- Florida requires drivers to carry PIP (personal injury protection) and PDL (property damage liability) insurance.
- If you’re involved in an accident, there are several steps to take that will protect your health as well as your rights.
- When you speak to your insurance company, stick to the facts of the accident and never admit fault.
- Always have an attorney present when speaking with an adjuster representing the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Car accidents can be overwhelming, leaving you with not only physical injuries but also a slew of practical concerns. The biggest will likely be getting the money to which you’re entitled from your insurance company. The following is a look at how to use your car insurance after an accident.
The Jones Law Group has a team of attorneys who know how difficult insurance companies can be in a car wreck’s aftermath. If you’re having problems or want to ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. You can use our online form or call 727-571-1333.
Understanding Florida Car Insurance Requirements
You’re far from alone if you’ve been in a car accident. There were nearly 400,000 motor vehicle accidents in Florida in 2022. While you’re probably still frazzled after your wreck and may also be in significant pain, you must understand Florida vehicle insurance.
Drivers in our state must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance and Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance. PIP covers medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault. PDL covers property damage caused by the insured driver. Drivers must have a minimum of $10,000 coverage each for PIP and PDL.
While these are the minimum requirements, many drivers opt for additional coverage such as Bodily Injury Liability (BIL), Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM), and Comprehensive/Collision coverage for added protection. Familiarizing yourself with your policy is critical to learning how to use your car insurance after an accident.
Steps to Take Immediately Following Your Accident
In the immediate aftermath of a car accident in Florida, prioritizing safety and gathering information are crucial steps. Here’s what you need to do:
- Get medical help: Check for injuries and call for medical assistance. Do this even if you don’t think you’re severely hurt. Move to a safe location if possible.
- Call the police: In Florida, it’s mandatory to report accidents resulting in injury, death, or estimated property damage exceeding $500. Having an official police report is valuable for insurance claims.
- Exchange information: Collect the names, contact information, and insurance details of everyone involved in the crash. You should also gather contact information from any witnesses.
- Document the scene: Take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage and anything else that’s relevant.
- Never admit fault: Avoid saying anything the officer could interpret as admitting fault. Stick to providing factual information. Otherwise, the opposition will use that statement against you.
Contacting Your Insurance Company
You’re going to need to speak with your insurer to obtain coverage. But you should also consider contacting an attorney who can protect your rights. Insurance companies are notorious for denying or devaluing claims. A lawyer will work to force your insurer to do the right thing.
Here are the steps to take when dealing with your insurer:
- Notify the insurance company: Report the accident as soon as possible. Provide a detailed account of the incident and share any relevant documentation. Again, though, never say you played a role in causing the accident.
- Understand your coverage: Clarify your available coverage, including deductibles and policy limits. This information will guide your understanding of the potential compensation you can receive.
- Obtain a copy of the police report: If the police were involved, obtain a copy of the official police report. This document is essential for your insurance claim.
Filing a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Claim
In Florida, PIP coverage is designed to provide immediate benefits, regardless of fault. Here are the steps involved in navigating the process.
- Seek medical treatment: PIP covers medical expenses resulting from the accident. Seek necessary medical treatment, keeping detailed records of all expenses. Florida law mandates you must see a doctor within 14 days. If you don’t, you won’t be eligible for PIP benefits.
- Notify your insurance company: Report the accident to your insurer and inform them you’ll file a PIP claim. Provide documentation of medical expenses.
- Understand PIP limits: Be aware of the limits of your PIP coverage. In Florida, PIP typically covers 80% of medical expenses, up to a total limit of $10,000.
Dealing with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
When the other driver is at fault, things can get very complicated very quickly. The at-fault driver’s insurer will make getting the money you deserve even more difficult. They’ll assign an adjuster to your case. This adjuster is a highly skilled professional with only one loyalty – to their employer.
Because they’re loyal to the insurance company, they’re going to do whatever they can to deny your claim. They’ll likely call you to ask if they can get the details of the accident. NEVER agree to speak with an adjuster without an attorney present.
Why? Because the adjuster will try to trick you into admitting fault. Adjusters know how to ask questions to trip you up and say you’re to blame. An experienced attorney knows how to defeat this tactic.
Your best bet is to hire a lawyer and then refer all adjuster calls to your legal representative. That will spare you the stress of adjuster harassment.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM)
You might be surprised to learn that 20% of all Florida drivers are uninsured. That’s a staggering amount, considering the fact that there are more than 15 million registered vehicles in our state. That means about 3 million people are on the roads with no coverage.
If you’re in an accident caused by an uninsured driver and you have UM/UIM coverage, then your insurer will pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages – up to your policy’s limit. Coverage typically begins at $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident. You can purchase a policy with higher limits, but your premium will increase.
What if you want to use UM/UIM car insurance after an accident in Florida, but your expenses are much higher than your limits? The at-fault driver probably doesn’t have the money to cover your bills. If they did, they’d more than likely have insurance.
This is another area where an attorney may help. A lawyer can look for other avenues of compensation. For example, what if the uninsured driver’s tire blew out because of a defect? Your attorney could potentially pursue the manufacturer.
Seek Legal Representation; Contact Jones Law Group
Please don’t hesitate to turn to the Jones Law Group if you’re having issues using car insurance after an accident in Florida. Schedule a free case review by contacting us online or calling 727-571-1333.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if the other driver doesn’t have insurance in Florida?
In Florida, uninsured motorist coverage (UM) can provide coverage if the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance. Notify your insurer and file a UM claim to seek compensation for your injuries and accident-related expenses.
Can I sue the at-fault driver even if I have PIP coverage?
Yes, you can pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, especially if your injuries exceed the limits of your PIP coverage. Consult with an attorney to assess the viability of a legal claim.
How can a personal injury attorney assist me in my car accident case?
A Florida car accident lawyer can provide invaluable assistance by negotiating with insurance companies, guiding you through legal processes, and representing your interests in court if necessary. They can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.