Car accidents can cause severe injuries, financial loss, and emotional distress. Even minor injuries that require immediate medical attention can lead to costly diagnostic tests and treatment, resulting in missed work time. 

If you are not at fault for the accident, can you be held responsible for any damages?

Every car accident case is different. However, these steps can help you increase your chances of getting a fair settlement in Florida.

File an insurance claim against your PIP

Florida drivers must carry no-fault insurance. If you are involved in an accident, you can file a claim against your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage. PIP insurance covers up to 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages. Your policy terms and limits will determine how much you receive.

Maximize your no-fault insurance claim by seeking medical attention within 14 days of the accident and verify that your insurance policy covers all items. To submit to your insurance provider, keep detailed records of all medical bills and lost wages.  

File an insurance claim against the at-fault driver

You also can file a claim against the at-fault driver if you sustain serious injuries.

Florida Statute §627.737
defines serious injuries as

  • Permanent and significant scarring or disfigurement
  • Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
  • Permanent impairment or disability
  • Death

You can sue the driver responsible for the accident to receive compensation for your injuries if they are above the injury threshold. This compensation can include, but is not limited to:

  • Economic losses include lost income, medical expenses, and personal care costs. 
  • Non-economic damages, or pain and suffering, include permanent impairments, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life. 

Steps to take to maximize your compensation for a car accident claim
Report the Car Accident
Drivers involved in an accident have the legal responsibility to stay at the scene until authorities arrive. In addition, all accidents that cause personal injury or property damage exceeding $500 must also be reported to law enforcement.
 
Seek medical attention

Always seek prompt medical care after a car accident. Following a car accident, you should never say that you are okay or fine, as you could have your statements used against you in the future. Instead, say you will visit your doctor to assess your injuries if you do not go directly to the hospital after the accident. Your medical records will establish a connection between the accident and your injuries, crucial in obtaining compensation.

Gather evidence

 Although your injuries might prevent you from taking photographs or making a video, you should still attempt to take photos of the accident scene. Ask for contact information and names of witnesses. When the cause of the crash is not clear, eyewitnesses are a great resource.

Keep copies of all medical bills and any evidence that demonstrates lost wages. In addition, keep copies of all invoices and payments of all expenses incurred. For example, if you hire someone to do household chores, ensure that you get a receipt and a bill. 

Follow your doctor's treatment plan

It is not your intention to make your injuries more severe. Follow the advice of your doctor. Neglecting to follow your doctor's treatment plan may result in your personal injury claim being less valuable. 

Be cautious when dealing with insurance 
Your insurance company is not your friend. The insurance company is unwilling to pay fair compensation for your car accident claim and often will do everything possible to deny you your claim. Use caution when speaking with insurance adjusters or insurance claims investigators. They can use your statements to prove that you were partially at fault for the accident. For example, if you claim that you were speeding and running late, your insurance company could argue that you were speeding. If a jury finds that your speed caused the accident, it could reduce your settlement. Avoid making recorded or written statements until you consult a local car accident lawyer. However, be aware that your phone calls can be recorded, even if you are not informed of the recording. 

Avoid using social media

Your case could be affected by social media. Although you may think your posts are private, an insurance investigator or defense attorney could find them. Talking about the accident or posting about your injuries can cause problems and affect your compensation. It is best not to use social media until you have a case resolved in a car accident. If you choose to use social media, do not post or comment on the accident or your injuries.

Trust An Experienced Accident Attorney

The claims process after a car accident can be confusing and frustrating. A car accident attorney will help you understand your rights and what additional steps to take to maximize your damages.

At Hudgins Law Firm, our sole responsibility is to YOU. We will fight for the compensation you deserve following an auto accident. We deal with insurance companies and take them to court if necessary. To set up a FREE consultation, call us toll-free at 800-950-5534, or complete the contact form on our website. We're the right team for you!


Sources:
https://poissonlaw.com/blog/how-to-maximize-your-car-accident-settlement/ 
https://www.askadamskutner.com/personal-injury/10-tips-maximizing-compensation-personal-injury-case/ 
https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/florida-car-accident-laws.html
https://www.flhsmv.gov/insurance/