Auto Accident Settlement
Car Accidents in Florida Can Be Devastating. Attorney Steve Hoskins and His Team of Personal Injury Lawyers Will Help You Get Your Life Back on Track
An auto accident can happen at any time in Florida, possibly leaving you with serious injuries and substantial medical bills. Every month, Florida’s roads see over 30,000 car crashes, according to the state’s reporting system. Individuals who get caught in these accidents may not be able to get the personal injury claims they seek without the strategic guidance and indispensable services of an experienced Florida car accident attorney.
Florida Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney, Steve Hoskins, and his team of personal injury lawyers understand the pain, confusion, and anxiety you’re likely experiencing after your car crash. Attorney Steve Hoskins has been fighting for accident victims for almost 40 years. And our entire personal injury team has over 200 years of combined experience helping clients just like you seek all the compensation you are entitled to after an accident.
Damages You Could Be Entitled to after Your Accident Injury
Florida law allows for car accident victims to seek damages from liable parties in the event that they sustain serious, permanent injuries.
For another driver to be found “liable” for an accident, that driver must have been acting negligently. That negligence must have also directly caused the accident, which directly led to an injury or other damages. Common types of driver negligence in Florida include speeding, failure to yield, following too closely, driving recklessly, or driving under the influence of substances.
Unfortunately, while all of these mistakes are avoidable, they happen far too often on Florida’s streets and highways. For instance, Florida’s Highway Safety office documents that 5,125 crashes in 2017 involved alcohol use, and 668 involved drugs. In total, 2017 DUI crashes in Florida caused 3,624 injuries and 648 deaths.
To file a personal injury claim against an individual or their liability insurance carrier after an accident, you need to be able to prove that their behavior was negligent and that this negligence directly led to your injuries. Since Florida is a comparative fault state, you need to prove that you contributed minimally to no fault for the accident, as well.
If you can convince an insurer to grant you a settlement or a court to rule in your favor, you could be entitled to reimbursement for the full costs of your medical bills and treatment. You could also potentially receive compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, lost domestic services, and permanent disability depending on the nature of your claim.
Why You Should Consider Working with Experienced Florida Auto Accident Lawyers
Filing your personal injury claim can be intimidating and confusing. You must provide evidence that your accident was the fault of another party, and you must also document your expenses in detail to justify that they were necessary to treat your injuries and were directly caused by the accident. Yet most of all you’ll need to be ready to deal with the insurance adjuster and legal team who sometimes try to bully the innocent party into accepting less money than they are entitled to receive.
A skilled personal injury auto accident lawyer, especially a Board Certified expert like Attorney Steve Hoskins, can provide the tough support and expertise you need during this trying time. Mr. Hoskins and his legal team can represent you with a powerful and persuasive legal strategy while negotiating with intimidating insurance companies on your behalf.
With their experience navigating the claims process and the court system, your Florida car accident lawyer Steve Hoskins can alleviate the stress you face after your accident while increasing your chances of successfully recovering all available damages.
Always remember that you do not have to suffer the financial consequences of your auto accident alone. Major injuries can be life-changing, and the medical costs that come with them can weigh on your future. Being able to recover financially after an auto accident can, therefore, mean the difference between getting your life back on track.
What to Do After You Have Been in an Auto Accident
Your first actions after a car accident should always be to quickly check on the status of everyone, call 911, request for police to come to the scene of the accident, and request an ambulance for any hurt parties, including yourself.
Then, make sure to exchange insurance information with the drivers of the other vehicles involved. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, the scene of the accident, and your injuries. Ask if any witnesses would mind recording statements of what they saw. If you are too injured to move around after your accident, ask someone else to take photos or witness statements for you.
Seek needed medical attention as soon as you can. Since many auto accident injuries can emerge days or even weeks later, do not wait to have a full medical examination.
After seeking treatment for your injuries, keep copies of all of your medical bills, including those that are covered by insurance. Also, track your work absence slips and any paychecks you missed as a result of your injury.
Ask your doctor to provide extensive, detailed documentation in his or her case reports. You may choose to write down your concerns about the medical treatment you received or the pain that was caused by your injuries.
Insurance companies may contact you for information about the accident or to persuade you to prematurely accept a financial settlement. Before you speak with an insurance company, strongly consider speaking with a Florida car crash lawyer. Your attorney can make sure that you are not pressured into making a decision that goes against the interests of you and your family.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Am I Entitled to After a Car Accident?
