Whenever you are behind the wheel in the U.S., you are at risk of being involved in a car accident. However, the possibility of being in a car crash in Florida is higher than in any other state nationwide, and this is scary. Sadly, many people, teens, and adults who have been in car accidents develop preconceived concepts about these crashes that may be untrue. Believing in some of these myths may be costly and deny you the confidence you need to win your injury claim after the accident.
Insurance adjusters and liable drivers take advantage of car accident victims who believe in these myths to deny them compensation entirely or reduce the chances of obtaining maximum compensation. This article debunks the common myths about car accidents in Florida to avoid future stress or falling prey to insurance companies and ensure you are equipped to handle your injury claim for car crash damages.
You Can Settle the Matter Without Involving a Third Party if It’s a Minor Accident
You may tend to believe that if an accident is a minor one, there is no need to involve the police or your insurance policy carrier. Thinking in this preconceived notion is why you might decide to settle a minor car crash case without involving third parties because you are afraid to inform your insurer or the authorities of the crash will increase your insurance premiums.
Also, you might be afraid that calling the police at the scene of the crash will take up most of your time because you must wait for the officers to gather evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and prepare a report of their investigations. Again, the officers at the scene will call your car insurer, which will require another statement from you about the accident, further consuming your time.
The myth here is that the crash is just a fender bender or none of the victims has sustained any physical injuries, and hence there is no need to reach out to the authorities or insurance company. This preconceived view is untrue because of different reasons.
Every car insurance policy requires a motorist to report an accident to law enforcement and insurance companies, even when the accident is minor. And by purchasing your insurance policy, you signed an agreement that binds you to these rules, and a breach of any of them could result in denial of coverage by your insurer or monetary penalties. Therefore, regardless of the magnitude of the vehicle accident you are involved in, notifying the authorities is necessary.
Similarly, you or the other parties involved in the accident may experience delayed symptoms, whereby the signs of injuries don’t show immediately after the crash. You may feel that you have escaped the accident unscratched, only for your injuries to worsen later, becoming even fatal. The same case applies to your vehicle. It might look intact at the scene until later when it develops mechanical problems. If you are the victim in the crash, when you start experiencing injuries symptoms several hours or days after the crash, you will need proof of the collision and negligence by the liable party to file a claim.
Unfortunately, you will have no evidence to build a strong suit because you never called the police to prepare a report after the crash.
Also, if negligence led to the crash, you will be exposed to multiple lawsuits from the victims of the accidents due to the lack of evidence.
Therefore, regardless of how the accident appears or the other driver convinces you not to involve the authorities, you will need to apply these third parties in your case to increase maximum compensation chances and avoid future stress. When you call the police at the scene, they don’t come there to determine if you are at fault or not. Their duty is to conduct a thorough investigation and prepare a report used by the court or insurance companies to determine who is responsible for the accident and compensatory damages.
Your Insurance Policy Carrier is a Friend, and You Should Provide A Detailed Statement To Them About The Accident
Insurance companies are in the market to break even, and if it were not for the profits, they would have exited the market a long time ago. Therefore, it will be wrong to think that these are your friends and that they care about your interests. If your insurer is not your friend or indeed pursuing your claim, it means you shouldn’t disclose all the details of the accident because they might use this info against you to deny coverage.
Whenever a car accident happens, you should notify them about it and share the location and time of the crash. However, you should not disclose more information to the insurer. You must be very careful when dealing with insurance adjusters because over the phone, they seem like the nicest people ever, whose only concern is your interest as the policyholder. However, these are just insurance company employees, and their main goal is to increase profit margins by saving their employer money. And because the money they save the employer is what you are entitled to as compensation, it means the detailed statement you give to them will be used against you to reduce or deny coverage to save the employer money.
When an insurance adjuster reaches you after reporting the accident, do not admit fault even if you are shaken and believe that you are responsible. Instead, allow the police to complete the investigations and share their report with the insurance company. Also, when the insurer requests a statement, you should find an excuse for not doing it, including saying you will make the report later or need time to process the accident. If they insist, you should tell them you want to consult with your legal counsel first before making a statement. Once you have said this, you should contact your car accident injury attorney right away. An experienced injury attorney understands the dealings of insurance companies and the tactics they use to deny compensation, ensuring you don’t fall for these tricks.
All Florida Motorists are Insured
Florida personal injury statutes are clear that all motorists should purchase a minimum Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Unfortunately, not all drivers abide by these laws. Some of them drive without insurance coverage, while others are underinsured. So, when you are in an accident, don’t assume the other driver is insured. Instead, request them to share information about their insurance company. If the driver is uninsured or underinsured, you shouldn’t lose hope of indemnification because there are other ways of seeking coverage, including turning to your policy carrier through your uninsured motorist coverage.
