If you have been injured in an auto accident, recovering your losses will most likely involve dealing with the insurance companies. This process can be frustrating – to say the least – and it can also be dangerous if you do not have a clear understanding of your rights under your insurance policy and Florida law. For this reason, it is advisable to work with an experienced attorney who can deal with the insurance companies on your behalf, and who can help calculate the full extent of your financial and non-financial losses.
In any case, learning more about your insurance claim will help you feel more comfortable during the claims process. Here is a brief introduction to some of the key information you need to know:
Types of Auto Insurance
Under Florida, all drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage. There are additional coverage options as well, and determining what coverage is available to you is one of the first steps toward recovering just compensation:
- Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) – This is fault-based insurance that pays for victims’ injuries. In Florida, all drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in BIL coverage per person ($20,000 per accident).
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – This is no-fault insurance that you have to cover your initial medical expenses and loss of income in the event of an accident. Under Florida law, all drivers are supposed to carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) – If you have a fault-based claim but the at-fault driver’s insurance is inadequate (or non-existent), then you can file a claim under your own UIM policy if you have one (UIM insurance is not mandatory in Florida).
Florida’s “No-Fault” Insurance Law
Florida is among the remaining few “no-fault” insurance states in the country. This means that, after an accident, you must first file a claim under your PIP policy. If your PIP insurance does not fully cover your losses (as is often the case) and you have suffered a “significant” or “permanent” injury, then you can seek additional compensation under the at-fault driver’s BIL policy or your UIM policy.
Insurance Covers Financial and Non-Financial Losses
If you are limited to filing a PIP claim, then your recovery will only include compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages. However, if you have a BIL or UIM claim, then you are entitled to seek full compensation for your financial and non-financial losses. Along with medical bills and lost wages, financial losses include medical devices, non-medical services (such as paying someone to mow your lawn) and other out-of-pocket expenses. Non-financial losses include pain, suffering, emotional distress, loss of society and consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Insurance Covers Current and Future Losses
In addition to covering your immediate losses, BIL and UIM insurance provide coverage for future losses as well. As a result, before you even consider accepting a settlement, it is crucial to make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of all of the ways your injuries will impact your life moving forward.
Questions? Call or Click for a Free Consultation
We provide personalized and experienced legal representation for auto accident victims in Florida. If you would like more information about how our lawyers can help maximize your financial compensation from the insurance companies, we encourage you to call our Crestview, FL law offices at 850-682-2757 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.