In Florida, the law enforcement officer’s opinion as to who is at fault and who receives the ticket or citation is not admissible in a civil claim for negligence. Therefore, it does not matter who got the ticket. The officer can testify as to what he/she observed when they arrived and about any physical evidence found at the scene. However, just because the other person got the ticket, don’t assume that their insurance company will accept responsibility for the accident and your injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have been involved in an automobile accident, What do I do?
- Make sure you are out of harms way.
- Call the police and request emergency vehicles if necessary. Assist any injured but do not move them unless there is a threat of further injury.
- Get the names, phone numbers, and addresses of all who are involved (including other drivers, witnesses, and injured persons).
- Get the make, model, and license numbers of all vehicles involved.
- Take pictures of everything with your phone. If you can, make a rough drawing of the scene.
- Don’t speak to any insurance reps without first getting the advice of a licensed attorney.
- Remain calm, courteous and consistent in your version of the accident.
- Call Lowman Law Firm as soon as possible (you may have 14 days to file your claim).
When do I file for property damage?
Depending on whether you have purchased comprehensive or collision coverage and the amount of the deductible, you may want to file your claim through your own carrier or the “at fault” party’s insurance carrier.
What is a contingency fee?
A contingency fee means that your attorney has agreed to receive a fee on your case only if your case is successful and results in a recovery. You are not indebted to the attorney if there is no monetary fee recovered.
Do I have to pay any money up front for the costs associated with the investigation, claim and potential lawsuit?
Am I required to give a recorded statement or examination under oath?
The answer is maybe. Depending on the type of claim you are making, you may be required to submit to questioning. If you are asked to give a statement, you may want to retain legal counsel prior to making the statement in order to protect your rights.
Do I really need a lawyer to handle my personal injury case?
Most times the answer to this question is yes. It is possible that someone could handle their own claim if the insurance company accepts 100% responsibility and the person suffered minimal injuries and wants to accept the settlement amount the insurance company offers. However, you should be very careful. First, your conversations with the insurance company are often tape recorded and always documented. Second, the insurance adjuster is not on your side and will attempt to settle your case for as little money as possible. Lastly, you may be entitled to compensation under other insurance coverage that the adjuster has no obligation to disclose. Therefore, although you “can” settle your case without a lawyer, you may jeopardize your legal rights and you will most likely receive less money than you deserve.
Why is it important to retain a lawyer immediately after the crash?
By contacting our office immediately after the crash, we are able to complete a full investigation into the liability portion of your accident. Insurance companies try to limit the amount of money they owe you by claiming that you somehow caused or contributed to the cause of the accident. By performing a thorough investigation immediately following the accident, we are able to secure all witnesses names, contact information, and statements making it almost impossible for the insurance company to argue you were at fault. In addition to the liability investigation, we conduct an exhaustive analysis into what insurance coverages are available to you. Therefore, you are assured your case will move forward smoothly and timely.
Why does my auto insurance company pay for my medical bills when the other person caused the crash?
Under Florida law, your insurance company always pays the initial medical bills you incur after an accident. This is called your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or “No-Fault” coverage. If you do not own a vehicle, you may be entitled to file a PIP claim on the auto insurer for the vehicle you were in or to the company that insures someone you live with under certain conditions. PIP usually pays 80% of the medical charges after your deductible and only pays up to $10,000. Therefore, it will always leave you with outstanding medical bills. Once PIP has exhausted, you must make a claim against the other party’s auto insurance or your auto insurance company if you purchased UM coverage to receive compensation. Remember, PIP only pays medical bills at 80% and Lost Wages at 60% and does not pay you for future medical care, future lost income, or pain and suffering.
What if the person that caused the accident does not have any auto insurance?
This is becoming a common occurrence. Unfortunately, if the responsible party is not insured, you may have difficulty securing a financial recovery. However, by contacting our office immediately after the crash, we can perform a comprehensive search to determine if any other insurance company may be responsible for your damages. You may be entitled to compensation from the owner of other vehicle’s insurance company, driver of the vehicle’s insurance company, employer of the other driver’s company, your own insurance company, or even the insurance company of someone who lives with you.
How long will it take to settle my case?
Cases can be delayed or end up in court for several reasons. First, your evidence was not obtained immediately after the crash and the insurance company is now arguing about who caused the accident. When you do not have your attorney conduct a thorough and immediate evaluation into the cause of the accident, your case will suffer. Insurance companies have hundreds of adjusters and investigators contacting witnesses and securing evidence they will later argue supports that you were at fault for the accident. You should have someone on your side working to secure the evidence in your favor. The second reason that a settlement is delayed is usually the nature of your injuries and need for treatment. It is never in your best interests to settle your case when you still require treatment. If you are still having pain or problems and are considering a settlement, you should discuss the matter with your attorney in depth to determine what is right for you.