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Every state requires drivers to purchase an automobile insurance policy and maintain coverage while driving. Driving without insurance can lead to significant legal trouble including fines and other penalties. It’s also important to recognize the problems uninsured motorists cause for other drivers.
At the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, we want Fort Lauderdale, Florida, residents, and drivers throughout the state to understand what happens when you find yourself in an accident with a driver who does not have an automobile liability insurance policy.
Most automobile insurance policies offer the chance to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage exists to pay for medical expenses and property damage after an accident in which the at-fault driver does not have automobile insurance. If an at-fault driver doesn’t carry insurance, then he or she likely does not have the assets to pay for the damages after causing an accident. Filing a lawsuit against such a driver will often prove fruitless since they likely don’t have enough to cover your damages anyway, so the best course of action in this situation is to file a claim under your own auto insurance policy’s uninsured motorist provision.
Insurance policies are basically paid promises. You pay your premiums to maintain coverage in case of an accident, and the insurer has a legal obligation to process your claims for coverage in good faith. After filing a claim for coverage, the insurance company typically sends a claim adjuster to investigate the claim to ensure its validity under the provisions of the insurance policy.
It’s vital to understand that insurance companies exist to make money, and paying out on claims loses money. They will generally look for any reason to justify lowering a claim amount or outright denying a claim, but they must do so honestly.
When insurance companies engage in dishonest or unethical practices to lower claim amounts, this is known as acting in bad faith. If you encounter bad faith insurance practices, it’s crucial to connect with a reliable attorney as soon as possible. In many cases, a simple letter to the insurance company claiming bad faith is enough to encourage a more favorable claim determination, but an attorney will be able to navigate the process fluently.
Most car insurance companies require following strict filing requirements for claims and typically place deadlines for notifying the insurance company about claims. In some cases, these deadlines are as few as 30 days, so it’s imperative that you act quickly to file your uninsured motorist claim. Failing to meet the necessary deadlines can lead to a denied claim.
Uninsured motorist claims function very much the same as any other car accident claim except that the person filing it files it against his or her own insurance company. After supplying the insurer with all the necessary documentation and evidence, you and your insurer must come to an agreement on a settlement amount. The downside to this is that you cannot file a lawsuit against your insurer if you cannot come to a mutually agreeable solution. Instead, such cases move to binding arbitration.
Binding arbitration is more informal than a trial but the results are much harder to contest. The losing side of a binding arbitration case doesn’t have many options for appeal, so the arbitrator’s final decision will most likely stick. Considering all the possible outcomes of an uninsured motorist accident, working with an experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney is a very wise choice.
If you’ve had a car accident with an uninsured driver in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, reach out to the team at the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs. We offer free, no-obligation consultations to new clients, so let us meet with you to discuss your uninsured motorist incident and we’ll let you know how we can help.