This is the second installment of our two-part blog post discussing potential insurance issues that face car crash injury victims. While we have attempted to discuss significant insurance coverage issues, every situation is unique. If you have specific questions about your specific situation, we invite you to contact us to speak to an experienced Miami auto collision injury lawyer.
Uninsured Motorists/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage: Stacked vs. Unstacked
Although Florida law requires all motorists to carry BI liability insurance or a bond if the driver is at-fault in an accident, many drivers fail to comply with this mandate. When the negligent party that causes a car crash is an uninsured driver, an injury victim might need to pursue a first party insurance claim against his or her own insurance carrier unless there are other viable defendants. Many people presume that their insurance carrier will cooperate since policyholders pay premiums for this form of financial security. Unfortunately, the insurer-policyholder relationship becomes adversarial when an insured needs to pursue a first party insurance claim under his or her uninsured motorist (UM) coverage pursuant to the injury victim's own policy.
The risk of being injured by a drunk, speeding, or careless driver who is uninsured is significant because Florida has 3.2 million uninsured drivers according to the Insurance Research Council, which is the second highest number of uninsured motorists in the U.S. Further, motorists often are uninsured because they face barriers to obtaining coverage that include high insurance rates based on their driving record, which might include moving violations, DUI convictions, and past motor vehicle accidents. In other words, uninsured drivers who lack the ability to pay a damage claim also tend to be the most dangerous drivers on Florida roadways.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage provides compensation for past and future medical costs, past and future lost income, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering that is not included within PIP coverage. This form of coverage also can provide a form of compensation if you are injured as a pedestrian, bicyclist, or passenger in another person's vehicle. Although UM/UIM insurance is not required under Florida law, this form of coverage can be extremely valuable especially "stacked coverage." If you purchase "stacked" coverage, your UM/UIM policy limit is multiplied by the number of vehicles that you own. While "unstacked" UM/UIM coverage will be subject to a lower premium, the policy limit is not multiplied if you include several vehicles under the policy.
Our lawyers assist personal injury victims in this situation by negotiating with their insurance company. When an insurer refuses to fulfill its obligations, our law firm also can explore the possibility of pursuing a lawsuit against the insurer for breach of contract and potentially insurance bad faith. If the other driver has inadequate insurance, underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage can provide another source of recovery beyond the limited coverage of an at-fault driver.
Because our law firm represents car accident victims on a regular basis, our accident lawyers see the devastating consequences when there is insufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate victims and their families. Generally, we recommend carrying a minimum of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage.
Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Seeking Maximum Recovery for Damages Sustained Due to Negligence
If you or your family member has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Miami or the surrounding areas of Florida, our Miami-Dade Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano can explain your options and tenaciously pursue the full compensation you deserve. For over 130 collective years, our firm has assisted accident victims in personal injury and wrongful death actions across South Florida. We seek to obtain compensation for your tangible and intangible damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our skill and dedication has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida's top firms by the Miami Herald. Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.