Frequently asked Questions - Florida Car Accidents

By Prev Info - October 19, 2022

 1. Do I have to call the police after an accident? There is no law that requires you to call the police after an accident, unless someone is injured. If there is visible damage to either car, or if anyone is injured, you should call the police and make a report.

2. Does it matter who receives the ticket? A ticket does not determine who was at fault. In fact, a ticket cannot be used as evidence at a trial to determine fault. The person who receives the ticket is often at fault, but not always. In many instances fault is shared among two or more drivers. With that said, as a practical matter, insurers often make initial decisions on who should pay for damages based on who received the ticket.

3. Who pays for damage to my car? This depends on your insurance and who was at fault. If you caused the accident, your only option is your own insurance. If the accident is your fault and you have no collision coverage, no one pays for your car. If the other driver is at fault, you can use their insurance. If you have collision coverage and the other driver is at fault, you can choose to use your insurance, or the other driver's insurance.

4. Who pays my medical bills? That depends on who was at fault and what insurance you have. If you own a car, you are legally required to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP coverage). This car insurance pays 80 percent of your medical bills up to the PIP limit. This coverage will pay no matter who was at fault, that is why it is sometimes called "no-fault" coverage. If your bills exceed the PIP coverage, other available insurance such as Medical Payments coverage, Workers Compensation coverage or Health Insurance may cover some of those bills. Those types of insurance pay regardless of who was at fault. When your bills exceed available insurance, then fault becomes an issue. If the accident was your fault, these excess bills come out of your own pocket. If the accident was the other drivers fault, you have a claim against the other driver for the unpaid medical bills.

5. What does Personal Injury Protection cover? It covers 80 percent of medical bills and 60 percent of lost wages until the coverage limit is exhausted. It may also pay certain other expenses related to the accident, such as home help and travel expenses for attending doctor visits. The typical limit for Personal Injury Protection is $10,000.

6. Do I have a bodily injury claim? If the accident is your fault, no. If the other driver is at fault, maybe. A bodily injury claim is often referred to as a claim for pain and suffering. In Florida, you can only bring a bodily injury claim when you have suffered a permanent injury. A severe fracture, an injury requiring surgery, a bad scar and some soft tissue injuries would qualify. Soft tissue injuries, such as neck and back sprains, are more difficult to prove than a fracture or scar, but they may still qualify as a permanent injury.

7. If I was working when the accident occurred, will that affect my claim? Yes. If your employer had workers compensation coverage, you may have a workers compensation claim in addition to the car accident claim.

8. What is an Uninsured or Underinsured motorist claim? This is exactly the same as a bodily injury claim, but it is brought against your own insurance company under your UM coverage (underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage).

9. What is my bodily claim worth? The value of your bodily injury claim is a function of three main factors; fault, damage and available coverage. Without fault, a bodily injury claim has no value, even if you were horribly injured. If coverage is limited, the value of your claim may be limited to available coverage, even though the damages are extensive. That said, in general, the clearer the fault and the more extensive the injury, the greater the value of your case.

10. If I have a minor accident, do I need to report it to my insurance? There is no law that requires you to report an accident to your insurance company. However, all automobile insurance policies have a requirement that you immediately report an accident. If you choose not to report the accident immediately, you violate the terms of your insurance policy and likely void your insurance for that accident.

11. If I hire a better lawyer, does that mean I will get more money? I want to scream 'yes!' to this question to convince everyone to hire me. The truth is a little more complex. Hiring a bad lawyer will make your claim worth nothing. A bad lawyer is one who has little or no experience handling injury claims. Hiring a good lawyer will increase the value of your claim, but that depends on the severity of the injury. If you have a very minor injury, your claim has very little value no matter what lawyer you hire. If you have a severe injury, then the quality of your lawyer can make a substantial difference in the amount you recover.

These are general questions and general answers. Exact answers to real questions depend on the facts of each particular case. Only a qualified personal injury lawyer with years of experience handling Florida car accident claims will be able to give you good answers to real questions.