In terms of damages, every car accident victim in the state of Florida is entitled to personal injury coverage from his or her own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy, regardless of who is at fault in the accident. PIP coverage pays for 80% of eligible medical treatment costs, and it can also supplement 60% of your reduced wages while you recover from your accident.
All drivers in Florida are required to carry $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance coverage. If you are in an accident and another driver is at fault, then his or her liability insurance will cover the costs of repairs to your vehicle. However, as non-commercial drivers are currently not required to carry Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) insurance in Florida, you may have difficulty obtaining compensation if you have a “serious injury” or exceed your PIP policy limits.
Working with a Florida car accident lawyer can allow you to identify other potential sources of compensation for bodily injury after your collision, including from policies held by employers of any commercial drivers involved in your accident.
As for categories of damages available in a typical Florida wreck involving an injury, a BIL policy will cover: medical treatments (past and future), lost wages, relevant out-of-pocket costs, and compensation for your personal pain and suffering.
What Are My Rights in an Auto Insurance Claim?
Florida Statutes § 626.9743 spells out a number of important rights granted to claimants seeking recovery of damages caused in a car accident. These include:
- If your insurance company requires a particular repair shop to be used, the right to have your vehicle restored to the exact same performance and appearance it had before the accident
- The right to equivalent quality parts for repairs and replacement
- The right to either a cash settlement for a replacement vehicle, coverage for the purchase of an equivalent replacement vehicle, or justification for the determination of the settlement value ultimately offered by the insurer.
- The right to see a detailed, itemized list of settlement reduction calculations
- The right to a copy of the estimate used to determine the settlement value of partial losses
- The right to at least 72 hours notice of cancellation of coverage for storage charges
- Insurers do not have the right to recommend you make a third-party claim, “when liability and damages owed under the policy are reasonably clear”
Additionally, you have the right to payment for damages covered under your PIP policy within 30 days of filing your claim. However, insurance companies have up to 60 days to investigate your claim, potentially allowing them to rescind payment if they are suspicious about fraud or other concerns. If you receive notice that your settlement is being investigated for suspicion of fraud or non-applicable costs, speak to a Florida car accident lawyer immediately.
Do You Need PIP on Your Auto Insurance Policy?
Yes. Florida law requires every vehicle owner to carry $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Since this coverage pays for the costs of medical treatment after an accident, regardless of who is at fault, it can prove extremely beneficial in nearly any car accident scenario where you sustain an injury. Additionally, not having PIP coverage can complicate your ability to pursue a bodily injury liability claim from a third-party insurer (AKA an at-fault driver’s insurance). If you have been hurt in an accident and don’t currently have PIP insurance, you can discuss your options for obtaining possible alternative forms of compensation with a Florida car accident lawyer near you.
How Does PIP Insurance Work?
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance is a versatile form of coverage that can apply in a wide variety of situations, regardless if you are the driver, a passenger, or even a pedestrian/cyclist. If you are a member of a PIP policyholder’s household, you can typically file a claim under their policy in the event you are injured in a car accident. In some situations where no first-party PIP policy is available, such as when someone does not own a vehicle nor lives with someone who does, then the injured pedestrian or cyclist may be able to file under an at-fault driver’s PIP policy.
PIP insurance always acts as the “first payer” source for recovery of your damages. Even if you need to file an additional claim under a policy like an at-fault driver’s third-party Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) policy or your own medical insurance, PIP provides the initial coverage up to the policy’s stated coverage limits.
You have two weeks from your accident to file a PIP claim. The PIP provider then has 60 days to investigate your claim and 30 days to pay it.
If you used your personal health insurance to cover your healthcare costs after an accident, there is the possibility that your PIP policy will directly reimburse your health insurance provider and then compensate you directly for the remainder of the settlement’s value.
What Happens When You Have a Car Accident in Florida?
Ideally, the accident will be reported to the police, who will arrive at the scene and investigate the accident. If any drivers committed a violation in connection with the accident, they will be issued a citation (ticket). Drivers suspected of DUI are likely to be arrested at the scene.
Individuals involved in a car accident should seek immediate medical attention. They can receive compensation for the costs of this treatment from their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy. If they have a qualifying serious injury or exceed their PIP policy limits, they may be eligible to file a third-party Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) claim under an at-fault driver’s policy.
