim obtained medical treatment and IF the injury victim suffered a permanent injury. The insurance laws and compensation laws in the State of Florida as to car accidents are quite confusing and complicated. While the law to some extent is based on common sense and fairness, there are many aspects of Florida law that are confusing and quite unfair.
Here is an example how Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Insurance can help an injury victim. Let's say that there is a car accident. The driver, who crashed into the rear end of the vehicle in front of him, received the traffic citation. Unfortunately, this driver failed to pay his insurance premiums and was uninsured. The injury victim had an insurance policy with the following coverages: PIP (Personal Injury Protection), Bodily Injury Insurance, Property Damage Insurance, Collision Insurance, and Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Insurance. Here is how the injury victim's policy would apply:
The PIP Insurance would pay for 80 % of the injury victim's medical bills up to $10,000. For many policies, the PIP would also pay for 60 % of the injury victim's wage loss; however, it should be noted that PIP has a combined limit (for most policies) in the amount of $10,000.
The Property Damage Insurance would not do the Injury Victim much good because it only provides coverage for the other driver's property damage if the insured is at fault. This coverage is mandatory but will not ultimately go to repair or replace the vehicle of the injury victim.
Collision Insurance is optional insurance coverage. It is important to have this coverage if there is a dispute as to liability OR if the other driver did not have any coverage. Under the fact scenario above, the injury victim can use his Collision Insurance to repair or replace his vehicle depending on the extent of the property damage to vehicle.
Bodily Injury Insurance is also optional coverage. In the situation described above, the injury victim cannot access his own Bodily Injury Insurance to obtain benefits or compensation for his injuries and damages. It just does not work that way. The Bodily Injury Insurance does not provide benefits to the insured driver. It should be noted that a motor vehicle owner must have Bodily Injury Insurance in order to purchase Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Insurance .
Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Insurance is optional coverage. Under the fact scenario above, the injury victim can get 80 % of his bills covered through PIP up to $10,000. Beyond that, the injury victim can look to his Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Insurance for compensation of the 20 % of medical bills that were not covered by PIP, other medical bills, future medical bills, pain, suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. Without any coverage for Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Insurance, the injury victim would have to look to seek compensation for the out of pocket medical bills and other damages directly from the at-fault driver and at-fault owner. In all probability, the owner of a motor vehicle, who does not bother to pay his insurance premium, probably does not have the assets to compensate an injury victim for his serious personal injuries and related damages.
Based in Jacksonville, Florida, David Wolf is a personal injury atttorney with over 27 years of experience. He understands the details and intricacies of insurance policies, Florida law, and how to obtain compensation for his clients. He is the author of 10 books including the book titled - Florida Automobile Accidents - Personal Injuries - Keys to Protecting and Enforcing Your Legal Rights. If you have a questions about a car accident, contact David Wolf for a Free Consultation. He is available days, nights, and weekends to serve the needs of his clients and prospective clients. David Wolf strongly believes in Giving a Voice to Injury Victims and Their Families. Get D Wolf - On Your Side - At Your Side.