The number of uninsured motorists are increasing at varying degrees on a national scale. According to the most recent study published by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) at 26.7%, Florida has the highest number of uninsured motorist in the nation. While the process and consequences are more clearly defined when both parties to an accident have adequate insurance coverage, it is less so for the uninsured. Although insurance coverage is a requirement for motorists in most states, the remedies available to an uninsured driver varies based on state laws. The compensation process is typically determined by either the “No-Fault” or the No Pay, No Play” or traditional rules.
Several states including Alaska, California, Iowa and North Dakota to name a few have imposed the “No Pay, No Play” law. This law usually enables an uninsured driver to be reimbursed for medical bills. In most instances however, it disallows recovery for non-economic damages for pain and suffering. The premise being that if an uninsured driver is not able to provide full compensation to another person, they should not have the right to receive the full benefits of someone else’s insurance.
Florida is among the twelve states such as New York, New Jersey and Hawaii that have implemented the “No-Fault” insurance law. This option was designed to minimize the number of long and costly court battles to determine who is at fault in an accident with injuries. Under the no fault system, vehicle owners are required to carry a minimum coverage for property damage liability (PDL) and personal injury protection. The No-Fault system allows a driver to receive compensation for lost wages, medical bills and rehabilitation costs without providing proof that the crash was caused by the other driver.
A 2017 study by the IRC also revealed that one in eight drivers involved in motor accidents in 2015 were uninsured. Uninsured drivers in a No-Fault state will most likely be penalized for driving without insurance. First and subsequent driving offenses also carry stiff fines, penalties and even jail time. Uninsured drivers may also face suspension or revocation of their driver’s license for periods from a few months to a year. However, if an uninsured driver is driving an insured person’s vehicle with their permission, they could be covered if they are in an accident.
As an at-fault uninsured driver, passengers in the other car may also be able to seek compensation through the judicial system. That means they can go after any assets you have such as savings, earnings from any future paychecks, property and in some cases; your home. In addition to facing criminal and administrative penalties, at fault uninsured drivers may also find it difficult to get insurance on their own in addition to paying higher premiums.
While an uninsured driver generally can expect fines, penalties and to receive a citation after an accident for driving without insurance, it does not preclude a legal recourse for injuries caused by a negligent driver. If as an uninsured driver you were not ”at-fault” and an insured driver caused an accident that resulted in serious injuries, you may be able to collect money from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If, the driver that caused your injuries was also uninsured, you may still be able to pursue a claim for compensation. In reality, not having insurance coverage does not absolve a negligent driver from liability. Keep in mind however that unless injuries sustained are severe enough to incur medical bills that exceed stipulated costs, the “No Fault” law limits your ability to sue. It may also restrict what you can recover from the negligent driver.
Learn what your rights are if you are an uninsured driver that has suffered severe injuries because of the negligence of another driver. Call for a free consultation today at (561) 655-1990 or visit our website.
About Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath
Conveniently located in West Palm Beach for 27 years, Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, LLP concentrates in Personal Injury, Wrongful death, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability and Auto accidents. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we specialize in helping victims and their families get fair compensation for injuries caused by the negligence or recklessness of others. Our main areas of practice include personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, and premise liability. We provide each client with the highest quality representation from a top Florida accident and injury lawyer.
Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath
515 N Flagler Dr, 10th Floor
West Palm Beach
Florida, FL 33401
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