Do I need to report a car accident to my insurance company?

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No matter how minor or not a car accident is, it might be scary, and when we are scared, we tend to make mistakes that will cost us later. According to Nuñez Law, P.L., you should report any car accident to your insurance company as soon as possible because a failed report might lead to denied coverage for your damages later.

You should report the accident within one or two days or according to your insurance policy deadlines for reporting accidents. However, this doesn’t mean you should tell them everything that occurred. Here is what you should know.

Reporting Car Accidents in Florida

No matter who is at fault for the car accident you have been involved in, having only one side take the entire blame is rare. Since Florida follows the pure comparative fault system, you might still be eligible for compensation even if you are partially at fault for the accident.

However, what you do after the accident is crucial, which means reporting it appropriately and in due time. Otherwise, you risk losing your coverage. Usually, this is what car accident victims in Florida need to do:

  • File within ten days of the accident a Florida Traffic Crash Report
  • Seek medical care within 14 days of the accident 
  • File a lawsuit within two years if you want compensation for injuries 

Under Florida Statute 316.066, drivers have up to 10 days after a car accident to file a written crash report to law enforcement. If you don’t do this, you risk losing your right to pursue compensation for medical expenses.

Since Florida is a no-fault state, all drivers must carry personal injury protection insurance (PIP). It can offer benefits of up to $10,000. However, this doesn’t apply to vehicle or property damage. If your vehicle is damaged and you are mostly to blame for the accident, then you have to report the accident to your insurance company.

If the other driver is at fault, you must file a claim with their insurance company. If your injuries exceed the standard PIP coverage, then you can file a personal injury claim to recover more damages.

Understanding How Insurance Companies Work

Reporting your accident to your insurance company is one thing. However, every time you deal with any insurance company, you have to understand that they are a business and will seek to award you less financial compensation than you deserve.

For example, the other driver’s insurance company might cast more blame on you for the accident so that they will pay less. When you report the accident to your own insurance company, you should only tell them when it happened and refrain from getting into details.

Instead, if you want to pursue damages, you should contact a car accident lawyer to prepare your case. A car accident lawyer will be by your side throughout the process and ensure that you are properly compensated for your troubles.

You might be entitled to more than just medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. You might also be eligible to receive non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more.

These types of damages are often worth more than economic damages, which are tangible damages such as injuries, property damage, and lost wages. However, if you pursue a case on your own, you might not be able to receive these benefits.

Apart from this, a personal injury lawyer will help you prove negligence and ensure that you are innocent or, at least, hard to blame for the car accident. Since Florida follows the pure comparative negligence system, all the parties involved in the accident will be assigned a fault percentage.

Florida’s Pure Comparative Negligence System 

This percentage can drastically affect your settlement since it eats away from your total compensation amount. For example, if you are owed $10,000 and yet you are found to be 30% at fault, you will only receive $7,000. This is why having legal representation on your side is crucial, but there is more.

Insurance companies use all sorts of tactics to intimidate you into accepting a lower settlement amount, and they will use everything they can to deny or limit your payment. This is why you should play it safe, follow the standard rules when a car accident occurs, and report it to the authorities and insurance companies, but be sure to have a lawyer on your side to guide you.

Your car accident lawyer knows the law and how to deal with insurance companies. They will be able to negotiate on your behalf and build you a strong case.

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