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Do you have an injury case or injury claim if there was only a minor impact?

Posted by Matthew Waring | May 09, 2019 | 0 Comments

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South Florida Car Accident Lawyer, Matthew Waring, answers some of the most common questions people have after they have been in a car accident.

What is a minor car accident?

Your accident may not be as “minor” as you think. The real question you should ask yourself is not “how much damage” but rather “am I hurt?” People have been permanently injured by low speed impact car accidents which leave little to no damage whatsoever. Some people are able to walk away from high rollover accidents unscathed. Everyone is different and so is every case. If you are in a car accident and you believe you may be hurt, you should seek medical treatment and legal advice regardless of the amount of damage.

In my experience, Insurance companies pay attention to two things:

                  (1) the dollar amount it costs to fix the car 

                  (2) photos of the actual damage

Depending on the make and model or even year of the car, a small dent can cost thousands to repair. Even if the damage appears to be very minor, if the repair cost exceeds $1,000.00, then an insurance company may not consider it a “minor impact.”

How long do you have to go to doctor after car accident?

Under Florida law, car accident victims have up to 14 days to get medical treatment after a car accident if they want it to be covered under their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. If a victim is not seen by a doctor within 14 days, then their bills will not be covered by their own PIP insurance coverage. However, even if a victim does not get treated within 14 days, there still may be insurance coverage through the at-fault driver's insurance.

Is there a time limit for car accident claim?

Yes.

First, to qualify for PIP benefits in Florida, a car accident victim must be seen by a doctor within 14 days of the accident. However, if a victim is not seen by a doctor within 14 days, he or she may still have a claim against the at-fault driver's insurance or his or her own uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Not all is lost.

Second, under Florida law, a car accident victim has up to four years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. After the four years has expired, the victim's claim is forever barred.

Third, the longer a car accident victim waits to get a lawyer involved, the less likely the chance that the victim is able to recover financially for their injuries.

Finally, even if you have been injured in a car accident and have not received treatment for your injuries for some time, you should still consult with an attorney about your right to potential compensation.

What to do after someone hits your car?

First, assess whether you have been injured.If you feel that you may have been injured, you should not attempt to take photos or videos of the accident scene. Neither should you feel the need to tweet, snap, or share any photos or details of the accident on social media. Your first priority should be for your safety and the safety of others on scene.

Second, call the police and report the accident. Whether it was a large or small impact, you are best served by getting a police report.

Third, assess your surroundings. If you are able to move your car, and the accident occurred in a busy roadway, it is best to safely move your vehicle off the road to reduce the risk to other motorists. If the person that hit you attempts to flee from the accident scene, take note of the license plate number as well as many details of the car you can recall. Do not attempt to block or chase the person that hit you.

Finally, remember that you do not need to speak or confront the driver of the at-fault vehicle. In most cases, its best for both parties if you don't speak with the at-fault driver at all and simply allow the police to gather statements and exchange information between the parties.

Do you have to call the police after minor car accident?

No, you do not have to call the police after a car accident. However, regardless of whether the damage is large or small, it is in your best interests as a victim to call the police and get a police report and exchange of information form.

Having a police report will make it much easier for you or an attorney to make sure your damages and injuries, if any, are compensated by an insurance company. That said, even if you did not get a police report after a minor accident, if you believe that you may be injured, there is a good chance that your claim may still be covered by any applicable insurance policies.

Can you file an insurance claim without a police report?

Yes. You can still make a claim without a police report.

An insurance company needs proof that the accident occurred and that you were the individual involved in the accident. A Florida Traffic Accident Report answers all of these questions. Without a police report, you or your attorney must present some other evidence placing you at the scene of the accident with the other driver.

If you do not get a police report, you risk the at-fault driver later denying the accident to their own insurance company which makes it much more difficult and, in some cases, improbable, for you to prove to the insurance company that the accident occurred and that it was caused by their insured.

You can buy police reports online at buycrash.com

Can I claim for stress after a car accident?

Only if you suffered from a permanent injury. If you were injured in a car accident, you may claim entitlement to compensation for emotional distress in addition to lost wages, medical expenses, and other elements of damages.

What is a car accident injury in Florida?

Car accident injuries take many forms. Some of the most common car accident injuries include: whiplash, neck pain, low back pain, mid-back pain, radiating pain, i.e. pain or tingling sensations in your arms, hands, legs, or feet, numbness, paralysis, headaches, blurry vision, shoulder pain, knee pain, fractures, lacerations, and burns. If you suspect that you may have been injured in a car accident, its best to get checked out by a doctor within 14 days of the accident so it is covered by your PIP benefits.

Do I call my insurance if someone hits me?

If you intend on making a claim with your insurance company, either for property damage or injury, your policy will most likely require that you notify them of the accident within as little as 30 days. HOWEVER, your insurance company may take note of everything you tell them and possibly even try to record your conversations, so they have the option of using your statements against you at a later date to avoid paying legitimate claims. If you suspect that you may have been injured in a car accident, it is best to speak with a lawyer before you speak with your insurance company. If you hire a lawyer, your lawyer will handle notifying your insurance company.

Finally, think twice before downloading any apps from an insurance company

How long does it take for an insurance company to pay out a car accident claim?

I have written extensively about the factors contributing to the time it takes to settle a claim:

Is your lawyer too slow? 

How long will my personal injury case take?

The amount of time it takes for an insurance company to pay out a car accident injury claim depends on several factors including:

(1) the severity of the injuries,

(2) the amount of the insurance policy limits,

(3) comparative fault, and

(4) the risk tolerance of the insurance company.

When liability is clear and the injuries are severe, insurance companies are keen to pay out a claim quickly. However, it is common for insurance companies to delay and deny claims especially when the injury value is much lower than the policy limits. However, even if your injuries are severe and the policy limits are low, the insurance company may nonetheless choose not resolve your claim based on its own calculation of the risk of not settling.

How much should I settle my car accident claim for?

Step 1:

Research the average jury verdict value for cases with similar facts and similar injuries in your county and state to get a general idea of what a jury might award at trial.

Step 2:

Assess the likelihood of prevailing at trial and factor in any potential comparative fault.

Step 3:

Consider the practical effect of settling for a given amount such as the amount of money left over after paying medical bills and attorney's fees and costs.

Step 4:

Consider the time value of money. Sometimes it is more advantageous to accept a lower settlement offer if it can be paid out today versus holding out another year for a higher amount.

South Florida Car Accident Lawyer – Matthew Waring – knows insurance companies because he used to work for them. 

Matthew Waring understands the sense of urgency many of his clients feel when waiting for a case to settle. For many accident victims with a personal injury claim, their settlement is literally their financial lifeline. 

If you would like a free consultation with Matthew Waring, speak with him today. Consultations are free! 

About the Author

Matthew Waring

Matthew is admitted to practice law throughout Florida as well as Federal Court in the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also admitted to practice law in federal court in the U.S. Southern and Middle Districts of Florida. If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer in Boca Raton...

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