How Does Insurance Work to Cover Damages When You Are in a Car Accident?
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. However, in serious injury cases, you can sue at-fault drivers for damages.
To sue for pain and suffering, mental anguish and inconvenience because of bodily injury, your injuries must qualify as serious under Florida Statute 627.737. The statute establishes the threshold for serious injury as the following:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
Your attorney must prove the driver was at fault for the other driver’s insurance company to cover damages.
When another motorist crashes into you and you discover the driver is not insured, should this concern you? Under Florida law, you carry no-fault insurance. Isn’t that enough? Sometimes it is, but when your injuries are serious — probably not. However, when the other driver carries no insurance, there is usually no legal recourse against the other driver. A driver who can’t afford auto insurance probably has no assets. In situations like these, you can rely on uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. When you carry UM coverage, your insurance company pays for damages caused by a UM.
You also run into problems covering your serious injury costs when other drivers are underinsured. Underinsured means their insurance policy limits are not high enough to cover your damages. Similar to UM coverage, carrying underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance makes your insurance company liable for paying the damages not covered by the UIM’s insurance.
Unfortunately, with UM and UIM coverage, your own insurance company sometimes becomes the adversary through:
- Delayed payment
- Denied payment
- Allegations that injuries are not serious
- Insufficient settlement offers (lowballing)
Putting an experienced law firm on your side can level the playing field. Accident and injury lawyers who know how to deal with insurance companies develop effective case strategies and can leverage a fair settlement, or take the insurance company to trial.