When someone is injured in a Florida car accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, many auto insurance policies will include uninsured motorist (UM) coverage benefits. In Florida, insurance stacking is often used to provide more expansive coverage for the insured. By stacking car insurance policies, the insured can obtain greater protection by combining UM coverage within the same policy or across different policies. For example, in a stackable policy, if someone has $50,000 in UM coverage on one car and $50,000 on a different vehicle, they may be able to stack the coverage limit to $100,000, even if the coverage is based on two separate policies. In unstacked insurance coverage, there is no aggregating of benefits, so the insured’s UM coverage limit is what is listed on the policy. Generally, Florida law allows for insurance stacking. However, there are limitations to this practice.
In a recent state appellate court decision, the plaintiffs were injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured motorist. The vehicle the plaintiffs were driving was not insured in their names, but under a separate non-stacking commercial policy issued by the defendant insurance company. Having several personal auto insurance policies of their own with stackable UM coverage, the plaintiffs attempted to combine them to maximize their benefits from the accident. However, the plaintiffs also wanted to receive a settlement from the commercial policy in addition to the benefits they had received from their personal aggregated coverage. In response, the defendant claimed that under their non-stacking policy, plaintiffs could not recover additional benefits from them if they had already elected to recover a UM settlement from their own stackable policies.
On appeal, the court upheld the trial court’s decision to deny the plaintiffs additional payment. Based on the commercial policy in question, the plaintiffs were injured in a vehicle that was not owned or insured by them, and thus, were only allowed to receive UM benefits under a single policy. Since the plaintiffs chose to receive their benefits from a policy other than the commercial policy covering the car they were injured in, the defendant did not have to pay any additional benefits to the plaintiffs. Additionally, based on Florida law and other contractual provisions governing the commercial policy, the plaintiffs could either collect non-stacked benefits from the defendant or receive their benefits from their personal stacked policies, but not both.
As a result of the court’s opinion, the plaintiffs were barred from aggregating non-stacked uninsured motorist benefits of the commercial policy with stacked benefits of their own coverage, and would only be able to collect a settlement from one or the other.
This case illustrates the challenges that may occur when bringing a personal injury suit involving insurance coverage issues. Florida’s personal injury and auto insurance laws can be complicated, and even the smallest details can be extremely important. For this reason, those injured in Florida car accidents are advised to contact a seasoned personal injury lawyer for immediate assistance.
Call a Florida Car Accident Attorney
If you have recently been injured in a Florida car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you have sustained. However, the recovery process will almost certainly involve at least one — and potentially several — insurance companies. Insurance companies can make the recovery process much more challenging, because even the most deserving claims can be denied on technicalities or legal loopholes. Let Frankl Kominsky, Personal Injury Lawyers help. We pride ourselves on providing an exceptional level of representation to every client, and will passionately defend your legal rights at every step of the case. Contact us today to learn more and to schedule a free initial consultation at 561-660-9562. Calling is risk-free, as we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you recover for your injuries.