Myths and Misconceptions About
Car Accident Claims in Florida
People tend to get a lot of advice when they have been injured in an auto accident in Florida. Unfortunately, not all of it is accurate.
In 2020, there were more than 340,000 vehicular crashes in the state of Florida. More than 212,000 people sustained injuries and more than 3,300 lives were lost. Relying on incorrect information is a bad idea for those injured and for the families of loved ones killed. Everyone is entitled to the facts when it comes to auto accident claims in Florida.
At Hoag Law Firm, personal injury attorney Brian Hoag began his legal career defending claims against the insurers of those responsible for causing crashes on Florida’s roadways. Now, he aims to use that experience to help injured victims in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Clearwater, and Land O’ Lakes, Florida fight back against insurance companies. With every personal injury client he takes on, Brian aims to sit down and educate his clients so that they can have the knowledge they need to separate fact from fiction.
Myth: It is always the at-fault driver’s insurance that pays for property damage and injuries sustained by someone else.
Florida is a no-fault state for auto accidents. Your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is the first insurance option that will be used to pay for your damages. That said, the mandated minimum PIP coverage requirement for Florida drivers is $10,000. Damages such as medical expenses and lost wages can quickly exceed $10,000, even if you sustain relatively minor injuries. If your injuries are severe, disfiguring, or cause death, you can assert a claim against the at-fault driver’s bodily injury coverage to recover damages beyond the limits of your PIP coverage.
Myth: I will get all of the money upfront for my claim or I won’t get compensated until after all the bills have been paid.
Because your PIP coverage is the first to be accessed under Florida’s no-fault laws, your insurance company will pay 80% of your medical bills as you incur them. If you exhaust your PIP coverage before your treatment is completed and file a bodily injury claim against the other driver, you should have your health insurance pay your medical bills until you can settle with the other driver’s insurer. Some insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare, will require you to reimburse them for some or all medical expenses that were paid during the settlement process with your third-party claim.
Myth: If the accident is minor, it is not necessary to pull over or file a report with law enforcement.
Florida law requires contacting law enforcement immediately if any of the following occur:
- The crash results in injury or death
- The crash results in property damage of $500 or more
- A person or vehicle flees the scene
- A driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- A commercial motor vehicle is involved
- An involved vehicle is unable to move from the scene on its own
Law enforcement is required by law to file a report within 10 days. Your failure to report an auto accident could result in a fine and a non-moving violation citation.
Myth: I was partially at fault for the crash, so I am not allowed to file a personal injury claim against anyone else.
Florida is a pure comparative fault state. This means that if you are found to be partially at fault for a crash, any settlement with the other driver’s insurer or a judgment rendered in court will be reduced by a percentage equal to your share of fault for the accident. For example, imagine that you are in an accident and are found to be 20% at fault for the accident, while the other driver is to be 80% at fault. If the other driver’s policy limit for bodily injury liability is $100,000 and you are awarded the full $100,000 in damages, you will only be eligible to receive 80% or $80,000.
Myth: I do not need to hire an attorney
to file a personal injury claim.
There is no requirement to hire an attorney to file a personal injury claim; however, it is usually an extremely wise decision to do so. The entire process of filing a claim might seem complex and overwhelming to you, but not to an experienced personal injury lawyer. A good attorney knows the law, the process, and how to negotiate with insurance companies. That experience often results in victims receiving higher settlements or judgments. Since many personal injury lawyers do all the work and front all of the expenses required to prosecute your claim, you typically pay them nothing unless they are able to win a settlement for you.
Work with an Experienced
Personal Injury Attorney in Florida
There are multiple benefits to working with an experienced personal injury attorney after you have been injured in an auto accident in Florida. For starters, they will give you the facts and help you set reasonable expectations regarding a settlement or judgment. Your attorney will investigate the circumstances of the crash and document the evidence you need to prove liability. This is critical because insurance adjusters will do everything they can to deny liability so they can avoid paying you the compensation you deserve.
It is no myth that insurance companies make profits by denying claims. They have attorneys working for them to make that happen. That’s why you should have an experienced attorney working for you to protect your rights and advocate for your needs.
Hoag Law Firm offers clients in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and the surrounding Florida communities the special advantage of having a former insurance company attorney now working to represent injured victims. Personal injury attorney Brian Hoag will use his extensive knowledge and experience to aggressively pursue claims for accident victims and their families. So if you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, don’t wait. Call or reach out to the Hoag Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.