Even in a no-fault state like Florida, filing a car accident claim is not a simple, straightforward process. Especially if you are out of work and have bills piling up due to your injuries, the stress of the whole situation can quickly become overwhelming.
When this is the case, a knowledgeable Florida car accident lawyer from Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., can help file your claim and manage all your dealings with the insurance company. Although our team will explain the process to you and answer all your questions about what to expect, we take care of everything so you can focus on your recovery.
Steps to Take Immediately After an Accident
The steps you take immediately following an accident will have a great impact on your claim. The most important steps to take after a crash include:
- Report the accident: Florida law requires you to report any accident that resulted in injury or death, or property damage that exceeds $500 in value. Reporting the accident will not only ensure you comply with this law, but will also provide you with a copy of the official accident report, which is helpful when dealing with the insurance company.
- Seek medical attention: Your health is always the main priority, and this is especially true after a car accident. Even if you are not sure whether you sustained serious injuries, it is important to allow a doctor to examine you to look for injuries that may not be as immediately apparent, such as a concussion. Seeking prompt medical attention will ensure you receive the right treatment and your injuries are documented from the start.
- Save information about your car accident: Your personal injury claim will rest on the evidence collected after a car accident. This is particularly true if you have sustained a serious permanent injury and need to file a claim against the other driver. The most important evidence you can collect includes: insurance policy and contact information of all the other drivers involved, photos of the accident scene and your injuries, and eyewitness statements. Also save any receipts or bills related to your treatment.
- Get legal help: Insurance companies are businesses, and as such, they want to keep as much of their profits as possible. They often lowball or deny claims from people who do not have legal representation. A car accident lawyer from our firm will deal with the insurance companies for you to demand the full amount of compensation you need.
What You Need to Know About Filing a Car Accident Claim
Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, which means you will certainly have to talk to your own insurance company after an accident. If another party was at fault for the crash and you suffered an injury severe enough to surpass Florida’s serious injury threshold, you will also have to deal with the other driver’s insurance company.
In either case, the insurance companies will attempt to deny, reduce, or delay your claim as much as possible. To prevent this, you must understand the most important things to do, and what mistakes to avoid.
When talking to an insurance company, you should:
- Remain polite: It is crucial to remain calm and polite with the insurance company. You can tell the adjuster from your insurance company the basic details of your case, such as the name and contact information of the other driver, and where and when the accident occurred. Be polite, but do not discuss your injuries or how you are feeling. You do not have to speak with an adjuster from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The safest course of action is to politely refer any insurance adjusters to your lawyer.
- Record information: You should take note of the name of the person you are speaking with, the person’s title, the name of the insurance company, and the address and phone number of the insurance company. The insurance adjuster will also likely have another phone number, or at least a separate extension, and you should write this information down as well.
- Wait: You may be eager to accept any settlement offer the adjuster makes during your first conversation. In fact, the insurance companies are betting on it. This settlement offer is going to be very low and will not likely cover the entire cost of your injuries. Wait to speak to an attorney who can review the offer and the details of your case and advise on your next steps.
When dealing with an insurance company, there are also important mistakes you should avoid. These include:
- Do not give a written or recorded statement: The insurance adjuster will likely ask you to provide a statement outlining how the accident happened. Do not do this, and certainly do not allow the insurance adjuster to record you. The company will use this against you in the future.
- Do not provide too much information: You can provide basic information to your insurance company when reporting your accident. You can also confirm that you have suffered injuries, but do not provide more information than that. You may not yet know the full extent of your injuries, and talking about them could hurt your case. Also, if you do not know certain details, never guess about anything that happened.
When filing a car accident claim, the most important step you can take is to talk to an attorney about your legal rights. Our attorneys have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies, and we know the tactics they will use to try to minimize or deny your claim. Let us stand strong for you.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit for Damages
There are a number of damages you may be eligible for after a car crash. These include:
- Medical bills
- Lost income and loss of earning capacity
- Property damages
- Cost of household services if you can no longer perform them
- Transportation costs
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
How Our Lawyers Can Help When Filing a Car Accident Claim
After a car accident, you should spend your time trying to recover from your injuries, not worrying about fighting for a fair settlement from the insurance company. At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., our Gainesville car accident lawyers are here to help. We will communicate and negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf to take the pressure off you.
Call us today or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with one of our lawyers so we can get started on your case.