Were you in a car accident in Florida? Did you have car insurance at the time? Ideally, you did, because driving with insurance in Florida is required by law. But, things happen and we are all human. After all, car insurance in Florida usually costs at least $3,000 per year. You might have missed a few payments and lost your coverage, but you still had to drive to work or pick the kids up from school, and got in an accident in the process.
Although you have technically broken the law, it’s not the end of the world, and the good news is you’re not going to jail. That said, there are consequences for driving without car insurance, especially when you’re pulled over for a traffic violation or get into an accident.
The biggest repercussion you face if you get into an accident without car insurance in Florida is not from the police, but rather from liability. Florida car insurance is generally intended to cover the individual with the insurance, regardless of who is at fault in an accident. If you don’t have it, the law makes things extra punitive. Not only do you need to pay your own bills out of pocket, you also become liable for damages to the other driver’s car and person, particularly if they sustained serious injuries.
You can also get sued in civil court. To avoid bankrupting civil court defendants who can’t afford to pay back the damages in full, Florida does have payment plan systems in place for indigent defendants. While you can represent yourself in civil court in Florida, it is very unadvisable to do so (and you will probably lose). The best way to secure your chances and avoid being faced with overwhelming crippling debts from damage awards is to hire an attorney who has your best interest at heart and a lot of experience with personal injury law.
As if that wasn’t enough, if the police are involved or get wind of the accident, you are probably going to lose your license. While not a permanent revocation, you may have to wait some period before reinstating your license, which will cost about $150. If this happens more than once, each successive reinstatement will run you around $500. And, though this might go without saying, you cannot get your license back without showing current proof of insurance.
What kind of coverage am I supposed to have in Florida?
The law requires that all drivers on the road have a car insurance plan that covers a minimum of:
- $20,000 per crash
- $10,000 liability limit for personal injury
- $10,000 liability limit for damage to property
So, if you don’t have insurance at all or you are underinsured, then as far as the burden of handling the financial costs of damage to your car (not to mention the other car) what comes into play is the fault vs. no-fault system.
Is Florida a “fault” or “no-fault” state?
Florida follows a policy known as “no-fault,” which means that when two cars get in an accident, the individual driver’s own insurance company will cover their own expenses. These expenses have a limit, of course. Most standard insurance coverage in Florida for drivers is going to take care of minor to moderate car repairs as well as bodily injury up to a point.
Am I still eligible to seek damages in court, even if I didn’t have car insurance at the time of the accident?
Although you will still face repercussions for driving without insurance, as described above, it doesn’t mean that your rights to take your case to civil court disappear. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you can sue for damages in court, even if you lacked coverage at the time of the accident.
The average settlement for car accidents varies from case to case. Click the link if you’d like an estimate of the potential value of your case.