If you were injured in an auto accident due to someone else’s negligence you may have a claim to recover damages for your injuries, lost wages, future medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering. Many people do not take the proper steps to take to have a successful claim. The insurance company is telling them one thing, while their friends and family are telling them another thing. The best thing you can do is contact an attorney with experience handling personal injury cases. One of the most difficult aspects of a case, that are attorneys at the Brooks Law Group have experience in, is determining which parties to go after to fully compensate an accident victim.
The first and most logical claim is against the at fault driver’s bodily injury coverage under their automobile insurance policy. In Florida, drivers of registered vehicles with 4 wheels are required to carry a Florida Insurance auto policy. Some people get confused as to why we go after the insurance company and not the driver personally. Insurance is a system which redistributes risk. Instead, of a driver being personally liable for all damages that result from a wreck, they buy insurance, pay a monthly premium and the insurance company can then cover these losses. Therefore, the insurance company is contractually obligated to cover any injuries due to their insured negligence. The amount of money available is determined by the coverage bought by the at fault driver.
The problem is, 1 in 4 drivers in Florida do not have auto insurance even though it is against the law. This is second worst in the country behind Oklahoma. Many clients walk into our office severely injured and the other party does not have any insurance or enough coverage to cover the losses. This is when we look to UM coverage. On every insurance policy the insured has the option to choose Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage (UM Coverage). We advise all clients to elect this option under their auto policy. This is a way to protect yourself. UM coverage is under your policy, will cover any damages not paid by the at fault drivers insurance. People do not like “going after” their own insurance company because it was not their fault. However, you have paid for the coverage, the insurance company has made a profit off of you, and you have the right to be compensated.
Many clients want to know why we don’t go after the at fault driver personally. Litigation against a person can become very expensive and time consuming. And in many circumstances, the reason defendant does not have any insurance is that they cannot afford it. If they cannot afford auto insurance, it is unlikely they have many assets to go after. Therefore, even though you may be able to obtain a judgment against the at fault driver, it is unlikely you actually recover any money from the litigation. This is why many claims against individuals are difficult to collect on.
Also, there are many protections in Florida that protect individuals that do have some assets. Florida has what is called “Homestead Protection.” Homestead Protection protects individual’s homes, if the home is located within Florida and the individual makes it their permanent residence. Even if the at fault driver owns a home it is highly unlikely we could go after the home or assets unless they own other real estate or have large bank accounts.
The best thing you can do is contact an attorney with experience handling personal injury cases to help you through these difficult and complex issues. Our attorneys at Brooks Law Group will use their education and over 24 years of experience to determine the best route and best party to sue under the circumstances. No two personal injury cases are alike and you need experience on your side. We have found insurance coverage available when other lawyers have found none. We have the results and the satisfied clients to prove it.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury or a death due to the negligence of another, please call us at (863) 299-1962