Uninsured / Uninsured Motorist Insurance Litigations
That Florida is a ‘no fault’ state is known to most of the people, every driver in Florida is required under law to have a personal injury protection. Most of the people don’t know that it is also one of the states, which has a high number of uninsured motorists. According to a study done by, Insurance Research Council, Florida had the 5th highest number of uninsured motorist among all the state in U.S. The estimates suggest that nearly 25% of the current drivers in Florida are uninsured. This basically means, if you or your loved one has to suffer serious injury due to a vehicular accident, in out of every 4 cases 1 will be with a driver who won’t be able to pay for your damages. Even though you can claim, there is no way you can be ever compensated for the damages you suffer other than an Uninsured motorist coverage. Sometimes even after having insurance, the insurance companies act in bad faith and only an experienced Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer can guide you in such cases.
Before moving on to Uninsured motorist coverage, let’s look at the other types of insurance coverage regarding car accidents –
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – Regardless of who was at fault a driver’s insurance company pays for the damages like medical bills, wages loss etc. It is mandatory for every driver in Florida to have PIP of $10,000 as prescribed in Florida Code §627.736. (or maybe $2,500.00 according to the new PIP law)
- Property Damage Liability (PDL) – If you or any family member covered by this insurance cause an accident in which someone’s property including car, belongings etc. were damaged. This insurance policy pays for those damages. PDL is also mandatory for every driver in Florida to carry with a minimum coverage of $10,000 as prescribed in Florida Code § 324.021.
- Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) – It covers the liability of you or family member covered under the policy causing injury to someone while driving which includes healthcare expense, funeral costs etc.
Uninsured Motor Vehicle Cover can be basically defined as Bodily Injury Liability with the roles reversed i.e. if another driver causes bodily injury to you through an accident, and that person is uninsured or underinsured, your Uninsured Motorist Cover pays for the liability arising out of your damages.
Most of the Insurance companies know that a cautious driver will not cause an accident most of the times and that’s why they push people to buy Bodily Injury Liability as the claims for those would be less in proportion. They also know that an uninsured, reckless driver has more chances to cause a car crash hence they refrain from promoting Uninsured Motorist Coverage, something we as Personal Injury Lawyers know from experience.
To resolve this anomaly Florida has legislation, Florida Code §627.727 prohibits insurance companies who sell Bodily Injury Liability to sell it without an equal uninsured motor vehicle coverage, unless the insured signs a form rejecting the coverage.
It is also worth to note that Florida is only state apart from New Hampshire in the country which hasn’t made it mandatory for drivers to have a Bodily Injury Liability Cover.
Most of the times the wordings of the insurance contracts are so ambiguous or the case is tangled in such a way that it becomes increasingly difficult to determine the exact rights and obligations of the policy holders and the insurers respectively. In such scenarios Declaratory Judgments are sought in order to resolve the uncertainty.
According to Florida Code § 86.011 “The circuit and county courts have jurisdiction within their respective jurisdictional amounts to declare rights, status, and other equitable or legal relations whether or not further relief is or could be claimed.”
For Filing a declaratory Judgments Parties need to show that the controversy exists which is justiciable. Declaratory Judgments are mostly sought in insurance litigations, especially those of Uninsured motorist due to the conflict which arises from Florida Code §627.727 which requires the insurance companies to provide the same amount of Uninsured motorist coverage as the coverage sought for Bodily Injury Liability. Only and only if the insured signs the prescribed form rejecting the ‘extra’ coverage, an insurance company is relieved of the requirement.
Sometimes Insurance companies deliberately act in bad faith or make their contract terms ambiguous in order to not pay the coverage. The courts in Florida have stated it many times that Uninsured Motorist Statute was enacted to safeguard cautious motorist from negligent actions of uninsured motorists. If a provision in an Uninsured motorist insurance policy is ambiguous, it would be construed in the favor of the policy holder like in Flores v. Allstate Ins. Co (Florida, 2002). An experienced Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer can help victims of accidents in which they were denied compensation even after having Uninsured motorist coverage, to fight against the injustice being done by the insurance companies.
If you have been in a car accident you need to speak to a personal injury lawyer, Call Mark Perenich today 727-386-9677