How to File a Car Accident Claim in Florida
Recovering from a car accident requires filing a car insurance claim. Car insurance can provide coverage to pay for your medical costs, property repairs and other bills. Before you file, however, there are other steps you must take to fully protect your rights and best interests. Use these steps to correctly file a car accident claim after a motor vehicle collision in Florida.
First Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Florida
Knowing what steps to take immediately after a car crash in Florida is essential for the future of your claim. A car insurance company will pay attention to what you do and say in the aftermath of the car accident. It is constantly looking for ways to use your actions against you to avoid a large payout. Take the following steps right away after a car accident for a stronger position as a claimant:
Stop your vehicle and call 911 to report the accident. Crash reporting is a legal requirement in Florida if anyone suffered an injury or there is property damage in excess of $500.
Exchange information with the other driver, but don’t admit fault. Gather eyewitness information and take photographs while you are still at the scene.
Go to a hospital right away, as you may have injuries that you don’t yet notice.
If you can’t complete all of these steps on your own, don’t worry. Help is available in the form of the police and our office. You don’t have to handle the recovery process alone. Hiring an attorney can allow you to focus on your physical and emotional wellness while a trained and licensed professional completes an investigation and collects evidence for you. A lawyer can assist you with the entire claims process.
Florida Is a No-Fault Car Accident State
Once you’ve completed the basic steps to take after a car accident, you can focus on the insurance claim. Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that regardless of fault, drivers file claims with their own car insurance companies. There is an exception, however, if the crash causes injuries that meet Florida’s serious injury threshold. Here’s how to file a claim based on the circumstances:
Minor injuries. With minor injuries, Florida’s no-fault rule requires you to seek benefits from your own car insurance provider. All drivers in Florida must carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to pay for their own medical costs after a car accident. Call your insurance company to report the accident and file a claim for first-party coverage. You will not have to prove that anyone else was at fault to receive PIP benefits.
Major injuries. Under Florida Statutes Section 627.737, there is an exception to the no-fault rule if a crash victim suffers significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function, permanent injury, significant scarring and disfigurement, or death. In these situations, it is possible to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company for third-party benefits if he or she caused your accident. However, you or your lawyer will need to prove that the other driver is at fault.
Contact our office as promptly as possible, we are happy to offer free advice. Most insurers require claims to be filed within the first few days after the crash. In Florida, there is also a statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit. If you wish to initiate a lawsuit, you must do so within two years of the date of the crash.
What Happens After You File Your Car Accident Claim in Florida?
After you file a car accident claim, you will have to go up against an insurance company in pursuit of fair and full financial compensation for your property damage and medical bills. This often requires assistance from a skilled car accident lawyer. A car insurance company is much more likely to treat you fairly if you hire a lawyer to represent you. For more information about the car accident claims filing process in Florida, contact Kirshner, Groff & Diaz for a free consultation with one of our car accident attorneys.