What is the first thing I should do after a Florida car accident?
Make sure you and anyone else in your vehicle is OK and then call the police. Assess the scene and take pictures of the scene and every car involved in the accident with your phone or camera. Make sure you get a copy of the police report.
If you’re in pain, even if it seems insignificant, go to the emergency room or urgent care. Get checked out by a doctor to make sure everything is OK. Make sure to get a copy of the medical report from your visit.
What should I do if the insurance company offers me a check right after my accident?
Do not accept the insurance check; call an attorney first. The goal of the insurance company is to pay you as little as possible. Accepting a check right away often prevents you from making any further claims. If it turns out your injuries are worse than you thought, signing a check early on may prevent you from getting compensation for future medical bills.
Should I go to the doctor after an accident?
Yes. Injuries do not always affect you immediately after an accident. A doctor visit may reveal an injury that isn’t visible or not causing immediate pain. In addition, if you don’t visit a doctor within 14 days of your accident, you won’t be able to collect benefits under Florida’s personal injury protection (PIP) to cover medical costs and lost wages.
What is PIP insurance?
PIP stands for personal injury protection (also called Florida no-fault insurance). In Florida, every driver is required to carry $10,000 in PIP coverage. Your PIP insurance covers any accident or injury involving at least one motor vehicle, meaning not just collisions between two or more vehicles, but also injuries suffered from being hit by a car as a pedestrian or while on a bicycle. PIP insurance benefits cover 60% of lost wages and 80% of medical bills up to $10,000. If your combined lost wages and medical bills come to more than $10,000, those expenses are put into claim against the other driver’s insurance company.
What does comparative negligence mean when determining who is liable for a Florida traffic accident?
Comparative negligence means that the circumstances surrounding an accident are reviewed to assign each driver a percentage of responsibility for the accident. It could be one driver is 100% responsible, it could be 50-50 or anywhere in between.
If you are determined to be partially at fault, the percentage of fault assigned to you is deducted from any damages you receive. This means that if you are determined to be 10% responsible for an accident and the insurance company awards you $100,000, 10% of the jury award ($10,000) is deducted and you would receive $90,000.
What happens if the other driver involved in the accident is not insured or has minimal coverage?
If the other driver who caused your accident does not have any bodily injury coverage, we would then look to your policy to see if you carry uninsured motorist coverage to compensate you for your injuries. If the other driver has minimal coverage, we would seek to recover what amount that driver has under their bodily injury policy and then look to your policy as a secondary source to obtain additional compensation for your injuries.
Who can bring a lawsuit on behalf of someone killed in a car accident?
After losing a loved one in a car accident, only certain relatives, trustees or estate representatives can bring a claim on behalf of the deceased. We can review the circumstances of your loved one’s estate and help you determine who can file a wrongful death claim.
Will I have to pay to speak with an attorney about my Florida personal injury case?
There is no charge for your initial consultation to discuss your case with an attorney. If you have any pictures, statements or other documents related to the accident, bring them all to the first meeting. If we all agree to move forward with a claim, you won’t have to pay anything unless we recover compensation for your injuries.
What documents should I bring with me the first time I meet my attorney after my accident?
To make the most of your initial consultation, you should bring:
- A copy of the driver’s exchange and/or police report number
- Any cell phone photos that you took at the accident scene
- A copy of your insurance
- A copy of your health insurance card
These documents will all be required if we agree to move ahead with a claim. Providing them at the initial consultation makes it much easier to determine whether it makes sense for you to file a claim.