Why isn’t my attorney getting me more money?
All car accidents are unique. The reason you may not be able to get more money isn’t always clear, but a possible answer is “there is no more money to go after.”
Why is there no more money to go after?
What is “recoverable” in an accident largely depends on the insurance policy at play. You may be hit by someone with Geico, State Farm, or any other insurance company, but that doesn’t mean they have enough coverage.
There is no requirement a driver carry insurance to cover injuries he may cause to someone else as a result of a crash. The only requirement is that the driver cover HIMSELF OR HERSELF in the amount of $10,000 should THEY suffer injuries in a crash. The only other requirement is the driver carry $10,000 to cover any physical damage he or she causes to property (your car/truck, street signs, bushes, etc.). So it is clear, should another driver carrying Florida’s minimum required amount of coverage end up hitting you, they will pay you nothing in the event you are injured.
If the driver decides to purchase a $10,000 liability policy as part of the required insurance, that means, even should you be severely injured, that is all you will be able to receive for your injuries, under most circumstances. It’s important for you to realize, if that driver purchased $10,000 to cover you, there’s only another $10,000 to cover everyone else involved in your crash.
Furthermore, keep in mind, Florida’s mandatory amount of $10,000 to cover property damage is the maximum amount you will receive if your $50,000 automobile is totaled. In that event, YOU will be responsible for the other $40,000!
Now you know the reason why we emphatically stress purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your OWN policy. That way, if you are injured in a crash, you can look to your own insurance company to cover your injuries. Again, we cannot emphasize enough the purchase of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to protect yourself, and if you drive an automobile worth more than $10,000, you should give serious consideration to purchasing collision insurance on your own vehicle.
Can’t we go after their house?
No. No. No. If their house is their “homestead” it is completely protected from any attempt from us to seize it. In fact, there are very few assets you can pursue in Florida for compensation. The bottom line is, most people are what we call “judgment proof” because almost no one has “seizable” property of any kind. This limits what you can recover from the person individually to the point where attempting to sue them would result in you spending a lot of money, and being unable to collect anything from them.
What can I do to protect myself?
As said above, the best way to protect yourself from an uninsured driver is to purchase uninsured motorist (UM) protection coverage. It is possible you’ve never heard of this coverage before, because agents tend not to push it. In fact, agents will try to get you to reject uninsured motorist coverage by telling you it’ll help save you a few bucks on your premium. Our recommendation, get at a minimum $100,000, stacked (call us for info), in UM coverage. However, it’s always a good idea to buy as much as your finances allow you to better protect yourself.
It’s possible you might never need it. The truth is, driving without UM coverage is like gambling with your life, and the house has a 70% advantage over you. We, unfortunately, are forced to turn away seven out of 10 people who walk through our door because the at fault driver had no liability coverage, and the victim did not carry UM coverage. It seems unfair, and that’s because it is, which is why you must protect yourself from the negligence of others.
Not sure if you have the right coverage? Contact us with a copy of your policy and will gladly let you know whether or not you are adequately protected. Injured? Give us a call. We can help! 800-332-1992
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Articles on this site are not binding legal advice and are being provided for educational purposes only. Laws change constantly, so articles on this site should not be relied on when making legal decisions. For the most current information, please contact our office.