Legal Question in Personal Injury in Florida

My son (a minor) was a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in an accident and he was injured. The driver of the other vehicle was cited and was determined to be the "at fault" party but their insurer is only offering $10K saying that's all their client was insured for. How else or where else can I turn for recovery? The driver of the vehicle he was a passenger in? Can I sue the "at fault" driver directly? 10K will likely barely cover his medical costs. And why am I required to file a PIP claim with my insurance company when he wasn't even in any of my vehicles? Thank you

Asked on 4/03/12, 2:30 pm

6 Answers from Attorneys

Christopher Roberts Ewusiak & Roberts
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Sorry to hear about your son's accident. You do have options. First, you can sue the at fault driver directly and try to recover additional funds from him/her. That can be problematic if he has no assets. The other option is something called underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. Hopefully, you, your son and/or the driver/owner of the vehicle in which your son was a passenger have underinsured motorist coverage with our own insurance company. This type of automobile insurance coverage is intended to address precisely this problem you are experiencing, where the at fault driver has insufficient insurance to cover the loss. We would start with requesting the policy declaration for the driver of the vehicle in which your son was a passenger -- his/her UM coverage would cover your son in this instance if the coverage was in place.

PIP goes with the individual because it is no fault insurance. That is why you will need to set up a claim with your own company (I am assuming your son was a named insured on your policy).

If you would like to talk to a lawyer directly, email me and we'll set up a time to talk: chris@erlitigators.com. I offer a free consultation and I explain your options. You can learn more about me on our website, www.erlitigators.com. I am a 20 year laywer and I routinely handle automobile accident claims. I personally handle all of my own cases. Whatever you decide to do, I hope things work out.

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4/03/12, 2:40 pm
David Slater David P. Slater, Esq.
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If either you or your host vehicle has underinsured motorist coverage (more than the limited $10,000) you can make an underinsured claim.

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4/03/12, 6:22 pm
Leland Garvin Garvin Law Firm
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To add to Christopher's answer above; PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection and it is insurance that is purchased for you and your resident relatives personally and it follows you regardless if the vehicles that you are in. You may have heard that Florida is a "No Fault" state and while that is true, is is only true up to the the first $10K of damages (in your case the hospital bill). As Christopher stated there may be additional sources of recovery that must be investigated prior to cashing the check or signing any release.

I am here in Broward and would be happy to review the case for you; if it turns out that the $10K is the only coverage available I would agree not to take a fee on that money but only the money that has been recovered in excess of that amount.

Feel free to give me a ring at 954.524.2424 if you would like to discuss this matter further.

Best of luck and sorry to hear about your situation,

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4/04/12, 7:00 am
Jason Neufeld Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA, a personal-injury law firm
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PIP is referred to as "no fault" insurance because of just that...it doesn't matter who is at fault in causing the accident. 80% of the first $10,000 in medical bills (soon to be $2,500 -with exceptions- due to the infinite wisdom of our legislature) is covered by YOUR policy. This is to ensure that you get easy and quick access to medical care for your immediate needs, rather than risk waiting for lawyers to argue over who is at fault.

While you can go after the guy who hit you (that only had $10,000 in coverage), the question really is: does it make sense to do so. If the guy has an insignificant amount of assets, you may be successful in obtaining a judgement for well over $10,000...and be able to collect zero.

This is why we all have to protect ourselves. The way we do that is by making sure we have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. If you have UM coverage, after obtaining the $10,000 policy from the liable party, you would be able to seek additional funds from your own insurance company.

Good luck to you.

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4/04/12, 7:01 am
Michael Tobin Michael M. Tobin, P.A.
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You obviously have no understanding of the insurance laws. The prior lawyers are all correct.

Seek legal help! While you are at it, call your insurance agent and add Uninsured Motorist Protection to your policy in the highest limits you can afford. You have learned a valuable lesson that most people have inadequate insurance or NO iliability insurance. You and your family have not been "vaccinated" and may be injured again in an auto accident.

Unfortunately I have had many repeat clients over the years with two or even three injuries .I have collected variously $100,000, $300,00, $600,000 and $900,000 on UM coverages. I carry one million on my family cars as I was an insurance agent before going to law school. The premium charge is remarkably cheap.

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4/05/12, 8:52 am
steven lavely Lavely & Whyte
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You have options available; many lawyers will review your sons claim free of charge to discover if there are other avenues of insurance coverage available. There are too many details to include in this posting.

I can be reached @ steve@lavelylaw.com I'm on the West coast of Florida and I presume you are not, but I can answer your questions. I am a board certifed civil trial awyer which means I can call myself an expert in civil trial.

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3/25/13, 1:05 pm

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