Most minor accident claims are settled relatively quickly by the insurance company. If there are no injuries, it’s usually a matter of hav...
Most minor accident claims are settled relatively quickly by the insurance company. If there are no injuries, it’s usually a matter of having an adjuster look at your car, getting it to the body shop, and getting an estimate. Accidents with injuries generally take longer, and with good reason. While insurers are usually quick to try to settle injury claims, their initial offers fall short of full compensation. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer before accepting any claim. Personal injury claims take longer, but the difference in time can have a substantial impact on your settlement.
Once you make a claim, an adjuster will make an offer for your injuries and property damage. This offer comes with a requirement that you sign a waiver of liability, which means that the settlement is final and you can’t get more if your expenses exceed the offer amount. Should you reject that offer, you should contact a personal injury lawyer who handles car accidents. If you commit to that lawyer, they will need time to prepare.
Attorney preparation includes reviewing the crash report, examining video or photographic evidence, and deposing witnesses. They’ll also need access to your medical records. Once they have all of the information and a clear picture of your case, they’ll compile expenses. Generally, your attorney should seek reimbursement for the following:
● All medical expenses, including hospital stay, doctor appointments, scans, bloodwork, physical therapy, and followup appointments
● Damage to your personal property, including your vehicle
● Lost wages for your time off from work
● Pain and suffering damages for your emotional trauma, physical pain, and personal inconvenience
Your attorney will approach the responsible insurer with a counteroffer, which will probably be substantially larger than the offer the adjuster made to you. As you might imagine, the insurer will want to negotiate the offer. Once they become aware that you’re being represented by a car accident attorney, they will begin preparing for litigation in case they’re unable to reach a settlement agreement. They will schedule you for deposition, for instance. Your attorney should prepare you and accompany you to the deposition.
If your attorney is not able to get a fair settlement offer from the insurance company, they may decide that litigation is the best course of action. Depending on the insurer and your attorney, the two parties may agree to binding arbitration, in which both entities litigate the case in an informal setting with an arbitrator. This is often preferred instead of going through the courts because it’s faster. Courtroom litigation often depends on the schedule of the courts and drags the process out longer. If negotiations break down and your case has to be litigated through the courts, it could take one to three years to receive compensation.
Personal injury lawyers in Florida work on a contingency basis. Their fee comes after the successful completion of your case. They justify this fee by getting you a much higher settlement through their efforts. You should move fast. The statute of limitations for car accident claims in the state of Florida is four years.