AUTO ACCIDENTS WITH UNINSURED OR UNDERINSURED AT FAULT DRIVERS
OBTAINING COMPENSATION AFTER AN AUTO ACCIDENT.
Under normal circumstances, when you and your passengers are involved in a motor vehicle accident, the driver of the other vehicle and you will be able to exchange insurance details, and if the other driver is at fault, and has sufficient insurance available, you will be compensated for damages to your vehicle, and any injuries that you and passengers sustain.
Unfortunately however no all accidents are as clear cut as the scenario above. I get many clients in my office who are severely injured, but cannot obtain compensation from the at fault driver because that driver either had no, or very limited amount of liability insurance available to compensate them. In Florida, the law does not require motorists to obtain liability insurance, thus, if you are involved in an accident with one of those motorists, you cannot claim any money from their policy. It is my experience that those who do not have any liability insurance often have little or no personal assets so that if you sue them, you will get almost nothing even if you win the lawsuit.
UNINSURED/UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE (UM)
This is why I strongly encourage all my clients to obtain at least $25,000.00 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This is often referred to as "UM" coverage in your policy documents. If you are involved in an accident where the other at-fault party fails to compensate you, you can at least look to your own insurance company for medical bills and pain and suffering arising from the accident. You, and members of your household can all benefit from this coverage. Therefore, if you have a family member living at home who gets involved in an accident with an uninsured/underinsured motorist, and who does not have their own insurance policy, they can look to your policy for UM coverage.
HIT AND RUN ACCIDENTS
UM coverage is highly recommended in cases where there was an at fault driver who caused the accident, but fled the scene without providing you their details. If you file a police report and immediately report the matter to your own insurance company, they are obligated to investigate, and pay you compensation under the UM insurance policy.
Even if you are a pedestrian, walking, skating, jogging, or anything of the sort, and are struck and injured by a hit and run driver, you may still be eligible for compensation under your own UM policy. In order to do so, you must report the hit and run incident to the police when it happens, and must at your first given opportunity provide the details to your own insurance carrier in order to be reviewed for compensation.
MORAL OF THE STORY?
If you can afford it, you should always ask for and obtain UM coverage for yourself, household members, and passengers in your vehicle. My experience has been that UM coverage is not that expensive and it really covers you in most cases where the other driver has no coverage, or is a hit and run driver.