What should I do if I’m in a car accident?
I was in a minor accident and the other driver and I just exchanged insurance information without calling the police. My insurance company is now giving me a hard time for not having a report. Is a police report necessary for all car accidents?
I was in a car accident and the other motorist's insurance company just called me for a statement. Am I required to provide one?
Who is responsible for my medical treatment and expenses?
Q: What should I do if I’m in a car accident?
If you are involved in a car accident, you should seek necessary medical treatment immediately. Even if you are not injured, it is important that you call the police and file a formal police report which can later assist with insurance claims and any lawsuits which may follow.
During this time, you will be required to show your driver’s license and documentation of your insurance coverage. It is important that you obtain this information from the other driver as well. If you have a camera, you should take a photo of the scene or soon after to show any damage to your vehicle. You should also contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible so they can instruct you on the necessary steps to file your claim.
To ensure that you receive the greatest settlement possible, contact a personal injury attorney who can initiate an investigation before witnesses forget their testimonials and evidence is lost.
Click Here To Learn More About The Steps To Take After An Accident
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Q: I was in a minor accident and the other driver and I just exchanged insurance information without calling the police. My insurance company is now giving me a hard time for not having a report. Is a police report necessary for all car accidents?
It is always a good idea to call the police at the time of an automobile accident. Although all insurance carriers have different policies regarding the necessity of a police report when filing a claim, many will accept an auto insurance claim without one. Nonetheless, police reports are helpful in determining the involved parties and documenting who was at fault. This information will assist your insurance company in their investigation and may expedite the resolution of the claim.
Florida law does not require an officer to be called to the scene of an auto accident without injuries. In a simple fender bender with no one hurt, each driver is simply required to stop and provide his or her name, address, registration number, and if requested, show the other driver his or her license. The risks of not calling an officer to the scene are fairly obvious, at least if the other driver is at fault. You may be provided with false information and if you do not have a police report you may be at a disadvantage in trying to negotiate your claim and establish the other driver’s liability. If you think the other driver is at fault, we therefore recommend that you call an officer to the scene of any accident in which you expect to make a property damage claim against the other driver or have the slightest suspicion that you or one of your passengers may be injured. If you do not call an officer to the scene, make sure that you get the aforementioned information from the other driver, as well as the name of his or her insurance provider, and ask to be shown a driver’s license to confirm the driver’s identity. If there are any witnesses, try to get their names and phones numbers.
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Q: I was in a car accident and the other motorist's insurance company just called me for a statement. Am I required to provide one?
There are two different adjusters from the other motorist's insurance company who may be calling you. First, if the other motorist was clearly at fault for the accident, you likely will be contacted by a property damage adjuster at his or her insurance company to make arrangements to assess the damage to your vehicle and repair it. You can and should speak to this adjuster about the damage done to your vehicle, although you should not provide any statement about the cause of the accident or your injuries.
Second, you may be contacted by the another adjuster regarding your personal injuries. This adjuster likely will be seeking to obtain a recorded statement from you regarding the circumstances of the accident as well as the nature of your injuries. You should talk with an attorney before agreeing to make any statement. In most cases in which you intend to make a personal injury claim, the attorney will advise you not to make a statement to the at-fault driver's insurance company, or only to do so if the at-fault driver is also willing to make a recorded statement to your attorney.
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Q: Who is responsible for my medical treatment and expenses?
Florida's "No Fault" law provides some important exceptions to the general rule that the at-fault party is responsible for the injured party's medical expenses and lost wages. If your accident occurred in Florida and you have the Personal Injury Protection ("PIP") policy required under Florida law, your own PIP policy will pay 80% of your related medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages up to a combined maximum of $10,000. Medical expenses and lost wages that are not paid under PIP are recoverable from the at-fault driver and are typically paid out of the at-fault driver's automobile liability insurance.
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