According to studies, Americans spend on average 294 hours driving in their car per year. This equates to over seven 40 hour work weeks per year that a person spends driving a car. The car insurance industry estimates that you will be involved in a collision that results in an insurance claim every 17.9 years. This means the you will be involved in a car accident on average three to four times in your life.
Anyone that has ever been involved in an accident knows the awful feeling. Your heart immediately races as you try to gather your bearings and process what just happened. Your mind starts spinning and you're not sure what to do. These matters are only complicated when your injured as a result of the accident.
I was just in a car accident, what now?
- Call the police and obtain a police report. It is important to call the police and obtain a police report to document important facts about the accident, such as, the date, time, and address of the accident, weather conditions and roadway conditions at the time of the accident, vehicle descriptions (make, model, year and color) and damage to the vehicles, and any eye witnesses. Take pictures of the scene of the accident and the vehicles involved in the accident. Make sure to get insurance companies and policy numbers of everyone involved in the accident.
- Safely move your vehicle from the roadway. If the accident is minor, and you can drive your vehicle, move it out of the lanes of travel to a safe location.
- Seek medical treatment immediately. It is important to seek medical treatment immediately after an auto accident to document your injuries. Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 627.736, "an insurance policy will pay eighty percent of all reasonable expenses for medically necessary medical... if the individual receives initial services and care pursuant to subparagraph 1. within 14 days after the motor vehicle accident."
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney. It is important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to assist you through the entire process. A personal injury attorney will be able to answer all your questions and handle your claim from start to finish allowing you to focus on getting better.
Who pays my medical bills after a car accident?
You may have heard that Florida is a "no-fault" state or maybe you have heard of personal injury protection (PIP). What that means is that whether you or someone else is at fault for the accident, your own auto insurance company is the primary payor of your medical bills and will pay the first $10,000 of your medical bills. Personal Injury Protection pays 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages up to $10,000. Under Florida's "no-fault" law, you must seek treatment within fourteen (14) days of the accident or your auto insurance company can deny payment of your medical bills.
If you purchased Medical Payments Coverage (MPC) as a part of your auto insurance policy, that provision of your policy can pay your medical bills. However, be aware, because unlike Personal Injury Protection benefits, if your auto insurance carrier pays any of your medical bills pursuant to your medical payments provision, your auto insurance carrier is entitled to reimbursement if you make a recovery.
Ultimately, you are responsible for paying your medical bills. If the at-fault party has auto insurance and has bodily injury liability on their policy, you may be able to make a recovery to cover your medical bills. Your medical bills will be paid out of the proceeds of any settlement you receive. However, Florida is one of only two states that does not require bodily injury liability insurance coverage. If there is no bodily injury coverage available, you may be able to make a recovery against your own auto insurance carrier to pay your medical bills if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your policy.
I was in a car accident, but I don't have car insurance, who will pay my medical bills?
If you were involved in a car accident in your own car and you don't have auto insurance, it's okay. If you have health insurance, health insurance may cover your medical bills.
If you were involved in a car accident in someone else's car and you don't own your own car and don't have your own auto insurance, then you can get Personal Injury Protection benefits through owner's auto insurance carrier.
I was in a car accident, who will pay to fix my car?
If you were not at fault for the accident, the at-fault party's insurance company will pay to fix your car. If the at-fault party does not have insurance, your own insurance company may be responsible to pay to fix your car if you have collision coverage on your policy.
Should I hire a personal injury attorney to represent me for my car accident?
Yes. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to guide you through the entire process from making a claim to settling your claim allowing you to focus on what matters - getting better. Your attorney will investigate your claim, obtain the police report, 911 call and CAD report, inspect the scene of the accident, take witness statements, gather your medical records and bills, communicate with your insurance company and the other party or insurance company, and give you legal advice to help you make the absolute best decisions.
How much does it cost to hire a personal injury attorney?
Attorneys in the state of Florida are governed by the Florida Bar Association. Rule 4-1.5, Fees and Costs for Legal Services outlines the types of fees that attorneys can charge. Personal injury attorneys work on a "contingency fee" agreement, meaning you don't owe your attorney a dime unless they make a recovery for you.
If you have been in a car accident, contact us now.
The attorneys and staff at Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, PLLC have the experience, resources, and reputation to take on the insurance company and get you the compensation you deserve. Click here to read what our clients say about us and click here to see our recent results.