A car accident is never a good thing. But a car accident while you’re on vacation in Florida comes with even more complications. With approximately 1,063 accidents and nearly 700 injuries occurring each day in the state of Florida, there’s a chance you could be involved in an accident and get injured in the process.
If your accident occurs in a rental car, there are a few things you should know. Prepare yourself for the worst and you may be able to limit the consequences of your accident.
1. Call the Police
No matter where your accident might take place, you should notify the police immediately. Even in a minor fender bender, the damage is often worse than it seems. If you don’t have a police report, your chances of getting compensation for the accident are reduced.
When the police arrive, they will document the scene and interview everyone involved. Their report will be what the insurance company uses to determine fault. Because the police are a reliable third-party, the insurance company trusts the report more than they trust your own account of the incident. Without a report, the insurance company is more likely to deny your claim.
2. Understand Your Rental Car Insurance Policy
Although you should be aware of your rental car insurance policy before you get behind the wheel, some people don’t know about their coverage. Out-of-state residents rely on rental car insurance for coverage. But Florida residents can use their own car insurance policy on rentals.
Whenever you travel, have your car insurance policy or rental paperwork safe and accessible. If you are in a collision, you can refer to your paperwork for more details. You can also show a lawyer your paperwork to learn more about your coverage.
3. Seek Guidance Navigating State Laws
Every state has its own set of laws regarding car crashes. As a no-fault state, Florida requires accident victims with injuries to go through their own insurance company, regardless of fault. Every Florida driver needs to have personal injury protection of $10,000. The PIP will cover your first $10,000.00 in medical expenses caused by the accident. These medical benefits can be used for any medical expenses, even if the medical services are received outside the state of Florida. Insurance policies originating in other states may have other provisions for medical benefits, including MedPay benefits.
If you only experience property damage, the no-fault law does not apply. In the event that the other party is at-fault, you can go through their insurance. Your own insurance rates won’t rise, nor will they come with a deductible.
It’s important to realize that car accident law is complex. Instead of relying on the insurance company to explain local laws, you should speak with a car accident lawyer in Florida. The insurance company does not have your best interest at heart.
4. Get an Experienced Attorney
Before you rush to file a car insurance claim, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. If you contact your own insurance company, they may try to persuade you to accept a quick settlement check.
But you deserve compensation for your accident, and you could be entitled to more. Be wary of the insurance company contacting you before you reach out to them, as they may be trying to take advantage of you. Once you sign a release and accept a settlement check, you’re locked into it. Before signing anything, reach out to a lawyer.
When you hire a local attorney, they have complete understanding of local car accident laws. They can also represent you in the state of Florida should you not be physically available. Furthermore, they know how to expedite your case so you can move on with your life. If your collision involves any type of significant injury or vehicle damage, you could benefit from working with a lawyer.
Handling Your Case
An attorney will do more than just handle the insurance company. If the insurance company doesn’t offer a fair payout, your lawyer could file a lawsuit on your behalf. But you need a lawyer who is licensed to practice in Florida. For this reason, you should only work with a local lawyer. You never know when your case could end up in court.
Lindsey Sheppy with GBY and Associates has years of experience with personal injury law in Florida. If you’re in a car accident in Florida, contact her to learn more about your options. Even if you’re already back in your home state, she can handle your case over the phone, email, and video conferencing. She has the experience and local knowledge needed to resolve your case.