Who Is Responsible For Paying For Damages From My Car Accident?
A lot of my clients come to their initial consultation with me with the concern that the driver who caused the accident did not have any insurance.
What is going to happen after every car crash or car accident is that the investigation police officer is going to prepare a Drivers Exchange of Information. This is a one-page form that literally just exchanges information of each of the drivers involved in the accident. One bit of information it is always going to have is what insurance company the other driver has.
Now sometimes in Florida, the party will have only the bare minimum “Florida No-Fault” or PIP insurance and property damage property coverage. But you won’t know that at the time. The only time that you are going to know that the person is totally uninsured is if the office marks that on the Drivers Exchange of Information and is given a ticket because they did not show proof of insurance. If that happens, my clients ask “who is going to fix my car?” and “who is going to pay my medical bills?” At a very minimum your No-Fault PIP insurance, and we have a video on the benefits specifically provided by your PIP policy, but your own PIP is $10,000.00 policy of insurance and it pays for 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages and 100% of your replacement household services. So for example, you break your leg in an accident and you can’t mow your yard for a month or two, your doctor writes a report or a letter, and your PIP policy would pay for you to have your replacement service – so someone can come mow your yard while you can’t.
But what else do we do? If we have a situation where we believe the other party does not have car insurance, what we are specifically looking for is bodily injury liability coverage (BI). That is the type of coverage the other person would have to pay for your damages: your medical bills over and above your PIP, your lost wages over and above what your PIP pays, your pain and suffering. If that person does not have bodily injury liability coverage, then we’re going to look to see if you have something called uninsured motorist coverage (UM). And the uninsured motorist coverage is probably the most important auto insurance coverage you can have in Florida. Because there are so many people out there without bodily injury liability coverage. Your uninsured motorist coverage essentially steps into the shoes of what the other driver should have had. And will pay for those damages such as pain and suffering, the medical bills, lost wages and any further damages that you are reasonably certain to incur.
The other thing we look at if the officer notes on the Drivers Exchange of Information that the other person did not have insurance, we do an investigation to determine whether that person may have been on the job at the time of the car accident. If the person was in the course-and-scope of his employment at the time he caused a car crash, then his employer would be responsible for his actions. Then we would look to his employer’s car insurance to determine what if any coverage they have.
So those are all the difference scenarios involved in what insurance coverage we look for when a client comes to us and we are trying to figure out who is going to pay for their damages.