As Denise McGriff was stopped at a red light in Broward County, she was confident that she had done everything she could do to protect herself and her family from being injured in a rear-end car accident. She was behind the wheel of a brand new Toyota truck with her seatbelt fastened, and had purchased what her car insurance agent described as “full coverage.”
As she carefully waited for the light to change, her life was about to change as well. A young woman driving her mother’s 12 year-old-car, lost control and slammed into her from behind. Mrs. McGriff was taken via ambulance to the nearest emergency room. Over $10,000 worth of diagnostic tests revealed a serious knee injury requiring surgery.
At least once a day we are hired by people who have been hit by a car, truck or van to investigate their claims. One of the first things our lawyers do to evaluate a Florida car accident is obtain and verify insurance coverage. Our clients tell us that they have “full coverage” relying on their trusted insurance agents to have protected them properly. In fact, “full coverage” is far from “required coverage” in Florida.
Car owners in Florida are only required to have Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP) and Property Damage (PD). PIP only pays the medical expenses of the driver and any passengers regardless of who is at fault. If a passenger is injured, the driver’s insurance will cover them when a passenger does not have their own PIP.
Unlike most states, Florida does not mandate vehicle owners to carry Bodily Injury Insurance. This means that only hospitals and doctors are guaranteed payment. Without Bodily Injury Insurance the truly injured rarely obtain compensation for pain and suffering. Why do you think those clinics are always advertising on the radio for car accidents? They know regardless of who is at fault, there is $10,000 worth of PIP benefits available in nearly every Miami car accident.
As a personal injury lawyer in Miami, I recommend that if you own or operate a car, truck, or van in Florida, that you verify your insurance coverage immediately and confirm that you in fact have purchased Uninsured Motorist Coverage. In Florida, Uninsured Motorist Coverage is so valuable that the law requires anyone not purchasing it to sign a rejection letter, verifying they understand the significance of refusing it.
Compounding the confusion, Florida car insurance companies do not sell Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage separately. One must first buy Bodily Injury Coverage to be entitled to purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage. For those of us trying to save money, it becomes easy to say no to the additional expense. This is a mistake that can and does often end up costing the injured compensation in the future.
Mrs. McGriff unfortunately learned the truth about Florida’s car insurance scam. She believed her insurance agent had sold her “full coverage.” The driver who hit her did not have the Bodily Injury Coverage. Nor did Mrs. McGriff purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage. This left Mrs. McGriff without compensation for her pain and suffering and her needed surgeries.
Do not let this happen to you or your family! It is very important to confirm your insurance before an accident as you cannot retroactively purchase this vital protection. There are a lot or personal injury law firms in South Florida. Aronfeld Trial Lawyers believe that by following this simple advice, we can provide the best legal protection for our clients before tragedy strikes. Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and the Keys are some of the most dangerous places in Florida to drive. Purchasing Uninsured Motorist Coverage is the only way to ensure that should an accident occur, you and your family will receive the compensation you are entitled.