it's estimated that over 20% of Florida vehicles have no bodily injury insurance coverage: What does a Canadian do if they are injured In a florida vehicle accident?
Canadian drivers are accustomed to auto insurance, and generally enjoy peace of mind with the knowledge that most vehicles on Ontario roadways are adequately insured. When Canadian residents travel to the United States, however, the unfortunate reality is that most US vehicles will have less insurance coverage than is typical in Canada. Why does this matter to Canadian drivers? It matters because if a Canadian resident is involved in a crash caused by a US vehicle, there is a significant risk that the at-fault vehicle will not have adequate insurance. This is particularly true in snowbird states such as Florida, which is one of only two US states that does not mandate insurance coverage for bodily injury. That means, if an at-fault driver in Florida collides with a Canadian, the Florida vehicle may not have any insurance coverage to pay for the injuries caused because it they are not required to carry any auto insurance to pay for bodily injury. It has been estimated that over 20% of Florida vehicles do not have insurance coverage for bodily injury. Even if there is insurance coverage in place for bodily injury, there is a good chance that the limits will be low - often less than $50,000 in coverage.
For a Canadian that is injured in a Florida car accident, the lack of coverage is a major concern. A car accident that results in injuries for a Canadian can lead to immediate and significant health care expenses. If a Canadian resident injured in a Florida car accident is taken to hospital and treated, the medical bills will add up quickly. In our practice, we regularly meet Canadians that have well in excess of $100,000USD in medical expenses from Florida hospitals and physicians.
So what is a Canadian resident to do if they are injured in Florida and have thousands of dollars in US medical bills? Fortunately, for many Ontario residents, they will have access to Ontario underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. Simply put, Ontario auto insurance policies protect you when you are hurt in a car accident, even in the United States. The law surrounding these claims and the cross-border issues that arise are complex, but in many cases a Canadian resident will be able to advance claims in both Ontario and Florida. It is important to note that, with few exceptions, Florida law will apply in very significant ways so most Ontario lawyers are not well equipped to assist with these cases.
If you are a Canadian resident that has been injured in a Florida car accident, we can help. The Snowbird Attorney is here for Canadians injured in Florida. Call us day or night to get more information and request a Free Consultation.
Andrew Iacobelli is an experienced personal injury lawyer who established Iacobelli Law Firm with offices located in Ontario, Canada and Florida, U.S.A. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of personal injury victims in claims involving serious injuries and wrongful death in Canada and the United States. Andrew is the author of "Are You a Canadian Injured in the United States? Claim the Damages and Insurance Coverage the Right Way".
As a canadian injured in florida, do i need a florida attorney or ontario lawyer?
This is a great question that is often asked by Canadians injured in Florida. They see the billboards and television advertisements for attorneys in Florida, so they make the call. Others wait to return to Ontario and call an Ontario lawyer that deals with car accidents. In both situations, the lawyers will often accept the case. Why? Because these lawyers may be able to assist with one area of the case - either Florida or Ontario - and will likely refer you to another lawyer to assist with the part of the case that they cannot handle. For instance, an Ontario lawyer may say that they can help you with the Ontario aspects of your case, and then refer you to a Florida attorney for the Florida aspects of the case. The same holds true for the Florida attorney that needs help with the Ontario aspects of the case. Although there is nothing wrong with this approach, and many of our Canadian clients injured in Florida reach us in precisely this way, it is not the most efficient way to proceed. When the lawyer only knows the rules on one side of the border, this often leads to delays in the case or worse, serious problems where deadlines or steps are missed. Unfortunately, quite often I receive a frantic call from a lawyer in either Ontario or Florida that is worried they committed an error because they missed some important aspect of the claim on the side of the border where they are not experienced or licensed to practice.
What is the answer then - hire a Florida attorney or Ontario lawyer? In most instances you will need help from lawyers on both sides of the border. The Snowbird Attorney is unique because we practice law both in Ontario, Canada and Florida, USA. With offices located in Palm Beach County and in the GTA, I regularly represent Canadians injured in Florida accidents. My practice started in Florida in 2004, first as an insurance defense attorney and then as a lawyer representing injured people. In 2012, I also started a law firm in Ontario to help injured Ontario residents. I am a member of the Florida Justice Association, American Association for Justice, and Ontario Trial Lawyers Association. I am so grateful for the opportunity to help countless Canadians injured in the USA as a result of motorcycle accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, trip and fall accidents, and boating accidents. I have also formed great relationships with Ontario lawyers and Florida attorneys that regularly call on me to assist with their cross-border accident cases and I am so very grateful to these intelligent lawyers for their continued support and counsel.
If you are a Canadian injured in Florida, call me anytime for a Free Consultation. If you are a Florida attorney or lawyer in Ontario and you are trying to help a Canadian injured in the United States, feel free to reach out anytime with any questions.
Andrew Iacobelli is a lawyer, licensed to practice law in Florida, Michigan and Ontario. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of individuals that have been seriously injured.