Being in a car accident is never something to look forward to. Besides possible injuries and damage to your car, the stress level is immediate and strong. Once you assess the situation, determine if calling 911 is necessary, and exchange information with the other driver, you will probably also have to hear from the police and most importantly, find out if you are at least partially responsible for the accident.
Whether you are fully or partially responsible for the accident, there are some immediate steps you should take. Start by documenting the scene, taking pictures of your car from every angle as well as of the other car. Make sure the scene can clearly be understood. Also, if there is something else that might have contributed to the accident such as water on the road, poor pavement, swinging tree branches, road signs, or anything else that you may consider important, take pictures of that too.
Getting the testimonies from anyone that may have witnessed what happened can be a tool in your favor should there be a lawsuit. Record what they saw and get their contact information.
It is important to call your insurance company and let them know what happened.
After any accident, it is important to get checked out by a healthcare professional to rule out any possible internal damage and take care of any visible injuries.
Since Florida is a no-fault car insurance state, you will have to file a claim under your own personal injury protection coverage. The purpose of this claim is to get compensation for any financial losses on your part, such as medical bills, regardless of who was responsible for the accident.
Only in cases where you are found to be at-fault and the other party’s injuries meet certain prerequisites, can the other driver step outside of no-fault and bring a claim directly against you.
If you are at fault for the accident the other driver will expect that you (through your insurance carrier) will compensate them for their medical bills, lost wages, and other losses they might have suffered. However, since Florida follows a comparative fault rule it may happen that both you and the other driver will share blame for the accident.
If this is your case, based on the evidence, the jury will be asked to calculate the total amount of damages and the percentage of fault that rests on each party. This decision will also guide a car insurance claims adjuster when they evaluate your case.
In general, the time limit is four years from the date of the accident to get a case started in the Florida court system.
Being found at fault for a car accident in Florida is not an easy matter to deal with on your own. You will have to insurance adjusters, and may even end up in court. You can find more details here when you are looking for the right lawyer to represent you.