What Questions Should I Ask an Attorney After a Car Accident in Fort Lauderdale?
Our Fort Lauderdale car accident law firm has decades of experience with Florida auto accidents. We’ve listened to our clients’ tragic stories and we work hard to earn them compensation. In order to help our clients even before we meet with them, our Florida automobile accident lawyers compiled 10 of the most common questions we hear. Peruse this information but we still encourage you to schedule a free consultation to get personalized legal attention.
Why doesn’t the at-fault person’s insurance coverage covers my medical bills?
Most people’s immediate reaction after being injured in a car accident is that the person that caused the accident should pay my medical bills. It does, but only partially. Because of Florida’s PIP law – the “Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law”, Florida is known as a “no fault” state. This means that if you are injured in a car accident, your medical bills will be covered under your own PIP insurance up to your policy limits. If you have medical bills that exceed your policy limits, then you can pursue the at-fault person, or his/her insurance policy to cover your excess medical bills.
Will my insurance rates go up if I make a claim under my PIP coverage?
Probably a better question is – when is the last time your insurance rates actually went down? The likely answer is never. This means that your insurance rates are going to go up whether you make a car accident claim or not. However, because Florida is a no fault state, you are required to submit your medical bills for payment through your PIP insurance. If you were to present to you primary care doctor and tell him you were in a car accident, he or she is not supposed to treat you through your health insurance – only through PIP. And because you don’t have a choice, submitting your medical bills through your PIP coverage should not affect your insurance rates.
Can I make a claim against the at fault person’s insurance?
Absolutely, but only if that person carries bodily injury (BI) coverage. Unfortunately for car accidents, Florida only requires a driver to carry PIP coverage and property damage (PD). As such, ALL car insurance policies sold in Florida will have PIP and PD coverage. To obtain BI coverage, a person must request it from their insurance company. BI coverage is the type of insurance coverage that can cover any medical bills that are not covered by your PIP. BI coverage can also cover you for your lost wages from a car accident, and pain and suffering from your injuries.
Who will pay my deductible if my car is damaged?
As long as the at fault person has insurance coverage, you will not get hit with a deductible. Even if your insurance company pays for your property damage, the at fault person’s insurance coverage must still pay you your deductible.
How do I verify whether the person that caused the accident has insurance coverage?
There are two types of documents you will receive from the investigating police department after a Florida car accident. You may get a short form crash report which is usually one page long and will contain the driver’s name and address, and insurance information if they have it. However, in some instances, you may only receive a small business card which contains the crash report number, which you will then need to obtain. Either way, you will need to contact the insurance company to find out what type coverage is available.
Am I required to speak to the other person’s insurance company?
No; you may want to in certain instances but you are under no obligation to. Keep in mind, every insurance company has different adjusters that work on a Florida car accident claim. There are PIP adjusters, uninsured motorist adjusters, property damage adjusters, and bodily injury adjusters. It is important to know who you are speaking to if you are contacted by an insurance company after an accident. You may want to speak to the other person’s property damage adjuster as that will speed up getting your car fixed. But, you should avoid speaking to the other person’s bodily injury adjuster.
Can I get a car rental?
Only if you have rental coverage. However, some insurance companies will agree to provide a car rental if their insured caused an accident, but only for a limited time.
Where can I get my car fixed?
If it’s a newer car, go to the dealer. The dealer is best equipped to evaluate damage to your car, and repair it satisfactorily with genuine manufacturer parts. A dealer will most likely be the most expensive place to get your car fixed, but the repair is being covered by insurance, so the cost should not be a concern to you. If your car is an older model, you are free to have it repaired at whatever facility you feel will do a quality job.
Should I see a doctor right away, or wait to see if my injury goes away?
I wish I had a few dollars for every time I have heard a person say they have a nagging injury from an old accident. The problem with all injuries is that you don’t know how it will heal, or how you are going to feel 6 weeks after the accident, 6 months, or even 6 years. The most common type of injuries from car accidents are usually neck and back, and joints like your shoulder and knees. Once these areas of your body suffer a traumatic injury, they tend to develop arthritis and degenerative conditions. The best policy is to always see a doctor after your car accident if you are feeling any pain. Even if you don’t go back to the doctor for a few months, you will document with the doctor that you had an accident, and that you suffered an injury. No insurance company will be able to dispute later that you had an injury following the accident.
Should I pursue a claim for my injuries after a car accident?
If you were injured in a car accident, the question is why would you not? Our Fort Lauderdale car accident law firm handles claims and lawsuits on a contingent basis. That means that you do not pay any upfront costs, and attorney’s fees are only paid if money is recovered for you. You have no risk in pursuing the claim. However, the benefit to pursuing a claim is that you may not have any out of pocket expenses, i.e. lost wages, copays, car rental, deductibles, and if you suffered a serious injury, money can be recovered for your pain and suffering and difficulties with daily living caused by the car accident.
Can a Fort Lauderdale car accident law firm pursue a claim without notifying the auto insurance company?
When an auto accident results in only minor damage, both drivers may agree to settle the issue without getting their insurance companies involved. Why? Going through insurance is generally pretty straightforward, but it may result in high monthly premiums, regardless of blame. Therefore, handling the situation on their own can be less expensive for both parties. However, it is often much riskier. With that in mind, here are three things you must do if you decide to settle an auto collision without the aid of insurance.
1. Exchange information. Just as you would were you going through insurance, you need the other driver’s info, including name, phone numbers, address, drivers’ license numbers, etc.
2. Get a police report. When it comes to establishing blame for an auto accident, nothing is more persuasive than a police report. Once the officer at the scene files his/her report, negotiations over damages can commence without argument or dispute.
3. Obtain an estimate. Negotiations over damages should run far more smoothly if you get two or three estimates for repairs instead of one. Although these quotes may only vary by a small amount, they will let the other party know that you would like to settle things as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Insisting that you use a particular mechanic almost always makes things harder than they have to be.
Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Law Firm to Ease Your Mind
Car accidents are stressful. At Maus Law, we understand that you will have questions. Don’t feel as though you have to answer them for yourself. Schedule a free consultation with our experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident law firm today. Call toll-free: 855-999-5297 No recovery, no fee and we have Spanish-speaking employees.