In order to understand whether you can have a case against your uninsured motorist (UM) auto insurer, you need to know what is considered an “uninsured motor vehicle.”
This is because you won’t be able to get damages from your UM auto insurer unless an uninsured motor vehicle is responsible for your injuries.
Florida Statute 627.727(3) states that an “uninsured motor vehicle” includes a motor vehicle that is insured and the liability insurer:
- (a) Is unable to make payment with respect to the legal liability of its insured within the limits specified therein because of insolvency;
- (b) Has provided limits of bodily injury (BI) liability for its insured which are less than the total damages sustained by the person legally entitled to recover damages; or
- (c) Excludes liability coverage to a nonfamily member whose operation of an insured vehicle results in injuries to the named insured or to a relative of the named insured who is a member of the named insured’s household.
Example #1 – 627.727(3)(a)
You are in your car and you are hit in the rear by another car in Miami (or any city in Florida). The car that hit you has liability coverage with a small auto insurer that has just filed for bankruptcy.
If you are injured, you can make a claim against your UM auto insurer because the liability insurer is insolvent (“broke”).
This is true even if the Florida Insurance Guarantee Association (FIGA) agrees to provide liability coverage for the insured.
Example #2 – 627.727(3)(b)
You are driving your car and a car that runs a red light in Coral Gables – or city – in Florida hits you. Your wrist is fractured and you have surgery (a metal plate and screws inserted) on it.
The at-fault driver has $50,000 in BI liability coverage on his auto insurance policy.
Because the total damages are worth more than $50,000, you can make a claim against your underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage on your auto insurance policy.
If your case is worth $200,000, your UIM insurer will pay you $150,000.00. The formula is:
Total Settlement with UM insurer = Value of Personal injury case – Bodily injury liability limits
I settled a case for $200,000 – with similar facts as Example #2 – for a client who fractured her hand and had surgery.
Can You Make a UM Claim if You’re Hurt While in an Off-Road Vehicle?
No. Auto insurance policies will say that UM coverage is allowed for a non-owned vehicle if it is one designed for use mainly on public roads.
Can You Make a UM Claim if You’re Hurt in an Accident Caused by a Dune Buggy Driver?
No. Even if a dune buggy is modified and licensed so that it can be driven on public roads, it isn’t designed for use mainly on public roads.
Thus, you can’t make a UM claim if you’re hurt while in a dune buggy. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. v. Becraft, 501 So.2d 1316 (Fla. 4th DCA 1986)
Do You Have a UM Claim if You’re Hit By an Off Road Motorcycle on a Dirt Bike Trail?
No. Even if the motorcycle that hit you was registered and titled in Florida but wasn’t licensed for use on public highways, you can’t make a UM claim. Carguillo v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 529 So. 2d 276 (Fla. 1988).
This is because the owner of the off-road motorcycle isn’t required to maintain liability insurance on the cycle because it is not a motor vehicle under Section 324.021(1).
We want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida, or on a cruise ship or boat. We also may be able to represent you if you live in Florida and were injured in another state. Call us now at (888) 594-3577 to Get a Free Consultation.