Articles Posted in UM Insurance

Car Accident Lawyer South Florida
Cobertura sin Seguro o UM-UIM, es un tipo de Seguro NO obligatorio en la Florida.

Los Conductores sin seguro, y automovilistas con muy bajos limites de responsabilidad civil por lesiones corporales, están por doquier en la Florida. De hecho, los conductores más peligrosos son los que no están asegurados.

Es de interes saber que Florida tiene una de las tasas mas altas de conductores que manejan sin Seguro, puede decirse que una de cada cinco personas que manejan en las rutas de la Florida carecen de todo tipo de proteccion, esto puede deberse a varios motivos pero el de mayor trascendencia es que los seguros solicitan para el otorgamiento del mismo una licencia vigente y este requisito no puede ser cumplimentado por muchas personas ya que los mismos no pueden acceder a obtener una licencia de conductor.

What can be more exhilarating than the wind through your hair and the adrenaline rush of a chopper hugging a country or deserted road?  Very little beats that thrill.  Unfortunately, the hazards of motorcycling might outweigh the fun riding one can be.  As a Miami Motorcycle Accident Attorneys, our firm has seen the aftermath of one of the less fortunate riders.  As a long-time resident of Florida, I am constantly amazed at how unaware of the surroundings many of our senior citizens are.  An 18-wheel tractor trailer “came out of nowhere.”  Translation – did not see a huge truck; what chance does the biker have to be seen by that very same driver.

What types of hazards are there?

Busy intersections are intersections are inherently dangerous places for all motorists, particularly when those intersections are busy. At an intersection, vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists are traveling across one another’s paths, often perpendicularly. In addition, while a two-way intersection is dangerous enough, many urban areas have five-way or even six-way intersections, often resulting in extremely complex traffic patterns that are difficult to anticipate.

As a practicing attorney dealing with car accidents in Miami since 1982 I have found that the most mischaracterized and misunderstood areas of the law is automobile insurance coverage.  Coverage.   often than not the client has been led into buying coverages that the agent suggests.  Just as often the agent will often advise against the purchase of UM coverage, commonly known as uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.  “Uninsured” is just that if you are involved with an uninsured driver or vehicle and you have purchased UM coverage you will be able to recover as if the ‘uninsured’ party was insured.  Underinsured is when the adverse party’s coverage is not adequate to compensate the injured party.   Again, the UM coverage will come into play as if the adverse party had the higher limit policy purchased by the injured party or insured.

The UM coverage is a problem due to the high number of uninsured or underinsured motorists in the south Florida area.  Many agents recommend against this coverage since it is not mandatory.  An agent recommending against this coverage (among others) in south Florida is ignoring the facts that approximately 25% of all vehicles in Florida are uninsured.

An equally egregious problem with agents is their zeal to sell a policy even if it does not meet the client’s needs.  Very often an agent will provide the absolute minimum coverage to make the sale.  Bodily injury liability coverage is not required to drive in Florida.  The real problem arises is when the driver who thought he had purchased full coverage purchased the minimum to legally operate a motor vehicle in Florida.  The agents rarely disclose all the negatives if a driver without bodily injury coverage is involved in an accident where there is bodily injury.  The main negative is liability of the offending driver.  The offending driver may lose their Florida Driver’s License without an agreement with the injured party.

As South Florida auto accident lawyers we are well aware of the pain and inconvenience that can come as a result of being involved in an automobile accident, even more so should the accident be caused by someone else’s reckless actions. Aside from the property damage sustained in an auto accident, being involved in an auto accident may cause a wide range of complex injuries. It is not uncommon for someone involved in a “low impact” auto accident to suffer from hairline fractures, broken bones, and injuries to the cervical, lumbar, or thoracic spine. Many times low impact accidents may not seem to reflect such injuries, but several factors including the persons age, health, and prior injuries play a big role on how his or her body takes an impact during a collision. High speed collisions on the other hand usually result in more severe injuries and may require surgical repair and extensive physical therapy.

Besides the pain and suffering that a car accident victim is subjected to, there are usually high costs associated with being involved in an auto accident. Both medical and property damage costs can exceed into the thousands of dollars as a result of a single auto accident. Most drivers here in South Florida are usually aware of this, which is why many responsible South Floridians seek out automobile insurance in the first place. What many South Florida drivers are unaware of is the importance of being protected against uninsured motorists. Florida law currently requires that drivers carry a minimum of ten thousand dollars in personal injury protection coverage and property damage coverage. However, there are no requirements that drivers carry bodily injury liability insurance or uninsured motorist coverage. As a result, there are countless motor vehicle accidents in which drivers and passengers sustain serious and permanent bodily injuries due to the negligence of others that do not carry bodily injury insurance coverage or the amount is insufficient for the damages they cause. This may leave a car accident victim, to not only deal with the pain and suffering of any related injuries caused by an accident, but also with the financial burden of covering the high costs of medical treatment for those injuries.