If your vehicle requires repairs, your insurance company may require you to receive an estimate or services at a particular repair shop. You can elect for the insurance company to pay the costs of your repairs directly, or you can elect to receive a cash settlement. If an insurance adjuster determines that your vehicle is a “total loss” (AKA totaled), then you are entitled to either the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle at the time of the accident or the replacement value of an equivalent vehicle.
The exact coverage available and procedures needed to receive coverage for your bodily injuries or vehicle repairs will be dictated by the specific language of your policy. If you have questions about your policy, what it covers, and your rights under that policy, you can schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Florida near you.
Why Do Insurance Companies Take So Long to Pay Out?
There are two main reasons an insurance company will make you wait for the settlement they are expected to pay. The biggest reason — and the one they will readily tell you — is that they want to fully investigate the accident, determine the value of the claim according to their actuarial formulas, and ensure that due diligence is followed.
The other big reason — the one they won’t tell you — is that making you wait for a payout makes you more eager to accept anything they offer. This allows them to offer an initial settlement that is typically lower than the total damages of your accident. No matter how long it takes to receive your compensation, ensure that you are aware of the total costs of damages associated with your accident. Do not accept a settlement that forces you to pay out of your own pocket for a large percentage of damages. You can estimate your damages and demand a reasonable settlement offer compensating you for those damages with the help of a Florida car accident lawyer.
When Should I Hire a Car Accident Attorney?
A car accident attorney is always available to provide you with a free consultation regarding your recent collision. With their guidance, you can identify all available sources of compensation and begin calculating the total costs of all of your accident damages, including your future medical treatments, your lost wages, and your own pain and suffering.
During your initial consultation, you may realize that your damages are relatively minor and that there is a solid chance that an insurer will offer you reasonable compensation for all or most of your accident costs. However, not every car accident case is so straightforward. You may have significant damages that exceed your PIP coverage, and liability (who is at-fault) may be unclear. Additionally, you may have an insurer that wants to deny some or all of your claimed damages. They may allege that your injuries were related to a pre-existing condition, or they may state that their policyholder is not liable for your injury costs.
Any time you have significant car accident damages, the fault is unclear, the insurer is disputing your claim, or you are being threatened with legal action, strongly consider obtaining a Florida car accident lawyer to represent you.
What Happens If I Don’t Report a Car Accident?
You are legally required to report a car accident in Florida where you know (or should have reasonably known) that someone was injured, a death occurred, or more than $500 in property damage occurred (F.S. § 316.066). If you fail to do so, you may be charged with a non-moving violation in some cases, or potentially even a hit and run, which is a second-degree misdemeanor (F.S. § 316.061).
Another possible consequence of not reporting your accident is that you will be denied any form of auto insurance coverage for any damages you’ve had inflicted. Nearly all insurance carriers require an official police report of an accident in order to cover any resulting damages.
If you have not reported your vehicle accident yet, know that you may have up to ten days to do so — sometimes even longer, depending on the circumstances. Speak to a Florida car accident lawyer as soon as possible if you have damages from a car accident you want to be covered but you have not reported the accident yet.
Where Do You Seek Medical Attention After a Car Accident?
Your safest bet after any car accident is to assume you may have a serious injury and to report as soon as you can to the nearest emergency department. If you have an injury involving a possible fracture, a head injury, major blood loss, or loss of sensation in your hands and feet, call 911 and request an ambulance. Do not refuse medical transport if EMTs are called to the scene and recommend they take you to the nearest emergency department.
If you are confident that your injuries are minor, you should still seek medical care within the next day. Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or visit an urgent care clinic near you.
During any doctor’s visit after a car accident, report your symptoms in detail and consent to all diagnostic tests required to make a full diagnosis. You want to be sure that you don’t overlook a potential injury that will worsen if untreated.
How Long Do I Have to Report an Accident in Florida?
Florida law requires that you file a car accident report within 10 days of any collision resulting in likely injury, death, or property damage exceeding $500 (F.S. § 316.066).
Ready to Speak to an Auto Accident Lawyer in Florida? Call Us Now, or Contact Us Online for a Free Consultation
You can receive a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation regarding your potential personal injury case. Our Florida car accident lawyers will be on your side, ready to listen. They will guide you through the legal process and fight for the justice that you deserve.
To schedule your consultation, contact us now using our convenient online form or by dialing 866-460-1990.
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