Do You Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident in Florida if You’re Not At Fault?
Being involved in a car accident can be stressful. There will be many expenses after the crash. While no-fault PIP insurance can help cover your damages, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the entire burden.
Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer David I. Fuchs has helped countless victims of accidents recover the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. When a car accident wasn’t your fault, you deserve to be “made whole” as if the accident never happened.
Call us at (954) 246-0789 or use our online form to begin your claim today
Steps to Take After a Car Accident that Wasn’t Your Fault
If you were in a crash and the accident wasn’t your fault, there are some steps you should take immediately to preserve your right to compensation.
You need to get a police officer to the scene to complete a car accident crash report. This police report can be used when to prove the other party was negligent. The officer may also issue a citation to the at-fault driver if they violated a Florida law.
Get Medical Treatment
You should go to the emergency room or trauma center right after a crash. You need to identify all of your injuries, including those that could be hidden. This will also establish the severity of your injuries, contributing to your claim for medical bills and pain and suffering if you need to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Document the Scene of the Accident
If you can move around the scene of the accident, take pictures and videos of everything. Document property damage to the cars, injuries experienced by all parties, weather, signs, road markings, and anything else that might be relevant to your claim.
Get Information from Other Drivers and Witnesses
You should get names and contact information from all drivers involved in the crash, including the driver who was at fault. If you fail to get information for the at-fault driver, you may not be able to hold them liable. Collect information from any bystanders and eyewitnesses as well.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Many insurance companies require you to notify them of a crash within 24 hours after the incident. This is important if you want to use your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to cover your medical bills and lost wages. PIP also requires that you get medical treatment within 14 days of the crash.
Contact a No-Fault Attorney
You might wonder, “Should I get a lawyer for a car accident that wasn’t my fault?” The answer is “yes.” Your car accident attorney can communicate with the insurance company for you and guide you through the personal injury legal process.
If you have to file a lawsuit, a lawyer will be vital in helping you go through the complex discovery process and taking your case to trial.
What It Takes to Prove the Crash Wasn’t Your Fault
Many of the steps you took at the scene of the accident will help you prove that the crash you were involved wasn’t your fault.
The crash report will describe what the police officer saw when they arrived at the accident scene. It will also have statements from drivers and witnesses. It can be used to prove the other driver caused the crash.
Pictures and Video of the Scene
The images taken at the scene of the accident immediately after the crash will be essential when you’re trying to prove negligence. Even if the cause isn’t apparent, an accident reconstruction expert can use the images to determine what happened and who is at fault.
The discovery process will involve getting statements from bystanders, eyewitnesses, other drivers, and passengers. These first-hand accounts of what happened will be essential in proving the crash wasn’t your fault.
Partner with a Car Accident Lawyer
An experienced car accident attorney will know how to prove negligence under Florida personal injury law. They can gather all the information and use it to support your claims.
You should work with an attorney with plenty of experience with cases like yours – where the fault lies with the other party.
The Crash Wasn’t My Fault: What Does Insurance Cover?
Florida has a no-fault law that requires drivers to turn to their own car insurance for coverage for a certain percentage of medical bills and lost wages. The no-fault insurance, called “PIP,” will also offer death benefits if your family member received fatal injuries in a crash that was not their fault. However, PIP does not cover everything.
The at-fault driver is required to have property damage liability to pay for damage to your car. That means the other party’s auto insurer will have to pay for your property damage.
If you have damages that exceed what insurance companies will cover, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Things to Consider with a Car Accident that Wasn’t Your Fault
If you were involved in a crash that wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for everything yourself. However, because of the way Florida’s insurance statutes are set up, your own insurance company will likely cover many of your expenses. There is a way to make the other party pay for property damage and losses above and beyond what the insurance companies will pay – a personal injury lawsuit.
Here are some other things to consider if you’re in a crash that isn’t your fault:
- Florida is a comparative negligence state. That means even if you were partially at fault, you can still recover a certain percentage of damages.
- You should keep a file with all your crash-related documents, including medical bills and records, proof of lost wages, employment benefits used, and other damages.
- You should tell your employer about the crash right away to get enough time off to recover from your injuries.
- You have a right to pursue compensation from the at-fault party.
- Don’t accept an insurance company’s initial “lowball” settlement offer. Let your attorney negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
- Your case could take over a year to resolve; however, you will have options to pay for medical bills and lost wages in the meantime (such as PIP insurance).
A Car Accident Lawyer Is Here After a Crash That Wasn’t Your Fault
Car accident claims can be complex in Florida. You will have to juggle your own insurance company, the at-fault party’s insurance company, health insurance companies, and other entities. The goal is to get enough money to make you whole again as if the crash never happened.
Attorney David I. Fuchs knows that money does not make everything better, but it can help you cover expenses while you try to return to everyday life.
Call us today at (954) 246-0789 or use our online form to schedule a consultation.