When you’re in a car crash, you’re likely going to rely on insurance to cover your losses. However, there are many thing you need to consider when dealing with car insurance. Read below to learn more.
When you’ve been injured in a car accident and suffered property damage also, your hope is to recover fully and be compensated for the damages that were the result of someone else’s bad choices. But have you ever considered just who that might be? You may be surprised to learn that there may be more parties in your car accident claim than just the other driver.
Understanding who may be liable for your physical and property damages is why you need experienced Florida personal injury attorney David I. Fuchs. He knows all the various parties that could be a resource to pay the compensation you deserve, and he will thoroughly investigate your accident to determine which ones to include in your case.
Here’s a list of the potential parties that we could seek recovery from on your behalf. The possibility of their involvement is fact specific as to the circumstances of your accident.
The party that is the most obvious for a possible claim is the other driver, of course. They are required to have insurance that can cover medical costs that exceed your responsibility through personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, property damages, and more.
Under Florida law, if you loan your car to someone who then causes an accident, you can be held liable for the damages. For private individuals (not commercial owners) there are limitations on the liability under the statutes and setoffs for damages paid by other parties, but the owner of the car is another path to recovery.
In a doctrine called respondeat superior (“let the master answer”), the employer of the other driver could be named in a claim. The law allows for the employer to be “vicariously” liable for the negligence of its employee if the accident occurred when the employee was within the course and scope of his duties. The liability attaches even if the employee was driving a personal vehicle. Some exceptions exist, so it is important that your personal injury attorney gather records and details to determine if an employer might be a party to your claim.
Typically, rental car companies are not liable for the accidents of those who rent cars from them. But some exceptions exist under Florida’s Financial Responsibility Law.
Ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft could be a party to your claim as well. A driver for one of these companies might be negligent and cause your accident, or you may have been harmed in a crash while riding in a ride-hailing vehicle. Drivers that work for these companies must have high limits on their own insurance and the companies also carry insurance making them a lucrative source to compensate you.
The list doesn’t end with those cited above. There are several other possibilities for parties to your claim. These include:
When you experience a car accident, the physical and emotional impact can be severe. You may have serious injuries and emotional trauma. Also, your car needs repair or replacement and that means leaving you without necessary transportation. While dealing with all of that, you’re now facing the complicated car accident claims process.
David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. understands what you are going through after a car accident. Because Attorney Fuchs has more than three decades protecting the rights of accident victims, he will walk you through the insurance claims process, the potential outcomes, and possible compensation for your injuries. He’ll handle the insurance companies, while you focus on healing.
The insurance claims process starts when you file a claim with your insurance company. You should call a car accident lawyer, and a claim should be filed by your attorney as soon as possible after the accident. The number of days in which you must do so can be found in your policy.
Remember, even when the accident is the fault of someone else’s negligence, the process always starts with notice of the crash to your insurer. The best way to notify your insurer is to call an attorney and have them notify your insurance company. Your attorney will also provide notice to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Once a claim is made, the insurer is likely to ask for documentation related to your damages. These documents could include medical records and bills. While you want to provide records related to the accident, don’t sign a general waiver for your entire medical file.
Insurance companies are looking to limit how much you receive for your injuries. One way they do this is through medical records. Any attempt by your insurer to do this should be handled by a personal injury attorney.
Other documents likely requested will include:
BUT NEVER GIVE, even if requested, your recorded or written statement of the accident. You could inadvertently harm your claim for the compensation you deserve.
While the insurance company is investigating your claim, you want to be very careful. Claims adjusters are not your friends no matter how nice and caring they may come across. Their goal is to save the insurance company money. Don’t let them bully you into making a statement against your interests or agree to a “quick” settlement.
Beware of paperwork you are requested to sign. Read if very carefully. Never accept any check from an insurer that says “final payment” unless you’ve received legal advice, or you are certain of your actions. Same goes with waivers and releases. These documents are legally binding and can undermine your legitimate claims. Never sign without advice of your personal injury counsel.
In a perfect world, the insurance companies would offer a fair and reasonable amount to compensate you for your damages, physical and property, you agree, accept a check, and then you sign a release of further claims.
But in the real world, rarely will you receive the amount you deserve. At that point, the process heads to negotiation of a settlement. If that is unsuccessful, the matter may have to go to court for resolution.
After you’re hurt in a car accident in Florida, you can reach out to both your own insurance company and that of the responsible party for coverage.The insurance company will examine the validity of your claim and come up with what they consider to be a fair settlement offer. The settlement should pay for the medical expenses related to your accident and vehicle damage.
