Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance: May 2009 Archives

May 12, 2009

Oakland Park, Florida Car Accident Kills Passenger

Aracely Mendoza of Miami was killed in an auto accident on I-95 in Broward County on March 27, 2009 after her car was struck by Davydson Soares of Pompano Beach, Florida in what ultimately constituted  a hit-and-run car crash.  Three other occupants of the vehicle Mendoza was traveling in were hospitalized and treated for their car accident related injuries.  Soares is now wanted for manslaughter while driving under the influence.  Police said that Soares's blood alcohol content was 0.16, twice the legal limit, approximately an hour and a half after the accident.  Unfortunately, Soares, who was not arrested at the scene because troopers needed to gather more evidence, is now nowhere to be found.

This case and other recent cases of hit and run accidents underscores the necessity of purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.  Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance policies provide coverage to individuals that are injured in a car accident caused by another driver that either has no insurance at all or does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for the damage caused by the accident.  In Florida, hit-and-run drivers that are not identified are considered uninsured motorists.  Although in the above-mentioned car accident the driver has been identified and fled only after the accident investigation, there is still the possibility that he may be uninsured or underinsured.  In fact, our personal experiences demonstrate that a person who is driving under the influence is substantially more likely to be an uninsured or underinsured motorist than a driver who is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In fact, many of these impaired drivers do not even have a valid driver's license.

An uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance policy allows Florida drivers to protect against accident injuries that exceed the protection provided by personal injury protection (PIP) and irrespective of other drivers' insurance decisions to drive uninsured or with minimum coverage.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) estimated that 23% of Florida motorists were uninsured in 2007.  Their estimates place Florida fifth highest in the nation for uninsured motorists.  However, our recent experiences with motor vehicle accidents reflects a much higher total of uninsured motorists, especially as the recession deepened and more and more people cut out many things except for what they considered to be absolute essentials of life.  Based upon our experiences, we would estimate that perhaps as many as 50% of Dade County and 1/3 of Broward County drivers are uninsured.  Many more are what would be termed underinsured, that is, they are driving around with the minimum $10,000.00 in insurance coverage that is usually inadequate to protect the average person injured in a car accident.

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