An automobile accident brings with it a host of questions. Who is at fault? Who pays for damage to my car? Who will pay for my medical bills? Should I be compensated for pain and suffering? Can I ask the insurance company to reimburse me for lost wages? It’s important to have your legal rights protected after being involved in an accident, so you do not end up paying for someone else’s negligence.Technically, you can file a personal injury claim against an insurance company by yourself. However, an experienced injury attorney can help simplify the insurance claim and settlement process. This article will discuss some of the ways an attorney can help you with your car accident claim.
Your attorney already knows the personal injury laws and procedural rules and can handle all the legwork. After an accident, you will have to file a claim with your insurance company along with the insurance carrier for the at-fault party. Florida has a no-fault insurance system which means each driver’s medical bills and related expenses are covered first by his or her insurance carrier, regardless of fault. However, for property damage, you can pursue a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. Every driver must carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and $10,000 of property damage liability insurance pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 627.736. Since Florida is a no-fault state, a PIP insurance(Personal Injury Protection) claim must be opened to treat your injuries. You must also file a claim with the other drivers insurance (if they were at fault) to pay for the medical bills and lost wages that exceed PIPs $10,000.00 in maximum benefits.
Next, car insurance settlements are determined by the facts of your case, the language of the car insurance policy, and the controlling law. An experienced attorney will understand how all three of these components come together when assessing the value of your claim. If the insurance company gives you a settlement offer lower than what you expected, an attorney can review the details and provide advice as to whether the value is appropriate given the situation and your insurance policy. Car insurance companies make money by short-paying claims, and, like any business, making money is the primary objective. While this does not mean your insurance company is untrustworthy, it does suggest that you should be wary of any settlement offer and review the fine print carefully before signing. Sometimes your car accident may be much more severe than just an ordinary fender bender. If you suffer injuries in a car accident, the legal issues involved become much more complicated. One of the most important responsibilities of a car accident attorney is establishing and fully proving the harm that you have suffered. Sometimes the symptoms of injuries don’t appear for weeks, even months, after a car accident. A good lawyer will recognize injuries that you did not even realize you have sustained. These can include past and future lost wages and loss to future earning capacity, future medical costs including treatment and surgery. Insurance companies have teams of lawyers and adjusters who begin evaluating your injury claim once they receive notice of such. The only way for you to level the playing field is to hire a car accident lawyer. If you enter into a quick settlement with the insurance company and then find out that you need more medical treatment for your injuries, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for additional compensation.
To be eligible for compensation from a driver who caused a crash, injury victims need to show that the driver was negligent. Every motor vehicle operator has a legal duty to drive with reasonable care and in a way that does not put others at risk of injury. When liability after a car accident is contested, an investigation may become necessary to establish negligence. A car accident lawyer will know where and how to look for evidence that supports your case. Car accident characteristics such as time, speed, and distance are all relevant facts to prove negligence of another. Therefore, witness accounts and their observations are important and must be documented as soon as possible. Showing that you have a permanent injury must also be supported by objective medical evidence and is a necessary legal threshold that needs to be met under Florida law. If we are retained to represent you, our attorneys will gather all evidence that is required in order to support your case. All potential evidence will be preserved in order to maximize the full amount of compensation which the law permits.
Finally, if you’re not sure whether to hire an attorney or handle the claim yourself, you can always get a free consultation to evaluate all of your options. Most law firms don’t charge for an initial office visit and can review your case and possibly point out some information about your case you hadn’t considered. Retaining an attorney can result in a much higher net settlement, if not, at least you had a highly trained professional review your case for free.
Although the value of hiring an attorney varies with each situation, having experienced legal counsel will help anyone injured in a car accident improve their chances of getting a high claim settlement. Attorneys take a portion of the final amount, and settlement negotiations will delay your payout; but more often than not, it is worth the added cost, particularly with high dollar claims. When considering a car insurance settlement, remember to be patient, consider all of your options, and reach out to an attorney for a free consultation before accepting money from your insurance company.