Florida drivers are legally required to have car insurance. But despite the fact that the state’s minimum insurance requirements are incredibly low, many drivers are uninsured. If you’re hit by an underinsured or uninsured driver in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, then you may need to pursue compensation through an uninsured motorist claim.
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys can help you fight to get all of the insurance benefits to which you’re entitled. Co-founding attorney WM. Dennis Brannon is a former insurance defense attorney, which means he has insight into the hurdles you’re bound to face as you work to get the money you deserve.
Benefit from our experience and level the playing field as you fight to get the full value of your uninsured motorist claim in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Contact our law office or call (850) 863-5297 to arrange a free, no-obligation case evaluation today.
How Our Fort Walton Beach Car Accident Lawyers Can Help If You’ve Been In a Crash with an Uninsured Driver
Even though UM claims involve your own insurance company, it doesn’t mean that getting the money you deserve will be easy. They’re not on your side and are most interested in making profits – not making sure that you’re safe.
That’s where Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys can help. Our Fort Walton Beach car accident attorneys have 60+ years of combined experience and have won millions of dollars for crash victims and families in Northwestern Florida.
When you hire our AV-rated personal injury law firm, you’ll benefit from the knowledge and insight of a litigator who spent years defending insurance companies against UM claims.
That won’t just level the playing field – it’ll give you the edge you need to win.
While you focus on recovering from your car accident injuries, we will:
- Investigate the crash to determine who, other than the uninsured driver, could be at fault
- Notify your insurance company that you’ve been in an accident with an uninsured motorist and intend to submit a claim for damages
- Prepare a demand letter and support it with facts and evidence to ensure that your case is as strong as possible
- Handle negotiations with your insurance carrier
- Help you make difficult decisions, like whether to accept a settlement offer or push forward for a better result
If your insurance company refuses to cooperate or negotiate fairly, then our experienced Florida trial attorneys will be ready to bring your case to the next level.
How Many Drivers in Florida Are Uninsured or Underinsured?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, one out of every five drivers in Florida is uninsured. With more than 15.7 Million registered drivers in the Sunshine State, that means as many as 3.1 Million motorists are driving around without auto insurance.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Under Florida law, you’re required to purchase at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and $10,000 in property damage coverage. That’s it.
Some drivers don’t satisfy these low requirements. That’s where uninsured motorist (UM) coverage can help. Uninsured motorist coverage can be added to your existing car insurance policy. If you’re struck by an uninsured driver and they’re negligent, then your uninsured motorist coverage will cover the costs of your crash-related damages.
UM coverage doesn’t just apply to you. It also covers family members and passengers in your car.
It also applies when:
- You’re hit while riding a bicycle or as a pedestrian, or
- You’re in an accident with a hit-and-run driver.
Do I Have to Carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Florida?
No, but insurance companies are legally obligated to offer it to you. If you decline, you have to do so in writing.
What’s the Difference Between Stacked and Non-Stacked Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
There are two ways to add uninsured motorist coverage to your Florida car insurance policy: stacked and non-stacked.
Non-stacked Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Non-stacked UM coverage only applies to cars listed on your car insurance policy. You won’t get compensation under your uninsured motorist coverage if you’re hurt while riding your motorcycle or get hurt in someone else’s vehicle.
Non-stacked uninsured motorist policies are also capped at your UM policy limits. If you purchased $50,000/$100,000 in UM coverage for each of your three vehicles, then those limits are what would apply if you were in an accident.
Stacked Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Stacked UM coverage, on the other hand, can offer policy limits that are much greater. Let’s say you have three vehicles and purchase stacked coverage for the same amount: $50,000/$100,000. If you were hurt in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you’d be eligible to get up to $150,000/$300,000 because your UM coverage stacks. You multiply your policy limits by the number of vehicles that are covered. In this case, that’s three. So, $50,000/$100,000 times 3 is $150,000/$300,000.
Stacked UM coverage also applies if you’re hurt on your motorcycle or in someone else’s vehicle – including Uber and Lyft rideshare vehicles, taxis, and friends’ cars. Non-stacked coverage won’t.
What Benefits Are Available If I File an Uninsured Motorist Claim in Fort Walton Beach, FL?
You might think that you don’t need to carry UM coverage if you have health insurance. But it’s important to know that uninsured motorist benefits cover much more than your hospital bills and medical expenses.
If you file an uninsured motorist claim in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, you can get compensation for:
- Lost wages and income
- Nursing care
- Modifications to your home or vehicle that are necessary to accommodate a permanent impairment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
Getting money for these types of economic and non-economic damages can be incredibly helpful when you’re struggling with serious, life-threatening injuries after a car accident in Fort Walton Beach. Keep in mind that UM policies won’t cover the cost of property damage to your car or vehicle.
What Is My Uninsured Motorist Claim Worth?
Your uninsured motorist claim can be worth as much as your UM policy limits. Your insurance claim, altogether, can be worth as much as all of the coverage you have that will apply.
For instance, let’s say you carry minimum insurance coverage of $10,000/$10,000. You also added on non-stacked UM coverage with limits of $50,000/$100,000.
If you were hurt in a car accident with an uninsured driver while driving your vehicle, you’d be able to recover up to $70,000 in insurance benefits. ($10,000 in PIP, $10,000 in property damage, and $50,000 in UM).
Now let’s say you carry minimum insurance and added stacked UM coverage with the same limits – but you have two cars on your policy.
If you were hurt by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you’d be able to recover up to $120,000 in insurance benefits. ($10,000 in PIP, $10,000 in property damage, and $100,000 in UM). Remember, for stacked coverage, you get to multiply your coverage by the number of vehicles you have on the policy.
However, those are the maximums for what you could get f you were in an auto accident with an uninsured driver. Your case will ultimately be valued based on the extent of your injuries and the types of long-term consequences you’re likely to experience. If your damages are valued below your policy limits, then that value will be what your UM claim is worth.
What If My Damages Exceed My UM Policy Limits?
Adding UM to your insurance policy can help to make sure that you are covered in the event that you’re hit as a pedestrian or struck by an uninsured driver. However, there are times when the cost of your injuries – especially catastrophic injuries – will exceed your auto policy limits.
In that case, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue compensation directly from negligent parties and/or their insurance carriers.
Florida law does provide, however, that your injuries must be classified as “serious” before you’ll be able to file a third-party claim or lawsuit.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim For Uninsured Motorist Benefits in Florida?
If you’re in a motor vehicle accident that’s caused by an uninsured driver in Fort Walton Beach, you’ll have up to four years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Once four years go by, you’ll forfeit the opportunity to exercise this right and recover compensation.
Don’t let too much time go by without taking action.
The sooner you initiate the claims process, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to recover the compensation you deserve. Important pieces of evidence can get lost or destroyed over time. Witness memories fade. It can become more difficult to establish a link between your traffic accident and injuries.
By getting a jumpstart on your insurance claim, you’ll give your Fort Walton Beach personal injury lawyer the opportunity to get the full value of your personal injury case.
Call Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys For Help With Your Uninsured Motorist Claim in Fort Walton Beach, FL
Don’t let well-deserved compensation slip away. Don’t give insurance companies an advantage. Call Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys and get our respected legal team in your corner. We’re ready to help with your uninsured motorist claim in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
We offer a free consultation, so give us a call to arrange a time for yours today.