Navigating the insurance process after a car accident is complex, and most insurance adjusters don’t do anything to make it easier. Many injury victims come to our team with questions about what they can expect as they pursue a claim. This blog covers some basics of the insurance system in Florida and provides valuable information an insurer may not share. If you’re not sure you’ve been getting honest answers, or you want to verify what you’ve heard, read on.
What’s the Difference Between “Fault” and “No-Fault” States?
In a “no-fault” state like Florida, every driver carries insurance that includes a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) component. Rather than filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance after an accident, you will reach out to your insurer to cover your medical bills.
In a no-fault system, injury victims are often able to recover compensation more quickly. However, the $10,000 in PIP most people carry does not cover the losses associated with a serious accident. Additionally, there are limits on when you can file a suit against the at-fault driver. We can help you understand how to make the system work for your benefit.
How Can I Make a Claim In a No-Fault State like Florida?
Because of Florida’s no-fault rules, after an accident, your first step in receiving compensation will be to call your insurer. If you carry the required insurance minimums, your PIP coverage will pay for up to $10,000 in damages. This includes medical treatment, pharmaceuticals, and lost income.
In accidents that cause severe injuries, $10,000 will not be near enough to cover an individual’s losses. Once your damages exceed this amount, or when an accident causes a permanent injury, you are allowed to file a suit against the at-fault driver. Our attorneys can walk you through the legal process and prepare you for what to expect.
What is the 14-Day Rule?
To be eligible to file an insurance claim after a car accident, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days. You should always visit a doctor, an urgent care clinic, or an emergency room as soon as possible after an accident even if you’re not in pain because some injuries do not make themselves known until later. If you can’t go right away, for whatever reason, it’s imperative to get care within 2 weeks of your accident. Otherwise, your insurer can legally deny your claim.
Why is it important to get medical attention quickly after an accident? It’s because some injuries, if left untreated, can become worse. Your insurer doesn’t want to have to pay for excess treatment that you wouldn’t have needed if you simply got help right away. You certainly don’t want to have the shoulder these expenses either, so make sure you see a doctor as soon as possible after a crash.
How Long After a Car Accident Do You Have to Make a Claim?
There’s no official deadline to report an accident to your insurer (though you should do it within a few days), but if you wish to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, you have 4 years from the date of the accident to do so.
This gives accident victims time to seek initial treatment and determine whether the $10,000 they carry in PIP will suffice for treatment. However, it’s not an invitation to wait a long time to get started. The sooner you talk to our team, the more we can do to start finding and preserving evidence that might otherwise be lost after an accident. If you’re not sure whether you even want to file, we offer free, no-obligation consultations; one of our attorneys can evaluate your case and let you know if and how a lawsuit might benefit you.
How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Settle a Florida Car Accident Claim?
Your insurer may require written notice of damages, but once you have submitted this, it is responsible for paying the claim within 30 days. If an insurance adjuster suspects fraud, they have an additional 60 days to investigate it. Within 90 days of being given notice of a claim, an insurer must either pay it (with interest, if the payment is made later than 30 days after receipt of the claim) or deny it.
What Is the Average Car Accident Payout?
Depending on the source you consult, the average car accident settlement is somewhere between $15,000 and $30,000. However, because each car accident is unique and averages can be skewed by outliers, these numbers don’t mean as much as many people think they do.
If you truly want to know how much you should expect, or whether the offer you’re receiving is reasonable, you should speak with an experienced accident attorney. Knowing the average settlement account won’t tell you whether your insurer is trying to underpay you. An attorney can.
What Additional Damages Could I Get If I Decide to Sue After a Car Accident?
If you file a lawsuit against the driver that caused your car accident, you may be able to recover unpaid medical bills and lost wages as well as non-economic damages. In Rhode Island, a lawsuit can help you recover additional damages that are not available in an insurance claim.
This is because PIP does not cover all expenses associated with an accident. First, your policy may have a deductible—an amount you have to pay out-of-pocket before coverage kicks in. After you reach your deductible, PIP only covers 80% of the costs of your necessary medical treatments and 60% of lost wages. And, it will only pay this much until you reach your policy’s maximum—$10,000, for most.
Therefore, you may be faced with significant expenses even after turning to your insurance. In a car accident lawsuit, you can request compensation for anything your insurer did not pay, including the remaining percentage of your medical bills and lost wages. We can also help you calculate compensation for challenges like pain, suffering, mental anguish, and disability.
Because a personal injury lawsuit can increase your compensation manyfold, it’s worth considering if you are eligible to file. When recovering from an accident, knowing you have a safety net can reduce your stress and allow you to focus more on healing. Ask our attorneys how we can help you secure your finances and future if you were injured in a serious car accident.
Call Schlesinger Law Offices, P.A. today at (954) 467-8800 for your free consultation. Our attorneys are available to speak with you any time, day or night.