Its no laughing matter. Auto insurance contracts promise coverage limits for bodily injuries caused by a covered driver.
In Florida the insurance coverage one purchases to cover injuries caused to another is referred to as Bodily Injury or BI insurance.
Zero Coverage: A Florida driver may have as little as $0 of BI coverage leaving people injured by his/her negligence with little or no chance of recovery unless the injured party has un/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage (See your insurance agent today to purchase UM coverage).
Not Much More Than Zero Coverage: Many Floridians have slightly better BI coverage listed as $10,000/$20,000 (10/20) for Bodily Injury. This means that the most the insurance company will pay to an individual injured party is $10,000 even if his/her injuries are life-threatening AND the most the insurer will pay to all injured parties in a single wreck is $20,000.
Hope it is a Georgia Clown Car: Georgia has greater coverage limits of $25,000/$50,000 (25/50) called Liability limits (there are residency rules and time limits for changing vehicle registration and insurance when moving from state to state - blog for another time). In an interesting twist, Florida drivers who venture into Georgia and cause a wreck with injuries may, under very particular circumstances, see their BI coverage raised to the Georgia limits for covered wrecks.
So, the moral is: When you are hit by a clown car and 9 people pour out of the offending Toyota Corolla holding their necks. First, you should be glad you read this blog and called your insurance agent to purchase UM coverage and Second, you should call an attorney to protect your rights and access to your newly purchased UM coverage.
Why Do I Need an Attorney? The BI coverage from all at fault parties must be exhausted before an injured party can access his/her UM coverage. As long as there is BI money left on the table none of the injured people can get to their UM. A skilled attorney can navigate the mess that is Florida and Georgia auto insurance law. Being involved in a wreck in either state is not a windfall or a lottery ticket but as a person injured in a wreck you have rights to compensation for your injuries. An attorney can protect that right.
This is not legal advice but advice to purchase UM insurance and call an attorney if involved in a wreck... especially one with a clown car (Not an attorney with a clown car but in a wreck with a clown car).
(904) 422-4323 in FL
(404) 421-4233 in GA
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Attorney Erik Rosskopf
An active member of the Florida and Georgia bar associations, he practices in Jacksonville Florida handling cases throughout North Florida and Georgia.