The Back Driver is Always Liable in Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end collisions occur when another driver strikes your car from the back. These kinds of crashes are often caused by speeding or distracted driving, and often, the rear driver is liable. However, there are other causes of rear-end crashes like brake failure. If another driver hits you from behind because the car brakes failed, they won’t be responsible for your damages. Instead, the auto repair shop charged with vehicle repairs or car manufacturer will be to blame. So, don’t always assume because a rear driver struck your car, they are responsible. You should let the authorities conduct investigations, and after a report is produced, insurance companies or the court can establish fault.
Compensation For Your Injuries Depend on the Policy Limits of the Liable Party
Another myth about Florida car accidents is that you are indemnified up to the driver's insurance policy limit that caused your damages. This view is untrue because Florida adopts the no-fault system where you are first required to turn to their insurance company for compensation. If your PIP coverage isn’t adequate to indemnify you against all your losses, you can turn to the liable party’s insurer to obtain payment. However, if the driver is uninsured, you will need an experienced injury attorney to explore other avenues that will enable you to recover the entire worth of your injury claim.
You Can’t Demand Compensation When a Car Crash Exacerbates a Pre-Existing Condition
When you are involved in a vehicle accident caused by someone else, you shouldn’t suffer because of their actions without indemnification. So, if you have an existing illness that worsens after a car crash, you can file a claim against the liable party for the extent the pre-existing condition has exacerbated. The lawsuit won’t be as easy as you think because insurance companies will always argue that the injuries were caused by something other than the accident. In circumstances like these, you must work closely with a profound injury attorney. An attorney will gather all your previous medical records for the condition and ensure you go in for a subsequent exam after the accident to demonstrate the crash worsened your pre-existing illness.
An Injury Claim for a Car Accident that Occurred Long Time Ago is Hopeless
Florida statutes provide a timeline of four years from the car accident date to file an injury claim. So, if an injury occurred more than four years ago, you have no right to file an injury claim to recover damages. However, if the crash happened a long time ago but the timeline provided in the law has not elapsed, you are still eligible to file a claim. This shouldn’t mean you can wait two or three years after a vehicle accident to file a claim. You should act immediately after the accident if you are not severely injured by calling an attorney to start the process of seeking coverage. If you are not in a position to do so, you can ask a friend or family member to contact an attorney on your behalf. You will have a solid claim because all the evidence from the scene will still be intact, increasing the chances of fair compensation. However, when you wait for too long, some of the evidence will be lost due to poor preservation, leaving you with a weaker claim that reduces the possibility of fair compensation.
Hiring a Vehicle Accident Attorney for Your Case is Useless and a Waste of Money, Especially if the Injuries are Minor
On the contrary, failure to retain the services of a renowned injury attorney for your claim exposes you to lawsuits and unnecessary financial obligations if the other driver in the crash or their insurer has evidence that your actions or inactions led to the accident and subsequent injuries. Many studies show that people with legal representation in injury claims are more likely to obtain maximum compensation than those representing themselves. An experienced attorney understands the dealings of insurance companies and has excellent negotiation skills to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Further, an attorney will educate you about your rights, giving you the confidence you need for a positive outcome.
Also, hiring a profound attorney isn’t a waste of money because many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. It means that you won’t part with any amount of cash out-of-pocket until the case is settled. What you do is agree on a particular percentage of the settlement by the court or insurance company as a legal fee. If the injury claim is won, the attorney recovers their cost, but no payment is made if the case isn’t settled. This is even an advantage for you, as the claimant, because your attorney will work tirelessly to ensure you don’t lose the suit. After all, a loss for you equals a loss for them.
The other widely preconceived notion about car crashes is that you are fully protected if you have minimum auto and personal health insurance coverage. Unluckily, this is not the case. The damages and injuries in a claim can be worth thousands of dollars which insurance firms are unwilling to pay, meaning they will do everything in their power to deny coverage. However, your rights are protected with an injury attorney by your side, and you will obtain the rightful compensation.
Find the Right Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
When you have been involved in a car accident in Jacksonville, it’s critical to separate facts from fiction and realize that some misconceptions aren’t necessarily true and only jeopardize the chances of fair indemnification. At Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, we will address these preconceived concepts about car crashes to give you the confidence you need to obtain coverage for your injuries. Call us today at 904-800-7557 for a free consultation.