We live in an imperfect world where some people at fault in auto accidents may not take any responsibility for their actions or keep their promises. Therefore, if you’re injured in a car accident, you could have some difficulty getting the at-fault driver to accept liability or getting the insurance company to compensate you for your losses.
This still should not discourage you from seeking compensation from the parties responsible for your injuries or accident. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you can take measures to protect your interests. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when filing an insurance claim after a car accident in Florida.
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The Do’s of Filing Car Insurance Claims
Some of the things you should do immediately after a car accident in Florida include:
Stop, Stay Calm, and Call for Help
Florida law requires those involved in an accident to remain at the scene, per Florida Statutes § 316.027(2)(a). If you leave the accident scene in the event of property damage, it’s a misdemeanor. On the other hand, if you leave the accident scene in the face of an injury or death, it’s a felony.
After the accident occurs, you want to ensure that you and the other passengers are not seriously injured. If you or any passengers are hurt, seek medical help immediately.
Report the Accident
Florida law also requires drivers to report all car accidents involving fatality, hit-and-run, property damage exceeding $500, and drunk or impaired drivers. When police officers arrive, make sure you give them all the details about the accident. It would help if you also asked the officers how to get a copy of the police report. You will need to submit it to your insurance provider.
Document the Accident
If you’re physically able to, you can document the accident by taking pictures and videos of your injuries, vehicle damage, and the accident scene. You should also get the names and contact information of any passersby or drivers who saw the accident. Their statements can benefit your account of events.
Exchange Contacts and Insurance Information
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), every driver is legally required to have auto insurance with a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability and $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP). Therefore, you must get the other driver’s name, phone number, license plate number, insurance information, and license number to give to your insurance provider.
Consult with a Car Accident Lawyer
You can contact a personal injury law firm that manages auto accident cases that will help you seek damages after a car accident in Florida. Hiring an attorney can give you a better chance of understanding how to go about seeking compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
The Don’ts of Filing Car Insurance Claims
There are some things you should avoid doing at all costs when you’re involved in a car accident in Florida, such as the following:
Don’t Move an Injured Person
Unless there is a looming fire, explosion, or a second accident, you should avoid moving an injured or unconscious person. If it’s a serious accident, you shouldn’t attempt to drive your car until the police officers permit you to do so.
Do Not Admit Fault
Even if you’re naturally inclined to apologize for things that seem to be your fault, you should never admit fault in an accident. This is because an insurance company can use something as simple as an apology as an admission of liability.
Do not apologize to anyone, even if you feel like you may be liable for the accident. Instead, stick to the facts and do not make assumptions about your liability. Also, don’t post or write anything online that the insurance company can use against you.
Seek an attorney’s help as soon as you can. They can advise you on what to say to an insurance company or handle the insurer on your behalf if you hire legal representation.
Do Not Sign Any Insurance Documents
You may want to consult a car accident lawyer before signing any documents or accepting a proposed settlement. This is because an insurance company might attempt to offer you minimum compensation against your claim. Your signature could even waive your right to take further legal action against the driver and the insurance company.
A car accident lawyer will guide you throughout the process and even negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. They will assess all your damages, even the ones you may not know you have, and come up with a settlement figure that meets your needs.
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Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for a Free Case Review
If you’ve recently been in a car accident in Florida, you can seek to be compensated for your losses. Knowing the do’s and don’ts for car insurance claims in Florida is a good place to start.
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can help you navigate the process of filing an auto insurance claim or lawsuit. Contact us today at 1-800-747-3733 for a free case review where you can review your legal options.