Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Minor Accident?
There are so many things you have to think about when a vehicle accident occurs. If there are no injuries and the property damage is relatively light, you may be wondering if you need an attorney. This is a good thing to consider because there is a good chance you will be involved in a crash at some point in your life. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles tells us some startling facts. During the latest reporting year in the state, there were over 400,000 total vehicle accidents involving nearly 700,000 drivers. Out of those accidents, there were:
- 3,116 total fatalities
- 254,310 total accidents
What may surprise many people to learn is that most Florida car accidents involve only minor injuries or even just property damage. For that reporting year, over 232,000 crashes were property damage only.
You May Still Want to Consider an Attorney
We need to look at how the state of Florida handles vehicle accidents. This is a no-fault accident state, which is different from the way most other states handle crashes. Every driver in this state must have two types of coverage. This includes:
- $10,000 in personal injury protection coverage (PIP)
- $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL)
The term no-fault can be somewhat misleading. When it comes to personal injuries, drivers do not file a claim with the other driver’s insurance, regardless of who is at fault. Every driver files a claim with their personal insurance provider to get coverage for their injuries.
However, property damage is handled differently. If another driver is at fault in your crash, then you will file a claim the at-fault driver’s insurance. You can see how the term no-fault can get confusing here.
Why Would I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
The catch here is that the at-fault driver’s insurance will only cover up to the limits of their coverage. In most cases, drivers carry the minimum of $10,000. If your property damage goes over $10,000, then you may have to file a claim with your insurance company.
An attorney may be necessary to file a property damage claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company if they do not estimate the damage to your vehicle or if they refuse to make a settlement. You may even have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to cover your property damage expenses.
Along with property damage, minor accidents can still lead to injuries. If you are in pain, even if it’s minor, it’s still good to visit your doctor. It’s better to address it early on than to notice pain down the road and being unable to file an injury claim under your PIP. You have 14 days from the accident to visit a doctor to open a PIP claim.
An experienced Jacksonville or Fort Myers car accident attorney will be your negotiator. Dealing with insurance companies can be notoriously difficult to deal with. We want you to know that the insurance companies are not on your side. The goal of their claims adjusters is to ensure they settle for as little as possible. This can lead to them offering much less than you deserve or even denying your legitimate claim.
You do not want to be one of the several thousands of people in Florida left with no recourse after they sustain property damage in a minor vehicle accident. Your finances matter and you should not be on the line for another person’s mistakes.