Every year thousands of people are injured or lose their lives in motor vehicle accidents on roads and highways across Florida. For most of the victims, it will be the first time they have ever been involved in a serious accident. Unlike the best car wreck lawyer in Houston who places client confidentiality and priority on the top, Florida still happens to lack certain such quick responding attorneys who are available for the clients 24/7.
This blog post will list some things you should know about protecting your legal case for damages BEFORE you get into an accident.
Know how our car insurance works
Many people pay auto insurance premiums for years without ever really understanding how insurance works in Florida. Here is a brief overview.
You may have heard it said that Florida is a “no-fault” car insurance state. That means that everyone who registers a car for the road is required to carrry a minimum of $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and a minimum of $10,000 property damage coverage.
If you are injured in a car wreck, you must first file damages against your own PIP coverage…even if you were not at fault. If injury damages exceed the amount of your PIP coverage, then you can sue for additional compensation from the other driver’s insurance.
Florida is a pure comparative fault state. That means that each driver involved in an accident will be “assigned” a certain percentage of liability for causing the wreck. For example, if you are found to be only 10% at fault, you may sue for 90 percent of any additional financial damages over and above your own PIP coverage.
But it is important to bear in mind that every party injured in your vehicle is entitled to claim damages against your PIP policy first. For this reason, many drivers choose to insure themselves for significantly more than the minimum PIP coverage required by law.
Drivers in Florida are also required by law to carry a minimum of $10,000 property damage coverage, which works in much the same way, except with auto body repair costs.
Protecting your interests after an accident
With the way auto insurance works in this state, every car wreck actually involves two important considerations: 1) What percentage of fault will be assigned to each driver? And 2) What are the total financial damages to be paid?
To protect your financial interests, you will want to make sure the police and insurance investigators have all the facts when making out their accident reports to determine liability.
Here are some simple steps you can take:
- Don’t turn down any medical treatment at the scene of the accident. Take a ride to in the ambulance to the emergency room. Follow your doctor’s orders to the letter and keep all medical records provided to you.
- Say nothing to anybody about the accident except to the police officer taking the official accident report
- Have an uninjured party take photos of the wreckage and record contact information from any eyewitnesses at the scene
- Have someone in your party write down everything about the accident, including whether and road conditions, traffic, speed of travel, etc. Do not share the information with anybody
- When you are safely home, report the accident to your own insurance company but do not make any formal recorded deposition or sign any official documents
- Continue to follow all medical orders
- Do not speak to the other driver or representatives from the other driver’s insurance company or legal counsel
- Schedule a consultation with an attorney who has extensive experience representing clients in car accident litigation in the metropolitan area where your accident occurred
By knowing how to protect your legal rights before you get into an accident, you will be helping your case for in the event you have to sue for damages, or are sued by the other party.