What To Know
Your accident lawyer will tell you that there are three important things to know when it comes to Florida accident and insurance laws: the no-fault scheme, limits on claims, and comparative fault.
Florida is just one of a few states that implement a no-fault insurance scheme. Every time an accident occurs, the parties involved must get in touch with their insurance companies for compensation no matter who was at fault. Florida insurance law puts personal injury protection insurance (PIP) at a minimum of $10,000. In a way, the Florida insurance industry simplifies the process of settling accident cases, avoiding costly and time-consuming court battles.
Limits On Accident Claims
While the no-fault scheme allows parties to settle issues through their insurance providers, suing for an accident is not always possible in Florida. If the damages are less than $10,000, the PIP will not be able to cover the losses, so you cannot make a claim against the other driver unless the injury you’ve sustained is permanent. If the costs of the accident exceed the PIP minimum, legal action can take place. Usually, medical costs alone that exceed the PIP are enough to file a claim. Additional damages can be identified with the help of a car crash lawyer.
If a case is filed and a settlement is requested, the state will turn to comparative fault laws to determine who the person more at fault is. The objective of comparative fault is to allow both parties to share the blame. While the court decides who is more to blame for an auto accident, comparative fault recognizes that the other can be partially blamed for the accident. As such, if you are found to have contributed to the accident by, say, 20 percent, the damages you claim will be reduced by 20 percent as well.
What To Do
Being in the know is always important, but being able to act quickly right after an accident is more crucial. Below are some things than an accident lawyer will appreciate you doing.
Call right away.
As soon as you are able to make sense of what happened, make the necessary calls. Seek medical assistance if you or others are injured. Do not leave the scene as that is either a misdemeanor (accident caused property damage) or a felony (accident caused an injury or a fatality). Next, call the police. Florida law requires parties involved to report an accident. Also, request the accident report from the police.
Document the scene.
Take pictures of the scene, including the damage done to property and the injuries you and the other party have sustained. Evidence is key when seeking compensation. If you can find witnesses, get their contact details. Their testimonies will help you if you or the other person files a case. If your injuries are not enough for you to secure compensation, witness statements will help corroborate your claims.
Report to your insurance company.
Because of Florida's no-fault rule, reporting the incident to your insurance company is fundamental. Do not make a full-fledged report—state only the most important facts. The report will ensure that you get compensation from your auto insurance provider, and, more importantly, help determine the losses involved.
Indeed, knowing the laws and rules applicable to your situation as well as what to do in the middle of an accident is the key to resolving an incident and filing an accident claim.