Everybody who drives a vehicle in the State of Florida will eventually find him or herself in some form of automobile mishap. From accidents that simply involve vehicular damage to serious accidents involving great bodily harm, the questions we receive are always the same. What do I do?
The Multiple Claims of an Automobile Accident
The first thing you have to realize about automobile accidents in the State of Florida is that there are multiple insurance and personal claims involved in each accident involving multiple insurance companies. Many times there may be multiple claims within the same insurance company and you should be aware of exactly what claims adjuster you are talking to before giving any kind of statement or information.
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To outline these claims there is a property damage claim that is made for the repair of the vehicles damaged in the accident as well as for any other property that may have been damaged such as glasses, phones, or other vehicle content damage sustained in the accident. This claim is usually made by the non-fault party in the accident against the insurance carrier of the at fault party in the accident.
The next claim is usually the medical treatment claim (known as Personal Injury Protection claim). This claim has two aspects to it; first is the claim for benefits available to you through your vehicle insurance. Most people don’t realize it but their insurance policy pays 80% of your accident-related medical bills and 60% of your accident-related lost wages up to your policy limit of usually $10,000. The second aspect of this claim is the medical costs over and above the 80% coverage available through your policy which should come from the at fault parties insurance coverage. Many times these additional medical bills will be paid for by your health insurance company, which will require that you reimburse or pay them back if you make a claim against the at-fault party, or their insurance company for damages. In addition, Medicare or Medicaid often times pays for accident related treatment and they also require the repayment of their accident related payments should you make a claim. These claims are further complicated by the fact that if you make the claim and don’t pay back your health carrier or Medicare or Medicaid then they can come after you personally or discontinue further benefits based upon your failure to protect them in your damage settlement.
The next claim is for your claim for injury or bodily injury damage as a result of a non-fault accident. This claim arises if you have suffered a permanent injury as a result of the other driver’s negligence and is made against the vehicle owner/driver’s insurance carrier, any business that driver may have been working for, or any other party that may have caused the damages you sustained.
The next possible claim is for uninsured motorist benefits. The uninsured motorist benefit claim involves a claim against your insurance coverage if you purchased that uninsured motorist benefit that protects you if someone who is uninsured or under-insured resulting in your injury injures you.
In addition, there may be additional policies of insurance available to protect you in the form of health insurance coverage, excess personal coverage over the standard automobile coverage and commercial insurance policies, as well as personal claims against the at-fault party for damages over and above their insurance coverage limits or against them personally if they failed to have the statutorily required insurance under Florida law.
Representation is Important
All of the above claims interact with one another, which means that the actions you take on one claim may affect your ability to pursue your maximum recovery from the other claims available to you. This is why it is so important that you talk with a qualified personal injury litigation attorney early in your case who knows what claims you will be making and can give you the advice you need to make sure you are protected.
The accident attorneys of Morgan and Barbary located in Melbourne, Florida, have been litigating personal injury cases for over a quarter of a century and will work with you to protect your legal rights, minimize any negative exposure you may have and maximize your recovery for your injury.