Even though Florida law says that every driver should carry at least some auto insurance, in reality, there are thousands of drivers on Tampa Bay area roads who are not insured at all. In addition, thousands more only carry the bare minimum insurance. What this means to you is, if you are injured in a car accident, you may have to use your own insurance to pay your medical bills, lost wages, lost ability to work, and other damages. But what type of insurance should you carry to give yourself the protection you need?
Due to the many uninsured and underinsured drivers out there, virtually every Tampa auto accident lawyer will recommend that you carry a significant amount of uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) protection insurance. By purchasing these policies—which often only cost a few dollars a month—you and your Tampa accident attorney will have a policy to pursue compensation for your injuries if a driver with no insurance (or little insurance) hits you.
To maintain a valid car tag and registration in Florida, drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 property damage liability (PDL) insurance. Personal injury protection, or PIP, insurance covers 80 percent of your medical expenses and 60 percent of your lost wages, up to the $10,000 limit, no matter who is at fault in the accident. Therefore, if you are injured in an accident, your own PIP insurance would be the first policy to pay toward your medical bills.
One possible drawback to these insurance requirements is that $10,000 does not go very far. Sometimes your emergency room bills alone will total more than $10,000. So once your PIP insurance is gone, what is the next step for you and your Tampa auto accident lawyer? If the accident was the other driver’s fault, then the at-fault driver’s insurance likely would be the next policy in line to compensate you for your injuries. However, if the at-fault driver is not insured or only carries his/her own PIP insurance as mandated by Florida law, you are out of luck unless you carry UM and UIM insurance.
With UM and UIM insurance, claims that exceed your own PIP and the at-fault driver’s insurance will be covered up to the limits of your UM/UIM policy. Often, UM/UIM policies are one of the only coverages available for Tampa personal injury attorneys when they make a claim for their clients.
To speak with a Tampa auto accident lawyer about the insurance policies that may be available in your case—including UM/UIM coverage—please contact the law firm of Clark & Martino today for a free initial consultation.