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In the sunny state of Florida, where the palm trees sway and the beaches beckon, life can sometimes take a sudden and unexpected turn – especially when it comes to car accidents. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of a collision, the mandatory Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage might fall short of addressing the full spectrum of damages. Gibbons & Gibbons wants to help shed light on a vital aspect of protection often overlooked by many: Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Coverage. As we have witnessed firsthand, the lack of this coverage can leave victims in dire straits. In fact, in the last few months, we have had to have very difficult discussions with several clients who did not elect to have UM or UIM coverage on their auto insurance policies and were in very bad motor vehicle accidents caused by the negligence of others.  If there is no bodily injury coverage or very minimal coverage on the at fault vehicle, those client’s are up a creek without a paddle.  

Understanding the PIP Limitations

Florida law mandates every driver to carry PIP coverage, a safety net designed to provide swift financial assistance for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of fault. However, the catch lies in its limitations – a cap set at $10,000. This may seem like a significant sum, but in the aftermath of a serious accident, the costs can skyrocket, leaving victims with a gaping hole in their finances.

The PIP coverage primarily addresses immediate medical expenses and lost wages on a "no fault" basis, but what about the extensive damages that often accompany a severe accident? The road to recovery involves more than just the initial medical bills and wage losses; it encompasses future medical care, potential long-term wage reduction, and intangible yet significant non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.

The Unseen Threat: Uninsured Drivers

In Florida, it's not uncommon to encounter drivers who operate their vehicles without insurance. In the unfortunate event of a collision with an uninsured motorist, the absence of liability coverage can leave you stranded, grappling with the financial aftermath of someone else's negligence.

Consider the scenario where you find yourself the victim of a car accident, enduring injuries that require extensive medical treatment. If the at-fault driver lacks insurance, you may be left with limited options for compensation. This is where Uninsured Motorists Coverage (UM) becomes your lifeline.

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Want to discuss how Gibbons & Gibbons can help if you’ve been in a car accident? Call or text us today! 727-633-0000

Uninsured Motorists Coverage (UM):

UM coverage acts as a safety net, filling the void when the at-fault driver is uninsured or under-insured. It steps in to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages that the uninsured driver would otherwise be responsible for. In Florida, where approximately 26.7% of drivers are uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute, the importance of carrying UM coverage cannot be overstated.

At Gibbons & Gibbons, we have witnessed the distressing aftermath of accidents involving uninsured motorists. Without UM coverage, victims often are unable to secure the compensation they need and deserve. It's not just an added layer of protection; it's a fundamental necessity in Florida with so many un-isured and underinsured motorists operating vehicle on our roads and highways.  

The Underestimated Risk: Underinsured Drivers

While having insurance is a legal requirement in Florida, the state only mandates a minimum coverage amount for PIP benefits only. Unfortunately, this minimum may not be sufficient to cover the extensive damages resulting from a severe accident. The law does NOT require all drivers to carry bodily injury or BI coverage.  As a result, many drivers go without BI coverage or carry minimal limits coverage such as 10/20 ($10,000 per person/ $20,000 per accident.)  Enter Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UIM).

Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UIM):

UIM coverage becomes crucial when the at-fault driver's insurance falls short of covering the full extent of your damages. If you find yourself in a situation where the responsible party's coverage is inadequate to meet your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages, UIM coverage bridges the financial gap.

In Florida, where minimum liability coverage may not be enough to cover the aftermath of a serious accident, UIM acts as a financial safety net. Our legal experts at Gibbons & Gibbons have encountered numerous cases where clients, despite being diligent in carrying insurance, faced the grim reality of insufficiency when it came to recovering damages from an underinsured motorist.

Conclusion:

The importance of Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Coverage cannot be overstated. While PIP provides a baseline of protection, it often proves insufficient in addressing the full range of damages following a serious accident. With the prevalence of uninsured and underinsured drivers on Florida's roads, the risk of being left without adequate compensation is a genuine concern.

Gibbons & Gibbons have seen the tangible impact of these limitations on our clients. Through our experiences, it becomes evident that UM and UIM coverage are not just optional add-ons but indispensable shields against the unforeseen challenges that may arise on the road in Florida.

As responsible drivers navigating the picturesque highways and byways of Florida, it is imperative to reassess your insurance coverage. Consider this not just as a legal obligation but as a proactive step toward securing your financial well-being in the face of uncertainty. Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Coverage is not merely a choice; it's a strategic investment in your safety and peace of mind on the Sunshine State's roads.

Gibbons and Gibbons have partnered with Big Man Big Heart and would like you to STEP UP and HELP SUPPORT BJ Green, a disabled 5-year-old boy, and his parents to assist them in purchasing a wheelchair-accessible van. Big Man Big Heart founder Dillan Gibbons is supporting this fundraiser to raise money to assist the nephew of former Florida State running back Ryan Green – Dillan’s former teammate at St. Petersburg Catholic High School – in obtaining the necessary funds for his parents to purchase a wheelchair accessible van.

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