What Happens if Someone not on Your Insurance Crashes Your Car in Tampa?

What Happens if Someone Not on Your Insurance Crashes Your Car in Tampa FL?
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Introduction

It’s a situation every car owner dreads – you lend your vehicle to a friend or family member, only to get a call that they’ve been in an accident. Or perhaps someone takes your car without permission and crashes it. Now you’re left wondering what happens when someone not on your insurance policy wrecks your car in Tampa, Florida.

Will your insurance rates go up? Who pays for the damage and injuries? Can you be held personally liable? What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?

At CDB Injury Law, our Tampa car accident attorneys understand how stressful and confusing this scenario can be. We’ve helped countless clients navigate the legal and financial aftermath of crashes caused by uninsured or unlisted drivers. In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of Florida insurance laws, what to expect in various coverage situations, and how having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side can make all the difference.

Florida Car Insurance Requirements

First, let’s review Florida’s mandatory auto insurance coverage. Florida is one of a dozen “no-fault” insurance states in the U.S. Under this system, drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which pays for their own medical expenses and lost wages after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.

According to Florida Statute 324.022, the minimum required car insurance is:

  • $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) benefits
  • $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage

First, let’s review Florida’s mandatory auto insurance coverage. Florida is one of a dozen “no-fault” insurance states in the U.S. Under this system, drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which pays for their own medical expenses and lost wages after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.

According to Florida Statute 324.022, the minimum required car insurance is:

  • $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) benefits
  • $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage

PIP will cover 80% of your reasonable and necessary medical bills and 60% of your lost wages, up to the $10,000 limit. However, there is a $2,500 cap on non-emergency medical treatment. PDL pays for damage you cause to someone else’s vehicle or property in a crash.

It’s important to note that while PIP covers your own injuries, it does not pay for injuries to your passengers, other drivers, or pedestrians. For that, you would need bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage. Florida law does not require BIL, but most insurance experts recommend purchasing limits of at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.

Permissive vs. Non-Permissive Use

The key factor in determining insurance coverage when someone else crashes your car is whether they had your permission to drive it. This is known as “permissive use.”

Permissive use typically includes:

  • Immediate family members living in your household, such as your spouse, children, or siblings
  • Friends, neighbors, or coworkers you allow to occasionally borrow your vehicle
  • A mechanic test driving your car for repairs or maintenance

Non-permissive use means you did not give the person consent to drive your car, such as:

  • Your vehicle was stolen by a thief
  • An excluded driver on your policy took your car without permission
  • Someone drove your car without your knowledge or consent

Insurance Coverage for Permissive Use Accidents

If you gave someone permission to drive your car and they caused an accident, your insurance will generally cover the resulting damage and injuries, up to your policy limits. The claim will go on your insurance record and could lead to higher premiums when your policy renews.

However, there are some exceptions where even permissive use may not be covered, such as:

  • The driver was unlicensed or had a suspended or revoked license
  • The driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash
  • The driver was using your vehicle for business purposes, like making deliveries or driving for a rideshare service
  • The driver intentionally caused the accident

In these situations, the driver’s own insurance would have to cover the accident. If they don’t have insurance, the injured parties would need to sue the driver personally for damages. Your insurance company may also reserve the right to subrogate, or seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver for any claims paid out.

Insurance Coverage for Non-Permissive Use Accidents

If someone took your car without your permission and got into an accident, your insurance likely will not cover any damage or injuries. The victims would need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, assuming they had coverage, or file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver.

The only exception is if your car was stolen. If you can prove your vehicle was taken without your consent, your comprehensive coverage would pay to repair or replace your car, minus your deductible. Comprehensive claims for theft generally do not raise your insurance rates.

Protecting Yourself and Others

To safeguard your financial well-being and legal rights in the event of an accident, especially one caused by an uninsured or unlisted driver, it’s crucial to carry adequate car insurance coverage. While Florida only mandates $10,000 in PIP and PDL, those minimum limits can be quickly exhausted in a serious crash.

Consider adding the following optional coverage to your auto policy:

  • Bodily injury liability (BIL) of at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, which steps in if you’re hit by a driver with no or insufficient insurance
  • Collision coverage, which pays to repair or replace your vehicle after an accident
  • Comprehensive coverage, which covers non-collision losses like theft, weather damage, or animal strikes
  • Medical payments (MedPay) coverage for health bills that exceed your PIP limit
  • Rental car reimbursement to pay for a rental while your car is in the shop
  • Roadside assistance for towing, flat tires, lockouts, and other emergencies

It’s also wise to be cautious about who you allow to drive your vehicle. Don’t lend your car to anyone who is unlicensed, inexperienced, or has a history of reckless driving or DUIs. If you have to let someone else drive, make sure they are fully licensed and insured.

When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or unlisted driver in Tampa, it’s in your best interest to consult with a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can identify all potential avenues of compensation and fight to get you the full and fair recovery you deserve.

Even if the at-fault driver had insurance, their coverage may be insufficient to fully compensate you for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. In that case, you may need to turn to your own UM/UIM policy or consider filing a personal injury lawsuit.

At CDB Injury Law, our seasoned Tampa car accident lawyers can:

  • Thoroughly investigate your crash to determine fault and liability
  • Identify all applicable insurance policies and coverage limits
  • Gather evidence to document the full extent of your damages
  • Negotiate aggressively with insurance adjusters on your behalf
  • Take your case to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached
  • Keep you informed and supported at every stage of the legal process

We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll a serious car accident can take on victims and their families. That’s why we offer free consultations, work on a contingency fee basis (meaning you pay no upfront costs and we only get paid if we win your case), and are available to answer your questions and address your concerns.

Conclusion

Dealing with the fallout of a car accident caused by an uninsured or unlisted driver in Tampa, Florida can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to face it alone. The compassionate legal team at CDB Injury Law is here to guide you through the complex insurance claims process and fight for the compensation you need to move forward.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a crash caused by someone not on your insurance policy, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Call our Tampa office anytime at (727) 656-7852 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys.

Remember, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Florida is two years from the date of the accident, so time is of the essence. The sooner you involve a lawyer, the better your chances of securing a favorable outcome.

Chris Debari

Chris Debari

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