Florida law requires a police report to be filed for any accident that causes more than $500 worth of damage. With today’s high repair bills, this actually means almost any accident that causes visible damage or any injury whatsoever.
Car insurance is designed to take care of these expenses. Florida is a “no-fault” insurance state that requires every driver to carry $10,000 worth of personal injury protection or PIP coverage. This means that with some injuries your own insurance company, rather than someone else’s, will pay the claim. However, “no-fault” does not mean that another driver cannot be held responsible for injuries if the amount of damage is great enough.
After you file an insurance claim, the insurance adjustor will review the damage and approve payment as specified by the policy. However, the adjustor may also deny the claim or attempt to get you to settle for a much smaller amount than your case is actually worth.
In Florida, you have four years to file a personal injury claim on most accidents. This time period can be affected by various factors, so it is important to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney.
Proper Reporting Means Better Reimbursement
After an accident, it is important to follow the right steps to handle the insurance process. If you report the accident properly and know how to deal with the insurance company, you have a better chance of having your claim settled quickly and for the full amount you are owed. Here are the steps you should follow to report your claim:
- Report the accident correctly. Exchange information with the other driver as well as take photos of the crash. Under Florida PIP laws, police must complete a long-form crash report whenever anyone is injured or even complains of pain after an accident. If the police do not make a report, you must submit your own report to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This must be done within 10 days of the crash.
- Contact your insurance company. No matter who was at fault, you must file a claim with your insurance company. If no one has been charged with responsibility for the accident, it is up to your insurance company to pay for your damages. If the other driver was charged, your insurance company should seek compensation from that driver’s company, including a refund of your deductible. Your insurance company may ask you to submit to questions answered under oath before making payment.
- Share insurance information with others. If another party’s insurance company contacts you, give them your insurance company’s name and contact information, but do not, under any circumstances, talk to them about the crash.
- Go to the doctor. One of the requirements of Florida law is that you must seek medical care within 14 days of an accident in order for that care to be covered. In addition, it is important to document your injuries in case you have to file a personal injury claim later. The law also allows your insurance company to demand a third-party medical examination to verify your doctor’s findings.
- Provide all information as requested. Insurance companies will be full of questions if you file a claim, so be prepared to document all aspects of your case and produce these documents whenever asked.
- Do not settle. No matter what the insurance company says, do not sign anything or agree to any settlement offers without talking to a personal injury attorney. Your case may be worth much more than you think.
A personal injury attorney may be able to help you recover more money for your accident than the insurance company offers. At David & Philpot, PL, we represent victims of Auto and Trucking accidents to help them recover the maximum compensation they are entitled to. Contact us today to discuss your case before signing or settling.