Some car accidents involve more than two drivers, and thus, more than two insurance policies. The same is true in other accidents, There may be more than one business or individual that contributed to your fall, dog bite, or other accident. They all should have separate coverage and levels of liability.
Remember, insurance policies have differing coverage, requirements, and policy limits. The insurance company will not pay you more than the policy limit. Still, it is possible to seek additional compensation from another liable party.
The stronger your case, the better your chance at recovering compensation. To make a strong case and recover maximum compensation, you need evidence, clear lines of liability, and a compelling argument that articulates all the ways an injury impacted your life.
Were You Liable?
There are actions that you as a driver can undertake that would cause you to either share or be completely liable for an accident in Florida. Things like being distracted, falling asleep at the wheel, speeding, being intoxicated, or breaking traffic laws can affect how liable you are for an accident. If you are found to share or have complete liability for your accident, it can hurt your claim. It is best to speak with at attorney to understand your liability in the accident.
Can You Prove the Other Party Was Negligent?
You have greater negotiating power and a better chance at recovering a fair settlement if you can prove the other driver or individual was negligent. Whether it’s in a car or another incident, negligence is a legal term that someone failed to uphold their duty of care to take the same action as any reasonable person in similar circumstances.
For example, you can establish negligence if the other driver failed a roadside breathalyzer test. Drunk driving is negligent behavior, as is distracted driving, reckless driving, and different types of dangerous behavior. Examples not related to car accidents can include improper training of employees, failing to keep a property safe, or ignoring a hazard.
Do They Have Enough Insurance?
Florida car accidents have different liability requirements than a slip and fall accident, construction accident, or other types of injury. Florida is a “no-fault” state when it comes to car accidents.
All licensed drivers in Florida must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that covers the first $10,000 in medical bills – regardless of who caused the accident. PIP also pays if an uninsured driver caused the accident or a hit-and-run driver fled the scene.
In addition to PIP, Florida drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL).
Will Losses Exceed Policy Limits?
A policy limit is the highest amount that an insurer pays on a covered claim. Your PIP pays for the first $10,000 in medical bills (no matter who caused the accident). If your injuries are severe or extensive, your medical bills will quickly exhaust your PIP. When this happens, you can seek compensation from the other driver’s PIP.
Do Other Insurance Policies Apply?
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, there may be other insurance policies that apply to your claim.
Was the at-fault driver working or driving a company car? You could file a claim against the employer’s policy. If there was another motorist involved, their policy could apply to your case. You could even seek damages from a restaurant or bar that overserved the drunk driver who hit you.
Insurance Disputes & Denied Liability in Florida
Insurance companies make it challenging to collect on covered claims. After all, insurers make money on premiums and lose money on settlements and verdicts. They often dispute the extent, nature, and validity of your injuries. They will almost certainly argue that you are not as hurt as you claim or that someone else (even you) is to blame to reduce your payout.
To avoid getting your claim denied or disputed, you need as much evidence as possible.
Your evidence might consist of:
- Photos of the accident and your injuries
- Vehicle’s onboard digital information
- Medical documentation of your injuries and prognosis
- Police reports
- Diagrams of the accident scene
- Experts such as accident reconstruction professionals
Also, injury cases can be worth more with a detailed claim that includes supporting evidence, documentation, and expert testimony to strengthen your position.
What About Preexisting Conditions?
Insurance companies can use your medical history or preexisting conditions against you. They may try to rationalize that your injury occurred before the accident and offer you less than you deserve.
One way to potentially avoid the insurance company from using a preexisting condition against you is to seek medical attention immediately after the crash. Any delay in medical care could be a red flag and give the insurance company a reason to downplay or deny your claim.
Did You Make Any Statements or Sign a Release?
Talk to a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer before answering any questions or making a statement to the insurance company. You weaken your case when you speak to an adjuster about your potential fault, sign a release, or tell them that you feel fine – only to experience pain later. Your injury case could be worth more if you discuss your options with an attorney first.
Where Do You Live?
Insurance companies and attorneys know that location plays a part in how much your injury case is worth. Big cities like Miami and Fort Lauderdale tend to award higher jury verdicts than in smaller communities. Insurance companies know jurisdiction matters and make settlement offers with that mindset.
An insurance company is more willing to negotiate a larger settlement if they fear going to court will cost them more.
Keep in mind, injury cases are based on several facts, including the extent of your injuries, damages, and liability. You could recover substantial compensation, regardless of where you live.
Do You Have a Lawyer?
You are not legally required to hire a lawyer to help you pursue compensation. However, hiring an attorney often brings a higher settlement than people without legal representation.
According to one study, hiring a Miami personal injury lawyer leads to significantly larger settlements.
- 90% of those with legal representation received a settlement, compared to about half who handled their case alone.
- Individuals with legal representation received an average settlement of $77,600 compared to $17,600 for people without a lawyer.
- Individuals with legal representation still pocketed more money even after lawyer fees.
Still Have Questions? Get a Free Consultation
While we hope this gives you a good start, to find out what YOUR personal injury case is worth, contact attorney David I. Fuchs.
You pay nothing unless and until we recover compensation.