Can I Recover for My Injuries After a Hit-And-Run Accident in Florida?
Updated: Jan 26
Unfortunately, car accidents happen. When a car accident does occur, most people do the right thing by staying at the scene, exchanging information, talking to the Police, etc. But what happens when the person who caused the car accident decides to leave the scene before you can get their information, and before the Police arrive? Far too often we talk to people who have been injured in a car accident where the at-fault driver ignores his/her moral obligations and chooses instead to drive away not knowing the extent of the damage they have caused. In such a case, the question we get asked the most is “Can I recover for my injuries after a hit-and-run car accident?” The simple answer to this question is maybe. If you are in a Florida car accident and you don’t know the identity of the driver that hit you, you can only recover for your injuries if you have the right kind of insurance coverage.
What Are the Different Insurance Coverages in Florida?
There are various kinds of insurance coverage that you can purchase that will protect your vehicle, protect you and your family, and that will protect others in the event you were to cause a car accident. The list of the various coverages are as follows:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP);
Bodily Injury; and
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
The first two coverages on this list provide coverage for property damage to your vehicle, and for other vehicles if you were to cause a car accident. Collision coverage is just as it sounds. Collision coverage provides coverage for your vehicle and others in the event of a collision. Comprehensive coverage, however, only covers your vehicle in the event of damage by something other than a collision (theft, fire, vandalism, etc.). The rest of the coverages deal with injuries. Personal Injury Protection coverage, or what is more commonly referred to as PIP, is no-fault insurance. This is insurance that you buy that will cover you for 80% of your medical bills and/or lost wages up to a limit of $10,000, regardless of your fault for the accident. When you are injured in a Florida car accident, this insurance coverage will be primary to all others, meaning it will be the first insurance coverage to apply.
Bodily injury insurance is coverage you can buy that is meant to protect others in the event you cause an accident and injure someone. This insurance is also designed to protect you from a financial standpoint, as the insurance will protect your personal assets up to the amount of the coverage limit. For example, if you have $10,000 in bodily injury coverage, you will be protected up to that amount, and the insurance company will also provide you with a lawyer to represent you. As you can see, the more coverage you have, the more you will be protected.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is also insurance that you can buy, and it is designed to protect you and your family in the event someone crashes into you and injures you, but they either do not have bodily injury insurance coverage, or they do not have enough bodily injury coverage to pay for your injuries. If this is the case, and you have purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you can then turn to your own insurance company and make a claim for your injuries.
Required Insurance in Florida
In the State of Florida, you are only required to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and collision coverage. You are not required to buy comprehensive coverage, bodily injury coverage, or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work in Florida?
Getting back to the original question, that being whether you can recover for your injuries after a hit-and-run accident, the answer to that question is yes if you have purchased uninsured motorist coverage. In the event of a hit-and-run car accident, the at-fault driver will automatically be considered uninsured, meaning there is no bodily injury coverage to cover for your injury. Since you were smart enough to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, you can then turn to your own insurance company to make a claim. Your insurance company will then stand in the shoes of the at-fault driver. This means that your insurance company can assert any defense against you that the at-fault driver would have had available to him/her resulting from the car accident. So, if you make such a claim, don’t be surprised if your own insurance company starts blaming you for the accident.
At SouthShore Injury Attorneys, we believe that the best client is an informed client. If you have questions about your Florida auto accident case, you can download our Free Report – Things You Must Know If You Were In a Car Accident – which is available at our website, or you can click the links provided. You can also contact us at (813)419-3866.