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Florida State Legislators Tackle The Issue Of Uninsured Drivers

In our 30 years of practicing law in Southwest Florida, we have seen it time and time again. An innocent person is driving, gets hit by another driver, and is severely injured. Then when it comes time to file a claim, they learn the other driver doesn’t have insurance, leaving the victim with few options to pay for their injuries. Finally, Florida legislators may be doing something about this serious problem.

Florida Has a High Rate Of Uninsured Drivers

The state of Florida legally requires all drivers to carry of minimum car insurance policy that includes:

● $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
● $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL)

Even though there are heavy legal fees for not carrying these required insurance coverages, there are still many drivers who do not carry car insurance. A recent study by the Insurance Research Council found that nearly 13% of all drivers in the United States did not have insurance. Furthermore, they also found that in the state of Florida 26.7% of drivers do not have insurance. This makes Florida the state with the second highest number of uninsured drivers. This is a huge issue for Florida residents, especially if they get into an accident with one of these drivers.

What Happens If You Are Hit By An Uninsured Driver

Getting hit by an uninsured driver can be a financial nightmare. You do have some options. You can sue the person to cover the costs of the accident. However, most of the time if they don’t have insurance, it’s unlikely they have the money to cover the costs of your injuries. In most cases though, you will have to make a claim on your Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverages to pay for the incident. Combined with your PIP coverage, you may be able to pay for your accidents. Also, and this is critical, you need to notify your insurance company immediately that you’ve been hit by an uninsured driver. Many insurance companies have really narrow deadlines for reporting an accident with an uninsured driver.

What Do You Do About Uninsured Motorists?

As a motorist, there’s only some much you can do to protect yourself from uninsured motorists. Driving defensively at all times can help reduce your chance of getting into an accident with one of these drivers. However, sometimes accidents can’t be avoided. The only thing you can really do is to make sure that you not only carry UM coverage, but the premium is high enough to cover a catastrophic accident. It’s only a few dollars more a month, but can really be beneficial down the line.

How Florida Legislators Are Tackling The Issue Of Uninsured Drivers

Even though the insurance laws are strictly enforced by law enforcement officers, it’s hard to police to know when someone does not have insurance coverage. Many people will sign up for car insurance, get the proof of insurance, and then either cancel the plan or stop making payments. Representative Matt Willhite has introduced a bill to establish an online database of to track auto insurance coverage. There are 13 states across the country that have introduced similar legislation with great success. With an online database, police will be able to verify the state of insurance coverage on routine stops immediately. They can then penalize those who are breaking the law with license suspension and fines. The proposal is to have this database functional by 2021. Beyond just helping reduce the number of uninsured drivers, it can also help lower everyone’s insurance premiums state-wide because more people would be paying their fair share.

At All Injuries Law Firm, we know how financially damaging it can be when the at-fault driver has no insurance. We’ve taken on many cases like this in our 30 years of experience. Until legislators are able to implement a solution like the database, people will still be at risk. However, we can help. We know how to negotiate with insurance companies to get victims the financial compensation they need to cover their injuries, regardless of the other driver’s insurance status. If you’ve been hit by an uninsured driver, give us a call at (941) 625-HURT for a free consultation to see how we can help you.