Process of Filing a Car Accident Claim
After a car accident, many people require compensation to repair vehicle damages, treat injuries, pay medical bills, or recover lost wages if they miss work because of the accident and their injuries. In order to do so, they must file a car accident claim. The following provides a brief explanation regarding the process of filing a car accident claim in Florida.
Report the Accident and File a Claim with Your Insurer
The first step to filing a claim for damages is to call your insurance company following the accident. Florida is a no-fault insurance state, meaning drivers can file a claim with their own insurer after an accident, regardless of who caused the wreck. Drivers must carry $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP), and may recover up to the full amount if they suffer an emergency medical condition, or up to $2,500 if they suffer non-emergency medical conditions.
A doctor will determine whether the injury meets the emergency medical condition definition. Keep in mind, drivers must seek initial medical care within 14 days of the accident in order to recover PIP benefits.
Drivers may have other coverage as well, such as collision coverage that covers repair or replacement of a damaged vehicle regardless of fault. Explore your policy to determine which coverage may be applicable for your particular accident and damages.
If Another Driver is at Fault, File a Liability Claim
If another driver caused the accident, then you may file a liability claim against that driver’s insurer. All drivers must carry property damage liability coverage, and many also carry bodily injury liability coverage.
Report the accident to the at-fault driver’s insurer if you plan to file a liability claim.
You’ll have to prove the following.
- The other driver caused the wreck
- You suffered injuries because of the wreck
- You suffered damages
A Claims Adjuster is Assigned to Your Case
After you report your car accident to the liability insurance company and file a claim, a claims adjuster will be assigned to your case.
A claims adjuster is responsible for the following.
- Gathering evidence about your accident
- Taking photos
- Collecting information about any injuries you sustained
- Getting a copy of the police report
- Reviewing your car insurance policy
- Anything else pertinent to the amount of money that you may receive
In regard to your medical care, you may be asked by your insurance agent to sign a document releasing your medical records to the adjuster. You should never sign anything without consulting your attorney first. Instead, you can provide evidence of accident-related medical bills to your insurance adjuster.
Insurers Make a Settlement Offer
Following the assessment of all evidence and data, including medical expenses and vehicle repair expenses, the insurance adjuster will make a settlement offer. Often times, an insurance company’s settlement offer is much lower than it should be. If this is the case, you have the right to ask for a larger settlement, or hire an attorney to help you recover a fair amount. If necessary, you may also forego accepting a settlement offer from a car insurance company, and instead pursue a personal injury suit for damages.
Speak with an Attorney for Help In the Claims Process
If you need help during the claims process, believe you have been offered an unfair settlement amount, or want to file a civil suit against the other driver to reclaim damages, speak with an attorney. At Chalik & Chalik Law Offices, our attorneys can assist you in understanding the claims process, and can help you obtain the settlement you deserve. To speak with an attorney today, call us now at 855-529-0269.