Car Crash Attorney Certified as Expert By The Florida Bar Answers FAQs
I was involved in a car crash. What should I do?
The action you should take depends on the seriousness of the crash. Your primary concern should always be your health. Therefore, if you require emergency services (i.e. ambulance, life flight helicopter) your primary focus should be getting to a hospital as soon as possible. If you are injured but not critically injured, if you have the opportunity, you should call the police, take photographs of the area and of the vehicles involved in the accident, and get the name of anyone that claims to have witnessed the crash. You should them immediately seek medical attention to address your injuries. Once your injuries have been properly addressed, you should contact First Choice Law. With our experience and expertise, we have the ability to help you during this time of crisis and obtain the best possible result.
What is auto negligence?
Failure to act in a reasonable and careful manner under the circumstances. Every driver has the duty to operate the vehicle safely and to make sure their vehicle is well maintained.
What is the Florida “No Fault” Law?
Many people are confused to what this term means. In fact, it implies only to insurance coverage under Personal Injury Protection benefits known as PIP. Meaning that if you are in a vehicle that has the minimum coverage required by law, it does not matter who was at fault for causing the crash; those benefits are payable to all injured parties. For further clarification see question on PIP.
What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is benefits payable up to $10,000.00 to cover 80% of your medical expenses and/or loss wages regardless of fault in an accident. This coverage does not compensate the injured person for any pain and suffering.
What is Bodily Injury coverage (BI)?
Bodily Injury is insurance coverage that provides limited financial protection in causing a crash. In addition, that is the insurance coverage that First Choice Law looks for from the other car or “at fault” party, in order to get you compensated for Pain and Suffering, Loss of Enjoyment of Life (non-economic losses), and economic losses not paid by the PIP.
What is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage (UM/UIM)?
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage is there to protect you in the event that you are struck by a vehicle that does not have insurance or the insurance is insufficient to compensate the injuries caused by the crash. It may also coverage what it is known as “phantom vehicle” which would include a hit and run where the at-fault party cannot be found or otherwise identified. In many ways, UM/UIM is the most important insurance you can purchase because Florida does not require BI insurance, which means many cars on the road do not have any insurance to pay for your injuries, even though they caused the crash. It is First Choice Law’s advice that everyone protect themselves by purchasing UM/UIM coverage.
What is a phantom vehicle?
A “phantom vehicle” is an unidentified vehicle that caused a crash. Often times, vehicles leave the scene of the crash and cannot be otherwise identified or found.
What is Medical Payment Coverage or Med Pay?
Medical Payment coverage also known as Med Pay is an additional coverage offered by insurance companies to pay for what is not paid by the PIP, such as deductibles. This amount of coverage, unlike PIP, is subject to subrogation which means if there is a recovery from a third party, the insurance company is entitled to be paid back or reimbursed for the Med Pay amount.
What is Comp and Collision?
Not everyone in the State of Florida has insurance and may not have sufficient insurance to pay for the property damage caused by the at fault party. Comp and Collision is insurance that pays for your own property damage in the event that the other driver does not have the appropriate insurance or the appropriate coverage amount.
Who pays for the rental car that I need after a car crash?
This is a changing landscape. Historically, the at-fault party insurance would pay for reasonable rental expenses. However, recently some insurance companies will only provide limited reimbursement for rental expenses which means you must first pay for these expenses. If you purchase rental insurance when you purchase Comp and Collision, your own insurance company should pay for these rental expenses. Nevertheless, some insurance companies are merely reimbursing your payment of these expenses.
The at-fault driver had no insurance. What can I do now?
Often times, the at-fault driver that has no insurance similarly has no assets. Which means you can sue them, obtain a judgment but possibly never collect. This is why it is so important in the state of Florida to buy UM/UIM so that you can find the financial compensation deserved.
Who is going to pay for your medical bills?
PIP is the primary insurance in the state of Florida but pays only up to $10,000.00 to cover 80% of your medical expenses. Otherwise, health insurance would be a secondary insurance along with any Med Pay. However, health insurance and Med Pay have the right of subrogation which means if there is a recovery from a third party, the insurance company is entitled to be paid back or reimbursed for the amount paid. Or oftentimes, physicians would take a LOP where by they will forego immediate payment with the promise of being paid from any recovery you may obtain from the at fault party or UM/UIM. If there is no recovery, you are still responsible for these medical bills.
How do I pursue a claim for damages to my vehicle?
Assuming that the at fault party has what is known as property damages or PD, a claim can be made against that insurance. Alternatively, if you have Comp and Collision insurance you can make a claim through your own insurance to pay for your car. This often result in quicker action although potentially subjects you to a deductible.
What is the mandatory insurance in the State of Florida?
The only coverage required in the state of Florida is the minimum amount of the PIP. Oftentimes people confuse it with the term full coverage but there is no such legal definition of full coverage in the state of Florida. Similarly, PD in the amount of $10,000.00 is also required.
What if I am hit by someone who is driving a rental car?
Under Federal law, the maximum recovery from a rental car company under what is known Graves Amendment is $10,000.00 of Bodily Injury recovery. However, some rental car companies do offer additional insurance for the rental driver which may exceeds this amount. This is why we at First Choice Law investigate all insurance coverages, not only of the rental company, but anyone authorized to drive the rental car.
What if I am injured by an out-of-state driver in the State of Florida?
Every driver that operates a car in the state of Florida subjects themselves to Florida jurisdiction. Their insurance coverage may be governed by their own state law or state contract. However, it is routine for First Choice Law to handle claims both in state court and federal court throughout the country by co-counseling with local attorney in other jurisdiction, when necessary, and hold the at fault party responsible for the injuries sustained by the Florida resident.
What if I am involved in a car crash outside of Florida?
If you are involved in a crash outside the state of Florida you may be subject to that state jurisdiction and laws. However, it is routine for First Choice Law to handle claims both in state court and federal court throughout the country by co-counseling with local attorney in other jurisdiction, when necessary, and hold the at fault party responsible for the injuries sustained by the Florida resident.
What if a member of my family dies as a result of an auto accident?
This claim needs to be filed in court within 2 year and it is known as a wrongful death claim. A personal representative will need to be selected to represent the estate to the damages of all survivors.
What if I do not own a car and I am involved in a crash?
If you are a passenger in someone’s vehicle and do not live with a resident relative that owns a car, you may qualify under the car owner’s auto policy. At First Choice Law we will investigate all possible coverages available to you.
Does the jury gets to know that there is insurance in an automobile case?
Unless is your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage (UM/UIM), the answer is no. The jury does not learn that the at-fault party has insurance; in fact, there is a special Florida statute that prevents the injured party (i.e. the plaintiff) from naming the at-fault party’s (i.e. the defendant) insurance company as a party to the lawsuit. This statute is known as the Non-Joinder Statute (Florida Statute 627.4136).
Do I have to have a permanent injury to recover pain and suffering damages in a car crash case?
Yes, which is why it is very important that you treat with a physician that can document your injuries and medically support their findings if necessary. It is also why insurance companies spend millions of dollars a year hiring a set a doctors to testify that people injured in automobile crashes suffered no permanent consequences regardless of the ethical of their findings.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers in Orlando
If you have been injured in an auto accident because of the negligence of another person, call Jason Recksiedler or Caroline Fischer Espi at First Choice Law. We understand the complexity of car accidents and will help you obtain the compensation you deserve. We will answer all your questions and help you through this difficult time. We are available at 321-999-1111 and have a 24-hour answering service. You can also email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our online form and we will contact you shortly.