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As an accident attorney in Miami I always urge my clients to buy Uninsured Motorist (“UM”) and Collision coverage. Being a car accident attorney in South Florida makes one acutely aware of the dangers of not purchasing this sort of insurance coverage. The most common argument against purchasing UM and collision is cost. Of course, in this economy the tendency is to save anywhere possible. Not to mention the infinite amount of advertisements promising tremendous savings by buying this or that type of car insurance. My recommendation on this is not take advice from talking animals on TV, when it comes to your car insurance.

If you want to get reasonable rates look around or consult with an insurance agent, but do not leave out collision or UM. Collision insurance is extremely important. I have seen clients unable to go to work because they did not purchase collision insurance. The scenario usually turns on a client who is not at fault, has no collision coverage, and is trying to get compensated by the other person’s insurance company. Many insurance companies like to take their time “investigating ” an accident. This means that you could be without a car for weeks until the other person’s insurance company decides to get your car fixed or pay for a rental. In some cases, the other person’s insurance company may find that they have no duty to cover damage to your vehicle for one reason or another. So without collision insurance you may find that you will have to pay out of pocket costs to fix your car, even though you are not at fault.

It is no surprise with this economy that a lot of people are driving without insurance in South Florida. If they do buy insurance, then they try to save money by buying an insurance policy that does not cover bodily injury to third parties. The state of Florida only requires that drives purchase property damage protection (which covers damage to third party vehicles-meaning other vehicles, but their own) and personal injury protection. The state should require that everybody purchase bodily injury protection, but is simply not the case at this time.

The state also makes the roads more dangerous by not allowing undocumented immigrants to get a valid driver’s license. If undocumented immigrants cannot get a license in Florida, then the natural result is that the roads in South Florida are full of drivers without insurance. For that reason we urge the Florida legislature to change this stance.

It should be obvious given the state of the economy and the number of undocumented immigrants in the Miami area that buying collision and UM insurance is imperative. It will make life much easier should a car accident occur.
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You’re driving down the street and out of the blue another car slams into you. You are hurt, so what should you do? What options do you have? As a South Florida injury/accident attorney I encounter these questions from clients on a regular basis.

Regardless of fault, your insurance provides you with Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Florida car owners are required to carry a $10,000 PIP policy. If you are hurt in an auto accident PIP covers medical treatment and lost wages up to $10,000.00. PIP covers up to 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of you lost wages. Often the $10,000 PIP coverage is not enough. Besides PIP, which covers you regardless of fault for your medical treatment, there are other claims that you can make.

A. Claims against the at fault party/driver for property damage and bodily injuries.
Here we are going to talk about claims for your injuries. If the driver at fault has Bodily Injury Protection (BI) coverage, then in this scenario, you can make a claim against the at fault driver’s insurance company.

B. You are injured in a car accident in which you are not at fault and the other driver does not have insurance. Unfortunately, Florida law does not require BI coverage. So if the at fault driver does not have BI coverage, then you may have to rely on your own insurance.

If you have Uninsured Motorist Protection (UM) coverage then you can make a claim against you own insurance company.

If you do not have Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage and the driver at fault does not have BI protection, then there is no coverage for your injuries. You will most likely have to go after the other driver personally by filing a lawsuit or settling out of court.
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According to a study by the Insurance Research Council, one in six drivers may be uninsured by 2010. This is partly due to the economic down turn. However, the cause for lack of insurance becomes irrelevant when you or a loved one is insured or hurt in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident.

Things can get complicated if you have an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance. The fact that the person who caused the accident does not have insurance is generally indicative of that person not having means. Given the dangers of the road and the probability of having an accident with uninsured motorists it is very important to have uninsured/underinsured Motorist Insurance (“UM”) in South Florida.

Bodily injury, personal injury protection, property damage, and collision coverage will do little to compensate you or your loved ones if the person who caused the accident has no insurance. Your insurance company will not compensate for bodily injury even if you have all the above coverage and have paid your premium on time for the last twenty years. It seems unfair, but that is the reality. So in order to appropriately protect yourself and your family you should buy UM coverage. An insurance agent will be able to show you that the change in cost from a policy without UM insurance and with UM insurance is minimal. This is one of those circumstance where the benefit is far greater than cost.

When buying UM Coverage it is best to buy the stacking kind. This means that if policy has $100,000 UM coverage for each vehicle, and two (2) cars are under the policy, then stacking UM coverage would provide for $200,000 policy limit. However, if this policy was non-staking then it would only provide for $100,000 policy limit. Thus, although it may cost a little more it wise to buy stacking UM insurance. It must be noted that some insurance companies issue policies that do not allow for stacking. You must read your insurance policy with care. If you have any doubts or questions always consult with a South Florida Personal Injury/Accident Attorney.

The Florida legislature has given tremendous importance to UM coverage. Indeed, it is so important that Florida law demands that insurance companies offer it. If insured does not want to buy it, then he/she must sign a waiver. UM coverage must be provided by the insurance company if they cannot provide a copy of this waiver.
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