Tampa Accident Attorney: Can You Still Sue if You Don’t Have Insurance?

Most people know that it’s against the law to drive without insurance. However, our Tampa car accident lawyers also understand that things happen. You need to know that you are still allowed to sue the other driver for damages, even if you don’t have insurance.

Florida Law Requires That All Drivers Carry Auto Insurance

Like every other state, Florida does require motorists to carry auto insurance. If you get behind the wheel without insurance, you’re technically breaking the law. Of course, it’s one thing if you’re aware that your policy has lapsed. It’s another story if you had no idea at the time.

One of the things the defendant’s lawyer will point out is that you were violating the law at the time of the crash. However, they will be hard-pressed to prove that this had anything to do with the accident itself.

Florida Statute 324.021 Requires That All Drivers Maintain Minimum Coverage

According to Florida Statute §324.021, all drivers, be they personal or commercial, are required to carry auto insurance. The statute even delineates how much coverage you must have.

Specifically, Statute 324.021 states that all drivers must carry the following minimum coverage amounts:

  • $10,000 Property Damage Per Accident
  • $10,000 Personal Injury Protection
  • $20,000 Personal Injury Coverage if 2 People are Injured

You don’t have to worry too much about the specific amounts. Insurance carriers will not sell you a policy for less than the minimum amounts required by law.

If You’re Caught Driving Without Insurance, There Are Strict Penalties

If you’re caught driving without insurance in Tampa, Florida, there are stiff penalties. For example, your driver’s license will be suspended for up to three (3) years. In addition, you’ll have to pay a reinstatement fee of up to $500, depending on whether it’s your first, second, or third offense.

Our Tampa Car Accident Attorneys Understand That There May Be a Reason Why You Are Uninsured

It would be easy for our car accident lawyers in Tampa to judge somebody who doesn’t have auto insurance. However, we also understand that things happen in life. People make mistakes. Just because someone doesn’t have insurance, that doesn’t mean they should be denied coverage if they’re hurt in an accident.

Our Tampa accident attorneys have represented plenty of people in the past who didn’t have insurance. They weren’t bad people. They had also been seriously injured in a crash that wasn’t their fault.

Some Drivers Don’t Realize Their Insurance Has Lapsed for Non-Payment

Some of our clients have admitted that they simply didn’t realize their policy had lapsed. The most common reason for your policy to be terminated is non-payment. If you hadn’t realized that your payment wasn’t processed on time, does that mean you should be denied damages?

You May Have Thought Your Premium Was Due at a Later Date

Our Tampa accident attorneys have also handled cases where clients simply had the due date wrong for their insurance payment. They thought they had another few days or weeks to remit payment. This kind of thing can happen to anyone.

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Just Because You Don’t Have Insurance Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Protected by Florida Tort Law

Despite what the other driver’s lawyer may think, you can’t be denied damages simply because you don’t have insurance. Of course, your car accident lawyer in Tampa will still have to prove that the other driver caused the crash.

In addition to proving fault, your Tampa accident attorney must also prove your specific damages. Florida is an at-fault state when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. This means that you won’t be entitled to personal injury protection. However, you will be covered by the defendant’s insurance for property damage and bodily injury damages.

Your Car Accident Lawyer in Tampa Knows the Defendant’s Will Claim That You Were at Fault

If you get into an accident without car insurance, it is almost a given that the defendant’s lawyer will claim you were at fault. Even if they can’t prove that you physically caused the crash, they’ll say you should be denied damages.

The attorney’s reasoning will be that, since you violated the law, you aren’t entitled to damages. The good news is that your car accident lawyer in Tampa knows the law doesn’t work that way.

It is Doubtful That Not Having Insurance Had Anything to Do With the Crash

When you think about it, not having insurance probably has no impact on the crash itself. If you did have insurance, would that have prevented the defendant from crashing into your car? No, it probably wouldn’t have.

Your Tampa accident attorney understands this. They will make this argument to defeat the defendant’s claim that you were at fault. This doesn’t mean you won’t be found partially at fault. You could’ve done something else that contributed to the accident.

Even if You’re Partly at Fault, Your Tampa Accident Attorney Can Still Demand Damages

Even if the defendant can prove that you were partly at fault, you may still be able to collect damages. According to Florida Statute §768.81, a plaintiff can still collect damages, even if they were at fault.

The statute does state, however, that your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, imagine you sued the other driver for $100,000. The court finds that you were 20% at fault because your brake lights were out. Your damages would be discounted by 20%, or $20,000.

Hire a Tampa Accident Attorney So the Insurance Company Doesn’t Take Advantage of You

It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to try to intimidate car accident victims. When they know you don’t have a car accident lawyer in Tampa, they may be tempted to deny your claim.

Once you let them know that you’ve hired a Tampa accident attorney, they may change their tune a bit. They know they can’t intimidate your lawyer. While they may not be willing to pay your claim in full, they will be more inclined to settle.

This is why we recommend that you contact a car accident lawyer in Tampa sooner rather than later. The last thing you want to do is sign a settlement release without having an attorney review it.

We do offer new clients a free, initial consultation. We understand that it can be scary to hire a lawyer, especially when you aren’t sure if you need one. However, being represented by a Tampa accident attorney can make the difference between having your claim approved or denied.

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