Car ownership is a must for many Americans, which is why the U.S. has a whopping 222 million registered drivers. In all but two states (New Hampshire and Virginia), these drivers need to have car insurance. That means in the 48 other states, drivers have to carry the minimum auto insurance coverage.
The thing is, as much as 13% of U.S. drivers don’t have auto insurance, even if it’s a legal requirement in their state.
Of the states with the most uninsured drivers, Florida has the highest, with a 26.7% uninsured rating.
What exactly happens if you get hit by an uninsured driver in Florida though? What should you do right after the incident?
That’s what we’re here to share with you, so be sure to keep reading!
What It Means to Get Hit by an Uninsured Driver in Florida
In Florida, motorists need to have personal injury protection (PIP) with a coverage of at least $10,000. The state also requires them to have at least $10,000 property damage liability (PDL) coverage. Without these minimum Florida auto insurance requirements, a license plate would be invalid.
Keep in mind that Florida is a no-fault state though. Meaning, whoever caused the crash, their car insurance policy should provide personal coverage.
What happens if you get hit by someone without insurance in the state then? So long as you have PIP, your own policy should cover your medical bills and lost wages. It’ll cover you up to your policy’s limits.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care if you get into a car accident with someone without insurance. There are limitations to the state’s no-fault law, which may make the other driver liable.
For example, the “at-fault” driver causes the other driver to sustain permanent injuries. In this case, the driver who caused the accident will already be exempt from the “no-fault” statute. The victim (the driver who wasn’t at fault) can then file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Aside from the permanent loss of a vital bodily function, one can also sue for permanent scarring. Disfigurement and death are also exemptions to the no-fault law.
All that said, be sure to follow all the steps below right after you get into an uninsured motorist accident.
1. Dial 911 Right Away
Shock and numbness are two of the first things you may feel after a car collision. You may be in too much shock to feel those broken bones or to notice bleeding. Some injuries, like whiplash and head concussion, can also cause delayed symptoms.
That’s why your first contact should be 911, especially if the accident was more than a fender bender. If you have other people in the vehicle, check them for injuries too.
2. Call the Police ASAP
Call the police and tell them the exact location of the crash. Regardless of the severity of the accident, you should report it to the authorities. This will let them assess the incident to confirm who’s at fault.
This also ensures proper, complete, and official documentation of the collision. The report is even more crucial if the at-fault driver causes you permanent injuries. The report will serve as proof of who caused the accident in the event you file a lawsuit against the other driver.
3. Record as Much as You Can Remember About the Accident
As you wait for law enforcement, write down as many details of the accident as you can. Start with the other vehicle’s license plate number, make, and model. Take as many photos of both vehicles in various angles too.
It’ll also be helpful to recall details of what was happening before the crash. Remember the direction you and the other driver were coming from. Any small detail that you think is pertinent to the accident can help the police in their investigation.
4. Look for Witnesses
If the police aren’t at the scene yet, look for any potential witnesses to the accident. They can be bystanders, pedestrians, or even owners and employees of a shop near the scene. Ask them for their contact details and permission to receive calls from your insurer.
5. Exchange Information with the Other Driver
Even if the other driver has no car insurance, you should still get their information. This should include their complete name, address, contact information, and vehicle registration details. Ask the responding police officers’ their name and badge number as well.
6. Get in Touch with Your Car Insurance Company
Call your vehicle insurance provider and tell them you got into a road accident. Let them know right away that the other driver has no insurance. If the police have confirmed the other driver was at fault, share this with your insurer too.
Be prepared to provide as many details about the accident as you can to your insurance provider. Even in a no-fault state, auto insurers will still need information to assess the cost of the accident. Give them all the notes and photos you took to provide them with the proof they need.
7. Go for a Medical Check-Up
As soon as the police allow you to leave, pay your primary doctor a visit. Your physician may ask you to undergo tests, especially for concussions and whiplash.
Since Florida is a no-fault state, you’d have to use your own PIP coverage to cover your medical costs. If your injuries, however, are too severe and permanent, you may be able to sue the other driver.
If you have uninsured motorist insurance, it’ll pay for the costs that go beyond your PIP coverage. For instance, if your medical bills amount to $15,000, your UM insurance will cover the excess or up to its limits. It’s not required, but it can be helpful since Florida has a high uninsured motorist rate.
Protect Yourself and Others with Adequate Florida Auto Insurance
Keep in mind that from January to April 2019 alone, 131,805 crashes have already occurred in Florida. In just four months, these accidents have already caused a whopping 92,315 injuries.
That should tell you how common road accidents are in the state, and how important car insurance is. This way, if you get hit by an uninsured driver, you don’t have to shoulder the burden alone.
So, make sure you get the right amount of car insurance coverage to protect yourself! Connect with us now to explore your auto insurance coverage options. You can also check our other insurance products for personal and property protection.