To settle a car accident injury claim in Florida, you will need to file a personal injury claim with your insurance company. However, if your damages exceed personal injury protection (PIP) limits, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
PIP Limits in Florida car accident claims include:
- Up to 80% of medical expenses
- Travel reimbursement for visits to doctors
- Up to 60% of lost wages
- $5,000 in death benefits
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Steps to Settling a Car Accident Injury Claim in Florida
The deadline (Statute of Limitations) for filing a personal injury claim in Florida is four years from the date of your car accident.
1. Contact Your Insurance Company
In Florida, an injured driver claims on their own insurance provider after an accident (due to the No-Fault Insurance Policy Law). So first you need to notify the insurance provider that you want to file a personal injury claim.
Insurance companies are for-profit and will do everything they can to minimize their expenses. So be prepared for a lot of questions, many of which may try to lure you into admitting fault for the accident.
We advise that before you make the call, you go through what you remember happening and the details of your injuries so that you’re not caught out on the call. There will also be a lot of technical questions, such as the make and model of your car.
The best thing to do (especially if you have significant injuries) is to hire a Florida car accident lawyer. Our personal injury attorneys will communicate on your behalf, so you can get the maximum possible settlement.
Do not accept a low-ball offer at this point. You need to calculate your claim’s worth first, and any immediate offer from an insurance company is almost always insufficient.
2. Build Evidence
The key to settling a car accident injury claim in Florida is proof and evidence. You’ll need to collect enough documentation to build a link between your damages (injuries and related expenses) and the accident.
You should gather:
- A copy of the car accident report from the police
- Photos or videos of the scene of the accident. If you didn’t take any yourself, you may be able to acquire some from local journalists or CCTV.
- Photos of the damage to your vehicle.
- Photographs and notes of your injuries, from day one and onwards.
- Copies of medical records and doctors’ or specialists’ notes that detail your injuries, prescribed treatments and prognosis.
- Any information or accounts you have of how you’ve experienced the injuries (both physically and mentally), such as how it’s affected your work life, personal life, ability to care for your family and get through the day.
If you struggle to gather this evidence, or you are in too much discomfort or pain to do so, our Florida personal injury attorneys can help.
Be Wary of Delayed Symptoms
Many car accident symptoms appear days, weeks and sometimes even months after the accident.
This is especially true with head injuries, where the brain’s swelling becomes a secondary injury causing a range of different symptoms. If you experience delayed symptoms, visit a doctor as soon as possible.
Read Related: Why Are Car Accident Symptoms Often Delayed
3. Calculate Your Damages Value
To know if you’ve been offered a fair settlement from your insurance company, you’ll need to know what your car accident damages are worth.
This means analyzing economic and non-economic damages such as:
- Your existing medical expenses (including any covered by your health insurance and out-of-pocket expenses)
- Cost of medical equipment
- Your loss of income
- Costs to repair or replace your vehicle
- The cost of your pain and suffering
- The loss of future income
- The estimated future medical costs, such as for ongoing treatment, doctor’s visits, transport, surgery and medication.
By knowing this estimated value, you can then avoid accepting a low-ball offer that is insufficient. We often see people fail to complete this step and then have to pay bills themselves (which they may not be able to afford).
4. Send a Demand Letter
Once you’ve calculated an estimated figure for the compensation, you need to submit a ‘Demand Letter’ to the insurance company.
The letter should contain enough evidence and documentation to support your car accident claim. Our Florida car accident attorneys can assist you with this, to make a strong and convincing claim.
5. Settlement Negotiations
It’s rare that the insurance company will settle a car accident injury claim in Florida by immediately paying the requested amount. Sadly, they’ll try to counter you with a lower offer.
But you can negotiate for the maximum compensation, and contrary to what you may be told, you can always use a personal injury lawyer.
Insurance companies are notorious for using all sorts of manipulative tricks at this point, including claiming you’re the at-fault driver, saying your injuries were not caused by the accident, saying you’ll recover sooner than you claim and more.
6. Filing a Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Driver
You can also settle your car accident in Florida by seeing the driver who is at-fault for the accident, if there was:
- A significant loss of ability to perform a bodily function;
- Permanent loss or permanent aggravation of a pre-existing condition;
- Irreversible or significant scarring or disfigurement; or
Injuries such as these with an at-fault driver can call for a lawsuit to claim damages in excess of your PIP policy coverage.
Please contact our Florida personal injury attorneys if you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident involving an at-fault driver and the injuries list above.
Read related: How Does PIP Work in Florida After a Car Accident?
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Florida
If you need to settle a car accident injury claim in Florida, our Personal Injury Lawyers can help you win the maximum possible settlement.
Our award winning attorneys have vast experience helping people like you build a like between their ancient and injuries, so they receive the necessary financial coverage.
Contact us today for a free consultation.