Automobile Accident Questions From a Tallahassee Car Accident Lawyer
Frequently Asked Questions for Automobile Accidents
The Moye law Firm represents injured clients in Tallahassee and throughout Florida in a wide variety of injury and accident cases. In our 60 years of experience in practicing law, we have found that many clients who have been in an auto accident commonly ask the following questions:
Q. What should I do if I’ve been in an automobile accident?
A. If you have been in an automobile accident, you should:
- Obtain immediate and follow up medical care for anyone who suffered, or might have suffered, an injury.
- Obtain as much information as you can about each party involved in the accident and any potential witnesses. This includes their names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, insurance information, and information regarding their vehicles.
- Report the accident to your insurance company and obtain a property damage claim number to address the damage to your vehicle and a personal injury protection (PIP) claim number to cover your medical treatment.
- Take photographs of the accident scene and the damage to the vehicles, and
- Contact an attorney who has experience handling motor vehicle accidents.
Q. When should I call a lawyer?
A. The sooner you contact an experienced personal injury attorney the better. Although Florida allows you four years to file a lawsuit based on a negligent or wrongful act, it is important to have an attorney begin investigating your case as soon as possible while evidence is still available and the memories of any eyewitnesses are still fresh.
Q. Should I accept the insurance company’s settlement offer?
A. While it is possible that the insurance company will offer a fair settlement, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury accident attorney before accepting any offer. After examining and fully investigating your case, experienced injury attorneys can accurately evaluate what your claim might be worth. With this information, we are in a better position to negotiate a fair settlement, or if necessary, file a lawsuit to take the case to trial.
Q. How much is my case worth?
A. Every accident and injury case is different. The value of any given case depends upon three basic factors:
- responsibility for having caused the accident,
- the nature and extent of the injuries sustained, and
- the money available to compensate the injured person.
Q. How do I pay my medical bills?
A. If you have health insurance, it should cover some of your medical expenses. If you are a driver insured in Florida, your own automobile insurance likely has personal injury protection (PIP) coverage which will pay all or some of your medical expenses. Additionally, the person at fault for your accident is responsible for the reasonable damages you suffered, including medical bills. Ultimately, however, you are responsible for all of your medical expenses, even if you were not at fault in the accident.
Q. What should I bring to the initial consultation?
A. It is helpful if you bring as much information about the accident as possible. This includes:
- any police or accident reports that were filed,
- your medical records,
- all photographs of the accident scene and damaged vehicles,
- the names and contact information of any witnesses or other parties involved in the accident,
- any other documentation related to the accident,
- all correspondence and documents received from any insurance company,
- all of your vehicle policies.
Q. How long do I have to file a lawsuit for my injuries?
A. You have four years from the date of a car accident to file suit for injuries arising from an auto accident. In Florida, lawsuits can only be filed for injuries which are permanent.
Q. What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage?
A. Florida is a no-fault state which requires every insured driver have personal injury protection (PIP) available to pay the first $10,000 of medical care irrespective of who caused the accident. If you are an insured driver and have been in an automobile accident, you need to contact your insurance carrier in order to obtain a PIP claim number which you will need to provide to the medical professionals treating your injuries.
Q. What is a Property Damage Claim?
A. If you have been in an automobile accident, property damage is the insurance available to compensate you for the loss or repairs to your vehicle.
Q. If I retain an attorney will a lawsuit immediately be filed?
A. No. If you have been wrongfully injured through the fault of another, you need to discuss your injuries with an injury attorney. Normally, the attorney seeks to negotiate a settlement consistent with the injuries sustained and the money available for compensation. In the event, that a fair and just settlement cannot be reached, a lawsuit may be filed.
Q. Why do I need an attorney?
A. Normally persons who have been injured in a car accident are immediately contacted by an experienced insurance adjuster. Frequently, these calls can come as early as the day of the accident or the next morning. It is important to remember that insurance companies usually are seeking to settle your case as quickly and cheaply as possible while it is generally in the interests of the injured person to postpone settlement until you have reached maximum medical improvement and are adequately able to determine the full extent of the injuries you sustained. The insurance company has experience on its side, shouldn’t you?
To discuss your grounds for legal action with a Tallahassee car accident lawyer, contact us today 850 224-6693 (224-MOYE)