As a Florida driver, you are probably aware the state’s no-fault auto insurance law requires you to carry a personal injury protection (PIP) policy. However, if you are like many drivers, you may not understand exactly what this means for you after a crash.
These policies pay out quickly to cover injuries and minimal lost wages after a fender bender or other relatively minor crash. Their limits are high enough to cover a visit to the emergency room, but coverage does not extend much beyond that. Of course, not all accidents are minor; some collisions lead to catastrophic injuries that require months of treatment and years of ongoing care.
When an accident victim suffers serious injuries, they often have additional options for getting the compensation they need. At the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine, we understand you need legal guidance and support to recover the compensation you deserve. Call our office today at 800-747-3733 to schedule a complimentary case evaluation with a car accident lawyer in Cape Coral.
Do I always file a claim based on my PIP policy?
In almost every instance, the first auto insurance claim you file after a crash will be with your own insurance company based on your PIP coverage. However, if you carry the minimum coverage in the state’s no-fault laws, you only have $10,000 to pay your medical bills and cover your lost wages. If you suffered serious injuries, your treatment likely exceeded this limit during your hospital stay.
When you find yourself in this situation, give us a call. We can file your claim and work directly with your insurance company. If necessary, we can also file a PIP suit against your insurer. You can focus on your physical recovery while we ensure that your right to file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver remains protected.
Do I qualify for any additional compensation?
Florida’s insurance laws set a threshold for determining if an accident is serious enough to warrant a third-party claim based on the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage. If you meet this threshold and another driver caused your crash, we can file a claim to cover losses your PIP policy does not cover. This includes pain and suffering and other emotional losses.
The criteria used to determine if you meet the serious injury threshold include:
- Injuries that will cause your death, either immediately or in the future;
- A significant impairment to an important body part;
- Permanent injuries; and
- Scarring or disfigurement of prominent areas of the body.
During your initial consultation, we will discuss the details of your accident injuries, and determine if you are eligible to file a claim for compensation above and beyond what your PIP policy covers. If it appears you may qualify, we will request your medical records and other documentation to prove you meet the threshold. Once we have that in-hand, we can pursue a third-party liability claim against the driver who caused your accident.
How does the claims process work?
Winning compensation through a third-party liability claim requires us to prove another driver’s negligence caused your crash. This requires a plethora of evidence, from pictures of the scene to eyewitness accounts. We often bring in accident reconstruction experts and other specialists to help us prove your case.
After collecting the documentation necessary to prove negligence and cause, we present this information—as well as the proof we collected to show your accident-related damages—to the other driver’s insurance company. We issue a demand letter requesting they pay you fair compensation for your damages. This letter outlines the severe nature of your injuries, the effect this crash will have on your life, and the amount of compensation you need as a result.
Usually, the insurance company responds to this claim and demand letter with a settlement offer that is significantly lower than we requested. This is what we expect in these cases. It simply begins a process of settlement negotiations. During these negotiations, we fight aggressively for fair compensation for you. In the vast majority of cases, this is effective and we reach a settlement during this process.
Rarely, an insurance company will deny a claim and refuse our appeals. When this occurs, we may need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and their insurer in civil court.
How can I understand the full value of my auto insurance claim?
The only way to be sure about the value of your claim is to discuss it in-depth with our lawyers. Every case is different. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to putting a value on these claims. As we build a case to support your claim, we collect evidence to prove its value. This evidence includes medical bills, receipts, estimates, and proof of lost wages. We collect documentation to prove all your economic damages, including many you might overlook on your own.
We add up your economic losses, including your:
- Ambulance ride;
- Emergency department costs;
- Inpatient treatment and hospitalization;
- Inpatient rehabilitation;
- Outpatient physical therapy;
- Prescription drugs;
- In-home nursing care;
- Wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment;
- Parking fees when going to doctor’s visits; and
- Other accident-related costs.
Including all possible economic losses is important, because we also base the value of your pain and suffering damages off of the total of your financial losses. This total is often exponentially higher than your actual monetary losses, so even a few dollars’ worth of parking receipts can make a difference.
Is there a time limit on how long I can wait to act?
Florida law gives you four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash. However, there are a number of reasons you should act quickly to get the compensation you need. First, you need a lawyer on your side to ensure your rights remain protected as soon as possible after a crash. Plus, you will likely need the money to cover your expenses long before this time limit expires. Lastly, there are sometimes shorter time limits on these cases. One example is when the crash involved someone driving a government vehicle.
Our advice is to give us a call as soon as you can. We can schedule a complimentary consultation as soon as a few days after a crash and can get to work on your case. The sooner we start, the easier it is to gather evidence from the scene. Witnesses remember things more clearly and we can sometimes obtain surveillance video of the crash from a nearby business.
How can I talk to a car accident lawyer from the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine?
Call the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine today at 800-747-3733 to schedule your free case analysis. We can help you fight for the full amount of compensation you deserve after a car accident in Cape Coral.