If you have been involved in a car accident, many questions might come to mind. Will my insurance cover this? Whose fault is this? How do I approach my claim?
Something you may not think of, especially in the case of a minor accident, is if you need a lawyer. In Florida, auto insurance covers property damages to your vehicle as well as providing PIP (personal injury protection). How much is covered depends on your policy and your ability to negotiate with your company. If you feel that your insurance company may not be up to snuff, having a lawyer on your side can make a world of difference.
To determine whether you need to hire a lawyer, we at The Law Place always recommend consulting with a qualified attorney for your accident claim. We offer a free consultation with no obligation to ensure that you know your options and can proceed confidently with your minor car accident claim. If it is determined that you have a legitimate insurance claim, having a lawyer will help you proceed confidently in the negotiations with your insurance company.
All of our attorneys work together on every case. We guarantee a thorough and experienced approach to your personal injury claim or property damage assessment. We’ll handle the details you don’t have time for. The Law Place works on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless you do. Our pay structure will be outlined in your consultation, so there are no surprise fees or costs.
Call our law firm today to schedule your free consultation at (941) 444-4444.
What Qualifies as a Minor Car Accident?
Under Florida Law, accidents that do not result in major personal injuries, involve commercial vehicles, or more than $500 in property damage qualify as minor car accidents. In all car crash cases, the involved parties must make a report to the police.
You can request a copy of this report, and it will serve as evidence that will help bolster your claim with your insurance company. Any party who does not report an accident may be subject to fines or imprisonment depending on the severity of the situation.
Minor car accidents occur every day for many reasons:
- Bumper to bumper traffic collision
- Backing into an unseen vehicle
- Parallel parking mistakes
- Sliding on wet roads into another car or a property
- Turn signal errors
These are just a few of the ways a minor motor vehicle accident can happen. Road conditions, driver awareness, and just plain bad luck may all contribute to your potential fender bender. It is important to be prepared for the unexpected and have good insurance. The Law Place always recommends having a lawyer on retainer as well. A personal injury lawyer will help you negotiate with your insurance company and give you the power to move forward with your claim confidently.
What Is Florida’s No-Fault Law?
Insurance providers cover expenses related to minor car crashes, regardless of fault. This is known as Florida’s No-Fault law, listed under Florida Statute 627.7407. The same statute requires all drivers to carry car insurance with PIP (personal injury protection).
Major accidents may negate the No-Fault law if serious injury is sustained. Florida Statute 316.027 outlines the requirements for the serious injury threshold to be met.
In most cases, a minor car accident will not result in a lawsuit. However, if minor injuries evolve into major ones, such as whiplash turning into a slipped disk, you may then be able to file for additional damages. If a claim has already been made, it will be difficult to file for additional damages. Keep all medical records on hand, just in case.
How Can I Settle a Car Accident Without a Lawyer?
Directly after a minor accident, certain steps must be taken to make a claim with your insurer. You must file a police report, seek medical attention if necessary, and contact your insurance provider. To file a personal injury claim, according to Florida Statute 627.736, you must seek medical attention within 14 days of the incident. Otherwise, insurance has the right to deny compensation.
Insurance providers will investigate the claim and determine the amount of compensation they deem necessary, depending on the circumstances of the event. Having the police report, receipt of medical service and pictures of the accident will help you negotiate your remuneration. Insurers will then offer you a settlement for their determined amount, which they must get you to sign. The Law Place does not recommend signing any settlements without consulting a lawyer.
You may receive a just amount for the damages you claim, and you may not. All of this depends on the quality and honesty of your insurance provider.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer If I Have Insurance?
You may think to yourself, “If I have insurance and I’m covered, why would I need a lawyer to help me in the first place?”
Unfortunately, a personal injury claim and valuation of damage to your motor vehicle may be delayed, undervalued, and discredited in an attempt to boost the insurer’s profit margins. Most providers are extremely large, billion-dollar companies that have a team of lawyers and adjusters whose entire job is making sure you get as little money as possible. Especially in Florida, where No-Fault/PIP laws mean insurance is on the hook in the case of an accident, they will want to mitigate their losses as much as possible.
Insurers can make the process as unnecessarily complex as they want and delay your claim as long as possible. The statute of limitations for accident claims in Florida is four years from the date of the crash, so they have plenty of time to do so.
You could take on the giant alone and play David to the insurance Goliath. You may even win; however, the chance is slim.
Having an exceptional law firm on your side can change these odds. Your car accident and personal injury lawyer will hold insurance providers accountable to their customers and make sure you get the maximum payment allowed under your policy. Your best interests are at the heart of our legal representation.
Consult Our Team of Experienced Car Accident Lawyers Today
Have you experienced a minor car accident recently? Have you endured minor injuries and property damage? Are you unsure of whether you need to hire a lawyer for your claim?
Here at The Law Place, we pride ourselves on having a team of experienced and exceptional car accident lawyer in Sarasota ready to fight on your behalf. All of our attorneys work together on every case, and no stone will be left unturned as we investigate and ready your insurance claim. All our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we won’t get paid until you do. Contingency fee structuring is monitored by the Florida State Bar Association.
If you have been in a minor car accident, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Call us at The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444.