ORLANDO, Fla. — As the legislative session wraps up this week, efforts to require Florida drivers to carry “at-fault” insurance are still in limbo.
Unlike almost any other state, Florida does not require insurance coverage that makes at-fault drivers pay for serious injuries or deaths.
Even if it passes, Channel 9’s Karla Ray found out that about 1 in 4 drivers on the road do not have car insurance, and a local mother found that out the hard way.
Suzanne Ferrara is scheduled for surgery this week after she was involved in a car accident near Waterford Lakes on New Year’s Eve that caused injuries to her spine.
According to the crash report, the other driver, a 20-year-old living near the University of Central Florida, ran a stop sign hitting the car Ferrara was in with her son.
“It was more of a numbness. I knew I was in trouble because I couldn't feel my legs at that point. I couldn't swing my legs to get out of the car,” Ferrara said.
Insult was added to her injuries after she learned the other driver had no insurance.
The Insurance Information Institute estimates that about a quarter of all drivers in Florida have no insurance, which is the highest rate in the country.
“It’s almost closer to 40% of individuals in the state of Florida that may have the mandatory but they don’t have liability coverage, and that’s the coverage that would protect another,” said Armando Payas, an attorney.
Payas said the political push in Tallahassee to require bodily injuries coverage, which has failed year after year, would still not be enough to help pay for injuries in a serious accident like Fererra’s.
The legislation proposed would require just $25,000 of coverage per person. Ferrara’s bills are well over that and climbing.
“It’s very shocking, and my advice to people is you need to protect yourself. When you’re at a red light -- turn to the right, turn to the left -- you need to assume people next to you have no insurance at all," Fererra said.
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