You have the freedom to push back during the claim process. If you already have $5,000 of medical bills and they say they’re capping damages at $5,000, that’s reason to raise your concerns and fight for more.
However, this is exactly where most people stumble. People believe that their insurance provider is on their side and that whatever they suggest is in the individual’s best interests. They either don’t know how to ask for more or don’t know that they can, and as a result, they are unable to take care of their financial obligations after a crash. That’s why it’s recommended that accident victims work with a personal injury attorney to protect their rights.
Several laws address requirements in Florida. Each driver is responsible for a portion of their own medical bills, but they can seek compensation for excess medical bills and property damage through the liable party’s insurance provider.
Under state law, each driver must have at least $10,000 of personal injury protection coverage, as well as $10,000 of property damage liability coverage.
A personal injury attorney should be one of your first calls after a vehicle accident. They can help you get the insurance claim process started, ensure that you have the proper paperwork and documentation, and investigate the accident. They can also assist with bringing claims against the other party and seeking the compensation you deserve. This process moves quickly, and it’s difficult to give it your full attention when you are healing from a car accident. Your attorney can take care of these time-consuming tasks while you attend medical appointments, do physical therapy, and get back to normal.
When we meet clients about car accidents and the insurance claims process, the same questions come up often. Get quick answers to your questions here.
Florida is one of only 12 states that follow no-fault insurance rules for car insurance claims. What this means is that if you are in a crash, your own insurance company will pay your insurance claim for injuries, even if the other driver was responsible.
You can only seek damages beyond your insurance company claim if certain conditions are met. For example, if you have been permanently disabled, physically scarred, disfigured, or otherwise severely injured, you can sue outside of the no-fault system. As far as damage to your car goes, you can make a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Call 911 if there anyone incurred injuries as the result of an accident. Exchange contact, driver’s license, and insurance information with the other driver or drivers involved. Get witness statements, if possible. Give a report to the police explaining what happened.
Be truthful in your statement to police, but don’t admit fault after a crash. Even if you feel you may have been partially responsible, let the investigation take its course and wait for all the facts to come in. Accidents happen quickly, and your memory of what happened may not be accurate.
Also, be sure to see a doctor after the accident. Even if you don’t feel you were injured, sometimes problems requiring medical treatment show up later. If you forgo seeing a doctor and an injury is present, it might be harder to get compensation for your medical treatment later on.
Notify your insurance company as soon as possible following your accident. Take a look at your policy, which should tell you exactly how long you have to file a claim. Report what happened, but again – don’t admit fault. The insurance company will begin an investigation and the processing of your claim.
You are not obligated to speak with the other driver’s insurance company. If the other driver’s insurer contacts you, refer them to your Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney, or to your own insurance company.
Anything you might say to the other driver’s insurance company may not be to your benefit later if you decide to bring a suit, or if one is brought against you.
So before accepting an offer, be sure that it fairly compensates you for your medical bills, possible future medical expenses, and other damages related to your injuries. If you don’t feel the settlement is fair, you have the right to turn it down and try and negotiate a better amount.
Most people aren’t used to negotiating with insurance companies, which is where an experienced personal injury attorney can help.
Speak to an attorney before you sign anything from your insurance company. They have a valid reason to assess the severity of your injuries, but giving full access to medical records could give them free rein to limit their payout. Your attorney can help figure out what the best move is for your specific circumstances.
To make it easier on you, just assume that anything you say or do could be used against you. If you post on Facebook after an accident that you’re out of the hospital and feeling fine, that could harm your case. If you post a picture of yourself attending a concert while claiming that your injuries have left you bedridden, that could harm your case.
Be very careful about how public you are about your accident and who you talk to about it.
Under Florida state law, parties in a car accident must use their own PIP coverage for 80% of their medical bills up to the minimum $10,000 coverage. The person who caused the accident will still be responsible for the other 20% and anything in excess of your PIP limit.
Insurance adjusters are very, very good at getting accident victims to pour their hearts out and tell their life stories. Then they turn around and use that information to offer embarrassingly low payouts. Consult an attorney before you discuss your accident with an insurance adjuster.
When you have been hurt in a car accident, you need someone whose only goal is to help and support you. That’s where we come in. Our goal is to represent your best interests and help you get through this time as smoothly and quickly as possible. Take the first step now and contact us online or call our team at (954) 568-3636.