Fiol Law Group|Posted in Car Accidents on January 6, 2021
A hit-and-run accident means the at-fault driver flees the scene of the car accident without stopping to see if anyone is injured or exchanging his or her information, as the law requires. After an ordinary car accident in Florida, both drivers exchange insurance information for use during the claims process. If one driver commits a hit-and-run, this could make the recovery process more difficult.
What Is Florida’s No-Fault System?
Florida is one of the only true no-fault states in the country. In a no-fault state, the blame for a car accident will not matter. All parties involved in the crash will seek benefits from their own insurance providers, regardless of who was at fault. In a fault state, the fault is significant.
If you get into a collision in a fault state, you will file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for benefits. In Florida, however, fault generally does not come into question.
The only time you may need to determine and prove fault after a car accident in Florida is if your injuries meet the state’s threshold. You have the power to act outside of Florida’s no-fault system if your injuries are serious enough.
They must be debilitating, disabling, or significant scarring or disfiguring to meet this threshold. Examples include broken bones and traumatic brain injuries. Only in this scenario may you hold the other driver liable for your losses. Otherwise, you will file a first-party insurance claim with your own provider.
Required Car Insurance in Florida
Due to the no-fault system, the car insurance requirements in Florida are different than in most other states. Rather than only requiring bodily injury and property damage liability insurance, Florida requires personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP insurance covers a driver’s losses even when he or she did not cause a car accident.
In Florida, all motor vehicle drivers must purchase at least $10,000 in medical PIP coverage and $5,000 in death benefits.
If you get into a car accident that only causes minor injuries, you will call your own auto insurance provider and request coverage for your medical bills and other losses through PIP insurance. If you have serious injuries, you will pursue benefits from the other driver.
If the other driver is not available, you may not have enough insurance to cover the full extent of your losses. You may need to seek compensation through another outlet in this scenario.
Who Pays for a Hit-and-Run?
In a hit-and-run car accident, the at-fault driver’s identity typically remains a mystery. Although it is possible for police to track down and identify the negligent or reckless driver, this is often not what happens.
Instead, injured crash victims need to look elsewhere for insurance coverage. The first option is typically the injured party’s uninsured (UM) or underinsured motorist insurance (UIM).
Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance on your own policy pays for your remaining losses if the liable party does not have enough insurance to cover 100% of your bills and expenses. Unfortunately, not every driver carries this type of insurance. It is not a required type of coverage under Florida law.
If you do have UM or UIM insurance, you can use this to pay the bills after a hit-and-run car accident. Your insurance company will treat your claim as if the driver did stop at the scene but did not have insurance.
You may have to file a personal injury lawsuit if you were injured in a hit-and-run accident and do not have the right type of insurance to cover your losses. A lawsuit could be a viable option if someone other than the hit-and-run driver contributed to the crash, such as the manufacturer of your vehicle or the government.
Discuss your hit-and-run accident case with a Tampa car accident attorney for more information about your recovery options.