After being involved in a Florida car accident, you may not even know the right questions to ask a personal injury attorney. Auto Accident Attorney Matthew Noyes has been helping those families involved in Florida car accidents for over 25 years. Through the years, Personal Injury Attorney has answered many of the same car accident questions you may have after your auto accident. To help you get answers to legal questions after your Florida automobile accident, we have compiled these Frequently Asked Questions for you. However, if you question is not found below, simply email Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes or call Attorney Matthew Noyes at 727-796-8282 or fill out the form on this page. Being in a Florida car accident can be stressful enough, having unanswered questions only makes the process even more difficult. Attorney Matthew Noyes is here to reduce this stress by answering your legal questions.
What Should You Do At The Car Accident Scene?
After a Florida car accident, you should do the following:
- Stop and notify the police of the car accident. If you leave the scene of an accident that involves injuries without providing your information your license may be revoked. In Florida, they may not come out to the accident scene if there are no injuries, but it is important to still call them.
- Contrary to popular belief, if you are in a car accident and you are blocking traffic, you must move your car. If you can’t move it yourself, you are required to get help or call a tow truck. Your car should never block traffic in any situation.
- Take out your cell phone and start taking pictures. Take pictures of your vehicle’s property. Take photos of your injuries (seat belt scrapes or bruising), any changes inside your vehicle (rear view mirror knocked down, seat back mechanism collapsing). Take pictures of the at-fault driver, their passengers and any witnesses on the scene. Take a picture of the at-fault driver’s license plate and driver’s license and insurance card.
- Exchange name, address, insurance information and vehicle registration information with the other driver. Ask that they do the same.
- Get the name and address and contact phone number of any witness to the accident. You would be amazed how many times the police do not write down the witnesses’ information on the accident report.
- Call your doctor to arrange a visit. In Florida, your automobile insurance is responsible to pay for medical treatment (at 80%) stemming from a car accident. Get checked out early so your pain is documented. If you wait too long, you may not be entitled to your Personal Injury Protection benefits.
- Call your insurance company and report that you were involved in a car accident. However, do not give a recorded statement to any insurance company without first consulting with an attorney.
- Talk to an attorney experienced in car accidents and personal injury law. Don’t sign any paperwork until you have a free consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney.
Is there a time limit to treat with a medical provider after a Florida car accident?
Florida’s No-Fault law’s now states that if a person injured in a car accident waits to see if his or her injuries will improve and fails to seek medical care within two weeks of the accident, the person’s insurance carrier does not have to pay for any medical treatment or lost wages even though the person paid for this coverage.
What is the limit on Florida Personal Injury Protection coverage?
Typically, after a Florida car accident, a person is entitled to $10,000.00 in Personal Injury Protection coverage. However, the law now requires that you must be diagnosed with an “emergency medical condition” in order to be entitled to the $10,000 in PIP benefits you paid for. Florida Statute 627.732(16) defines an emergency medical condition. If there is no emergency medical condition diagnosed, the injured person is limited to $2,500.00 in benefits (despite paying for $10,000 in benefits).
My agent quoted me one price for my automobile insurance, but when I received the policy, the premiums were higher. What can I do?
You should first find out why there was a discrepancy in the quote. Sometimes information will be revealed to the company on your Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) that will require the originally quoted premiums to be changed by the company.
According to Florida Statute 627.7282, you have three options:
- You may pay the increase.
- You may request cancellation, but the company is entitled to earned premium based on the corrected premium. The policyholder has a period of within 10 days from receipt of the notice to cancel the policy and demand a refund of any unearned premiums, without penalty.
- Do not pay, and the company will cancel your policy for nonpayment of premium.
The agent should be able to give you a satisfactory explanation for the increase in your premium. If you feel that your premium was intentionally quoted low in order to obtain your business, you should file a formal complaint with our Department.
I was involved in an automobile accident, and the company has not yet inspected my vehicle or authorized a rental vehicle. Isn’t there a time limit on how long an insurance company can take?
At the present time, there is no Florida Statute or Department Rule, which addresses a time limit. However, seven to ten working days should be ample time for a company to inspect a damaged vehicle and authorize a rental car. Rental may not be covered unless it is approved by the insurance company.
What is the minimum amount of insurance required to be carried in order to comply with Florida’s automobile insurance laws?
Any person who has a car in Florida for more than 90 days during the preceding 365 days, reside in Florida, be employed in Florida or have children enrolled in school in Florida, must purchase Personal Injury Protection coverage ($10,000) and Property Damage Liability coverage ($10,000).
How long does an insurance company have to settle an auto claim?
There is no specific time limit during which the company must come to a settlement agreement with an insured or a third party claimant. However, once the person and the company have agreed in writing upon an amount, the company must pay within 20 days or pay interest as provided by Florida Statute 627.4265.
The company selected a body shop to repair my car. However, I’d rather go to one I am familiar with. Will I be penalized for choosing my own body shop?
Normally, you have the right to choose the auto repair shop you want. Note: Some policies approved by Department of Insurance require the insured to take the vehicle to a designated repair shop in exchange for a reduced premium. The company cannot be required to pay a higher price for the same necessary repairs. When a company directs a vehicle to be repaired by their facility, the insurance company is responsible for the quality of the repair.
The person that hit my car does not have any coverage. I don’t want to make a claim through my own insurance company. Do you have any suggestions?
You can take the at-fault party to court. If you obtain a judgment against the owner of the car and they do not pay the judgment, you should contact the bureau of Financial Responsibility in the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles so they can take the appropriate action against the owner of the car.
The company wants to repair my car with non-factory parts. Can they do this?
Yes. The parts used do not necessarily have to be original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, but should be of like kind and quality as the parts being replaced. Ask your company about what guarantees will be given on these parts. Florida law requires the parts to be of same fit, quality and performance.
My front windshield was broken. I have comprehensive coverage with a deductible. Will I have to pay the deductible before the company pays for the replacement of my windshield?
No. Florida Statute 627.7288 states that the deductible shall not apply to windshield damages.