After a car accident, you are required to inform your insurance company. What you might not consider is that your insurance adjuster does not have your best interest at heart. Like any big business, profits are their biggest priority. To protect your rights, it is better to let a lawyer handle the communication with your insurance company.
However, your insurance policy will give you a limited amount of time to inform them if you are to be successful in claiming damages, usually 24 hours. This is why we advise everybody who has been involved in a car accident in Florida, to quickly get in touch with a reputable Florida car accident lawyer, like those found at The Law Place. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day so that we can advise you when you need it most.
At the bare minimum, during your free consultation, you will be given advice from someone who has a clear head and is knowledgeable in the law and has experience with incidents like yours. They will give you their honest opinion and guide you to do what they think is best for you. If you decide to hire a car accident attorney, they become your advocate and will speak to the relevant parties on your behalf, taking the weight off your shoulders.
If You Must Speak to an Insurance Adjuster: Just Report the Facts
You should contact a lawyer before you talk to an insurance company, who will handle all of the communication and negotiation. An experienced lawyer will be accustomed to handling insurance companies and will be able to fight for you to be properly compensated.
However, if you must talk to an insurance adjuster, keep your conversation basic. Generally, you should only report the following:
- You were involved in an accident.
- The accident involved property damage.
- Injuries were sustained in the accident.
- You exchanged insurance information with the other parties.
- The police were notified.
- A police report was filed.
When you describe your injuries, don’t speculate, keep your comments general. Do not say that you feel ok, you might not realize the extent of your injuries at first, and anything you say could be used to devalue your claim. Do not allow an insurance adjuster to pressure you into saying anything more.
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Should I Call a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
We advise that everybody calls a law firm as soon as it is convenient after an accident. Firstly, you should prioritize your health. When you are in a position to do so, give your attorney a call. However, here are some things that we advise you to do immediately after the accident:
- Record as much as you can about the other driver’s vehicle. Try and take note of their registration plate, their car brand, color, and condition. And the direction they have driven if they have not remained on the scene.
- If they have remained on the scene, you should obtain their name, address, phone number, insurance company details, and policy number.
- If you are in a safe situation, take pictures of both cars, the damage, and any visible injuries to both parties.
- When possible, draw a sketch of the accident scene. Draw the road and label where you and the other driver were located on the road, as well as arrows to show the directions of travel before the accident.
- Call the police as soon as possible; even in minor accidents, they will compile a police report, which can come in handy as evidence later on. In serious collisions, they will be able to contact the first responder and paramedics, as well as help control the flow of traffic around the accident scene.
- After the accident, record your losses, feelings, and medical bills. These will be vital in seeking compensation if you are not to blame.
With any Florida car accident case, there is a clock ticking from the date of the incident. In the short term, the sooner you call a law firm, the sooner they can begin to investigate for you and obtain evidence. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be for them to find things like police reports or witnesses. It is also important that your insurance company is made aware that you have been in an accident. Therefore, you should contact The Law Place as soon as possible.
In the long term, under Florida state statute laws, you only have four years from the date of your accident to make a claim. After this point, you will be barred from ever making a claim relating to that incident.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Case in Florida?
Personal injury and car accident cases can be extremely complicated. This makes it hard to answer this question with any certainty.
There are three main reasons why a car accident claim might take longer than expected. They are:
- When the liability is hard to prove – This can happen if the other insurance company genuinely believes that you do not have a claim. In these cases, they might take longer to settle then a case where liability is easy to prove. One way this can happen is if there is a dispute over what actually caused your injuries. If you are trying to prove it was negligence and they will not admit fault, the case can take a little bit longer then normal for the insurance company to payout.
- Large payouts- When the amount of money involved is high, insurance companies will usually do everything they possibly can to avoid the payment. By dragging it out, the insurance company will be hoping that the claimant gets tired of the fight and will then accept a lower settlement figure.
- When the injured party has not recovered enough– If one of the injured parties is still recovering from their injuries, or if they are permanent, the case gets a lot more complicated and, thus, will take a lot longer.
Generally, once the settlement has been offered and accepted, the insurance company will have twenty days under Florida law to payout. If it is also a personal injury claim, they then have 30 days to pay out under the same law.
To seek full compensation for your medical bills, your treatment has to be completed, or you will need to have been diagnosed with long term injuries to claim that money back.
In cases where you are seeking large amounts of medical compensation, the case will usually last a lot longer. Often in serious injuries, the victim will need years of treatment, therapy, and medication. Until this can be predicted accurately over the long term, you will find it hard to claim for those bills.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Car Accident That Was My Fault?
