If someone’s negligence in an auto accident caused your injury, then you may have a claim to recover personal injury damages for past lost wages, loss of future salary, past medical expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, disability, physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, inconvenience, aggravation of a physical defect and past and future loss of the enjoyment of life sustained.
There are many potential parties to make a claim against if you’re injured in an auto accident. One of the sources that may cover your damages is any available bodily injury liability coverage under an automobile insurance policy.
The liability insurance policy states that the insurer will pay damages that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay because of bodily injury or property damage to others caused by an accident resulting from the ownership, maintenance, or use of the insured motor vehicle.
But who is an insured in an auto insurance liability policy?
The insured under a liability policy includes the named insured and usually the spouse of the named insured. Sometimes the named insured will be defined in the policy as the named insured and the spouse. In order to be an insured, the spouse of the named insured must be a resident of the insured’s household when the auto crash occurs.
Exception – People in Military
In Florida, normally a member of the military can use his or her original house as his or her residence in an insurance policy.
Example – Negligent Driver is in Military
John is driving a car and crashes into Barbara in Homestead, Florida. John is a named insured on his auto insurance policy which covers his car in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. John is a member of the military living at a military base in Homestead, Florida. John is not living at the address in Fort Lauderdale that his auto insurance has on file. The accident happened when John was not performing military duties.
Barbara can make a claim against John’s liability policy even though John’s auto insurance has his car listed as being in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and John does not live there. This is because John is a member of the military so he is generally allowed to declare his home as his residence for purposes of an insurance policy.
Barbara may also make a claim against John’s spouse’s policy because John in most policies an insured includes the spouse of the named insured.
It is important to know this because perhaps you are injured and send a letter to the negligent driver asking for certain insurance information. He or she tells you he or she doesn’t own a car and therefore has no insurance. In that scenario, we send a resident relative affidavit to the negligent party which specifically asks whether he or she is a member of the military, for the name of his or her spouse and the contact and policy information for his or her spouse’s insurer.
Perhaps the spouse owns a vehicle and you can make a claim with the spouse’s auto coverage. Do not expect the negligent driver to give you this information voluntarily. The at fault driver may not know that his wife’s policy covers you if he or she causes injury since he or she either did not own a car or live with the spouse at the time of the auto accident.
When I use the term auto accident in this article, I am referring to a crash involving a car, truck, tractor-trailer, or motorcycle.
Exception – College Students
In Florida, normally a college student can declare their original home as his or her residence for purposes of an insurance policy. College students and military kids may be considered as insured under their parent’s insurance policy.
Example – Negligent Driver in College Covered Under Parents’ Policy
Mike is driving a car and crashes into Barbara in Tallahassee, Florida. Mike is 18 years old and he is attending college at Florida State University. Before Mike left to college, he was living in Miami with his parents. Barbara may make a claim against Mike’s parents’ auto policies even if Mike doesn’t own the car that he is driving.
This is because Mike is considered an insured under his parents’ insurance policies since he is away in college. He is allowed to declare his original home (in this case his parent’s home) as his residence for purposes of an insurance policy.
So let’s say Mike was driving his friend Juan’s car at the time of this crash. Since Juan owned the car, Juan is liable for Mike’s negligent driving. Juan’s insurance company is listed on the crash report and/or they contact you. Do not expect the adjuster for Juan to tell you that you may be able to make a claim under Mike’s parents’ policies. Why not? Because adjusters are overworked and it takes them more time to relay this information to you.
Juan’s insurance adjuster also may not contact you because, in part, Mike may not know that he is covered under his parents’ insurance policies since he either did not own a car or live with his parents at the time of the car accident. Thus, Mike may not have told this to Juan’s adjuster that Mike lived with his parents’ prior to attending college.
Do not expect the insurance adjuster to voluntarily give you Mike’s parents’ insurance company information. In this case, we send a resident relative affidavit to the negligent driver, in this case Mike. It specifically asks whether he or she is in college, for the contact information of his or her parents and his or her parents’ insurance information. We may also send one to the owner of the car whose driver’s negligence caused the crash. The owner or his adjuster may put pressure on the negligent party to give us this information.
What is Legal Residency?
When dealing with liability insurance, normally a person is a “resident” if he or she lives in a place and does not intend on leaving. Legal residency is different from “domicile.”
It is also important to know who is a resident relative in a liability insurance policy.
Were you injured in an accident?
Check out some of the many Florida injury cases that we have settled, including but not limited to car accidents, slip and falls, and cruise ships accidents. We want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida, or on a cruise ship or boat. If you live in Florida but were injured in another state I may be able to represent you as well.
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