Even minor accidents can cause major problems if you’re not careful when you report a car accident to an insurance company in Florida. Technically, if you are not at fault, you might think that you only need to notify the at-fault party’s insurance carrier, report the circumstances of the accident, submit a damage estimate, and wait for your check to arrive in the mail. Unfortunately, things aren’t always that easy.
The Car Accident Scene
Even if the accident seems to be a minor fender-bender, never leave the scene. Doing this could actually result in license revocation, license suspension, or even a felony charge. Quickly check to see if anyone has sustained a personal injury as a result of the accident and attempt to assist if possible. Next, if this hasn’t been already done, call 911. If the vehicles involved are blocking traffic, you may want to move them. If the accident happened on an interstate highway, accident investigation sites are sometimes available and you should move the involved vehicles to one of these areas if possible.
Notifying Insurance Companies of Car Accidents
You should exchange insurance information with the other parties involved, and you should make sure that the incident is reported to all insurance carriers. Even though you may be required to give a recorded statement regarding the accident, never speculate about the percentage of your negligence. The police will file a report and that report may help to legally determine who was at fault.
Insurance and Personal Injury Claim Ramifications
Florida is one of the few states with a type of no-fault insurance called PIP – Personal Injury Protection. PIP insurance covers anyone who is a driver or passenger in most motor vehicles that has been involved in an accident. The minimum necessary coverage set by law is $10,000, so as a Florida driver, you generally have to carry at least this amount. The Florida legislature enacted this coverage to allow for quick payouts of medical bills related to accidents. If the involved parties have purchased PIP insurance, all medical bills up to the coverage limit (after deductible) will be taken care of; typically at 80%.
Problems with Car Accident Claims
Even if the other driver is at fault, sometimes his or her insurance company may deny your property damage or personal injury claim. This can happen if the at-fault driver has lied and blamed you for the accident. Your recourse here is to take the other party to court in order to collect damages and injury settlements. Sometimes, it may be better to have your insurance company cover your damages. You’ll be responsible for the deductible amount, but your insurance company may attempt to collect from the at-fault driver’s company, and the deductible may sometimes be returned to you.
Solutions for Damages or Personal Injury Claims
If you think this sounds seriously complicated, you’re correct. Unless you have a lot of legal experience, it may be time to call our personal injury attorneys who have been thoroughly trained to handle accident cases. A good accident lawyer can sift through the details and negotiate with insurance companies so that you will receive the best result possible.