We recommend to everybody involved in a car accident to at least get a free consultation with a reputable Florida car accident lawyer. It is better to imagine the worst-case scenario here and to prepare for the eventuality that the other party is also going to hire an attorney and come after you for their damages. When this happens, you will be glad that someone is fighting your corner.
Without an attorney, the other party, their insurance company and their attorney might take advantage of the fact you have no representation. They might push for a higher settlement, especially if there has been a lot of damage. With a good attorney on your side, they will do the talking for you, avoiding the tricks that an insurance adjuster may use in these situations.
If the other party is trying to take advantage or exaggerate their damages, a good car accident lawyer might be able to disprove them. At the very least, a good accident lawyer will be able to ensure that you are treated fairly and reasonably by their insurance company and everyone else involved.
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What Is the Average Payout for a Car Accident?
The average payout in the state of Florida is around $15,000 for a car accident case. Cases that involve serious damages can settle for a lot more. You must bear in mind that this varies from case to case and should only listen to your attorney when it comes to estimated values.
If your accident involves whiplash only, the settlement averages between $10,000 and $20,000, as it is soft tissue damage, whiplash can be a long-lasting and painful injury. Your compensation needs to cover your medical bills and the other losses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
Florida follows a no-fault policy across the state. This means that in accordance with Florida Statute 627.7407, every driver in the state must have their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This pays out in the event of a crash and will give you immediate aid towards your medical bills.
Accidents that only result in minor damages will usually be covered by that person’s PIP insurance. A personal injury court case usually only happens if the damage is severe. Because of this, the average payment for a proper lawsuit in Florida is higher than the average, as most accidents don’t make it past the PIP stage.
If you are considering seeking pain and suffering compensation, it is vital that you accurately record your injuries and medical records. If you are entitled to seal pain and suffering from the insurance company, you should be able to seek around 1.5x of your monetary damages. It is harder to give an average payout for these cases as they are so unique.
Pain and suffering payouts are always determined by the severity of the accident and the severity of the effects on your long-term way of life. The more you can prove you have lost, the higher the payout. These cases usually last a lot longer as you have to wait for the full treatment plan for your injuries to be over in order to claim for them.
What to Look for in a Car Accident Attorney
Not all law firms are created equally. Unfortunately, there has been a rise in the number of law firms in Florida who are simply out to take large numbers of clients on and to settle quickly and easily on their claims.
This conveyor belt approach usually means that these firms do not actually care about your rights and suffering. They often have big budgets for advertising, you will see lots of billboard ads and sleek T.V ads, but when it comes to it, they just want to settle and get you in and out as quickly as possible.
A good law firm, like The Law Place, will be full of skilled attorneys with a wealth of knowledge on car accident claims in Florida. They will not be afraid to stand against any insurance company. They will always look to seek the best possible outcome for you personally. Our team of knowledgeable and skilled lawyers has over 70 years of combined experience at dealing with traffic and personal injury cases in the state of Florida.
If you are still on the fence and want to do your own research so that you can make an informed decision, here is what you should make sure you look for in an auto accident lawyer:
First things first, you should make sure that any potential lawyer that you have spoken too, has interacted with you in a clear and easy to understand manner. They should be up-front about their fees, their wins and losses, their crosses, and their moral values.
A good lawyer will ensure that when you leave their office, you leave it with more answers than questions. If you do not feel like this has done in the first instance, you should probably look elsewhere. You don’t want a break down of communication at a later stage.
Willingness to Provide Referrals
Any good law firm will be able to provide you with details for any references that you can contact. They will be able to back up your potential lawyer’s claims about their ability. You don’t have to contact them, but if your potential attorney won’t provide you with any references at all, this is a big red flag.
Finally, ask them about their experience. If you are looking for a car accident lawyer, it makes sense that you would want to hire a law firm with experience in dealing with car accidents and recovering medical expenses. As well as being experienced in the right field, you will want to see proof that they have won similar cases.
Contact us at The Law Place Today
With numerous successful cases and 70 years of combined experience in Florida car accident cases, The Law Place is here to help you navigate Florida Law. Our knowledgeable and skilled lawyers will stand up for your rights and will fight their hardest to ensure that you are treated reasonably. We don’t roll over at the first settlement. We will stand against the insurance adjuster, the insurance company, and anyone we have to in order to seek the maximum and fair compensation you deserve for your losses and damages.
Contact us today at (888) 224-6114 for a free consultation and work with us to fight for your rights.