A car accident can change your life in many ways. As a victim, you have recourse under Florida law; however, you must act fast to get the compensation you deserve. What you do and your decisions after an accident can impact your future in many ways.
Learning how to navigate insurance claims in Florida can be challenging, but our legal team at Zimmet & Zimmet is here to help. As experts in this field, you can count on our lawyers to defend your rights and handle negotiations on your behalf.
Here, you can learn more about the Florida auto accident process and how to file a claim and protect your right to compensation.
Immediate Action Is Necessary After a Florida Car Accident
Based on Florida law, after a car accident that causes injury or property damage, you must contact the police and stay at the scene. The exception to leaving the scene is if you require emergency medical treatment.
Ensure the accident scene is safe and call the police. While waiting for them to arrive, take pictures of the scene, visible injuries, and property damage. Collecting evidence at the accident scene is beneficial if you file a claim for compensation.
Florida law requires you to exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved. Collect contact information from witnesses to the incident, too.
Keep comments and conversations to a minimum while at the accident scene, and when speaking to the police, stick to the facts.
Florida Is a No-Fault Accident State
Florida is a no-fault state for car accidents. You first turn to your auto insurance policy to receive compensation for accident-related losses and costs.
All insurance policies in the state must include PIP (personal injury protection) coverage. This pays your medical costs and lost wages after an accident. It covers you, people in your household, and passengers in your vehicle who do not have PIP coverage.
While this is true, there are limitations to PIP coverage. For example, Florida requires drivers to have a minimum of $10,000 in coverage (there is an option to purchase more). PIP insurance only covers medical bills and lost wages up to the policy’s limit. Additionally, it does not cover non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
Additionally, PIP coverage does not cover 100% of medical costs and lost wages. It covers just 80% of reasonable and necessary expenses. To receive coverage, you must also seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. Failure to do this excludes you from these benefits.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Compensation from PIP Insurance?
PIP insurance is required in Florida to help injured people receive compensation from the insurance company as quickly as possible. Since you do not have to prove liability, PIP claims are resolved faster than other insurance claims.
Florida requires PIP insurance providers to pay claims within 30 days of being notified of the damages. While this is true, the insurance company can take an additional 60 days to investigate if it believes fraud is involved.
Options for Compensation After a Florida Car Accident Beyond PIP Coverage
To go beyond the no-fault system and file a liability claim or a third-party lawsuit against the negligent driver, you must meet Florida’s “injury threshold.” This occurs if you experience an injury that causes significant physical disfigurement or scarring, loss of bodily function, or another permanent injury. Fatal injuries would meet the injury threshold requirements, too.
It is worth noting that the restrictions only apply to damages for your injuries. Any property damage to your vehicle or other personal items falls under at-fault coverage. This allows you to file a civil lawsuit or third-party claim against the at-fault party.
Is It Smart to File a Claim with the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Provider?
You may need to file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company for a few reasons. As mentioned above, PIP does not cover property damage, pain, or suffering.
The at-fault party’s insurance can cover these damages. However, you must have evidence to show they are at fault and that you deserve compensation.
Also, PIP insurance does not provide enough coverage if you experience a serious injury. Most drivers carry the minimum amount only, which means that for more serious or devastating injuries, more than $10,000 is required.
You can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party to receive additional compensation.
Florida’s Pure Comparative Negligence Law
Florida follows a comparative negligence legal standard used to apportion damages for accidents where several parties are at fault. In this situation, each party found negligent in a car accident would be assigned a percentage of fault.
If you are partially at fault for your injuries, it is still possible to file an insurance claim and receive compensation for the percentage of fault given to others.
Resolving Auto Insurance Claims in Florida
Usually, auto accident cases in Florida are resolved through a settlement and never go to court. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to file an insurance claim, we recommend contacting our legal team at Zimmet & Zimmet. We understand the insurance claims process, have experience negotiating with insurance adjusters and will work to help you get the full compensation you deserve.
In many situations, insurance companies are not willing to make a fair offer for your injuries and damages. If this happens, we can assist you in filing a personal injury lawsuit to seek the damages you deserve in court.
In some situations, just filing a lawsuit is enough to convince an insurance company to provide a better settlement offer. However, suppose we cannot negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. In that case, we can take your case to court and aggressively fight for the full compensation you should receive.
How Our Legal Team Can Help with Your Auto Accident Insurance Claim
One of the most important steps after a Florida car accident is to speak to an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney. When you call our office, our attorneys will listen to what happened, review your insurance coverage, and advise on your legal options.
We can also investigate the accident, speak to witnesses, review official reports, and hire expert witnesses to determine who is at fault for the incident. We will deal with the insurance company on your behalf while protecting your legal rights. Our goal is to help you rebuild your life.
If we must move forward and file a lawsuit, you can count on our legal team to provide aggressive representation in court. We will also ensure you meet all deadlines and help you navigate the legal process while focusing on recovery.
It is necessary to act fast after a Florida car accident. Usually, you have four years from when an accident occurred to file a lawsuit, but circumstances may shorten this time period. We encourage you to call us immediately after an accident to ensure you have the best possible representation for your case.