Fort Lauderdale Car Insurance Attorney
Car accidents can come about unexpectedly, and they can lead to many frustrations in the aftermath. Oftentimes, you face the loss of your vehicle and property as well as painful injuries that can require time off from work and rehabilitation. As you navigate the aftermath of a car accident, you will need to move forward and deal with the car insurance companies and your claim for damages against the parties responsible. A Fort Lauderdale car insurance lawyer can guide you through this process and advise you on how best to protect your rights and fight for maximum compensation.
A Lawsuit Is Not Your First Option After a Car Accident
Many car accident victims believe their legal options after a car accident only include a lawsuit. However, accident victims have many different options. When a car accident happens, your first recourse will likely be to file a claim with an insurance company.
Although the at-fault insurance company may settle your case out of court, you will still need to obtain a car insurance lawyer to represent you in an insurance claim. The benefits of an attorney during the claims process can include avoiding unnecessary delays in your case, limiting potential complications, and increasing the likelihood of a successful resolution.
During an insurance claim, you will go up against an insurer that will do whatever he or she can and must reduce the amount of compensation made available to you. Insurance companies may deny your claim for several reasons or reduce the amount of monetary damages in your claim with a low settlement offer. All communication with an insurer or its representative provides an opportunity for it to reveal any inconsistency, potential fault, or error that can provide a reason to reduce the at-fault party’s liability.
Insurance company representatives spend every day managing car insurance claims and looking for loopholes and discrepancies that will give them the upper hand in a specific case. For you to go against these parties without legal representation and support may feel like walking into unknown territory where you will likely come out losing.
Insurance companies have little motivation to offer you the maximum compensation for your damages. Insurance companies want to settle claims quickly and for the least amount of money possible, and they prefer to make no payout if the circumstances allow such a determination.
The Car Insurance Claims Process
A car insurance claim follows a similar process for each insurer. Claims representatives will take a series of actions to resolve a specific claim. When an accident involves serious injuries, insurers have a higher motivation to resolve the claim as quickly as possible to attempt to prevent a claimant from exploring all legal options or retaining legal representation, which will result in higher costs for the insurance company in the long run
Always remain wary of quick settlement offers made by insurers. Don’t feel surprised by unreasonably low offers made by an insurer in the hopes the claimant will accept the nominal settlement and allow the insurance company to close out the claim.
Immediately following your accident, you should notify your insurer that an accident has taken place. Notification of an accident does not mean you must provide a statement or any other information beyond the basics of the whereabouts of the accident and the parties and vehicles involved.
Use caution even when speaking to your own insurer about the information you provide and the questions asked of you. You will not face any obligation to speak to the other driver’s insurance company, and you do not need to answer any questions about the accident with your own insurer without the advice of your attorney. In fact, call The Levin Firm first—we can do this for you without compromising your claim.
Around this same time, you can initiate a claim with the insurance company. Not all car accidents involve the same facts, and the circumstances of each accident and the parties involved will often guide with which insurer you should file a claim. You may not realize in the immediate aftermath of your accident who bears liability for your damages. You should consult our attorneys before you file a claim to ensure that you consider all your options and make the best decision. An attorney can help you discover all potential liability in your case and all insurance coverage that may apply to your injuries.
Await Investigation by Insurer
Once you’ve filed a claim with the at-fault insurance company, it will begin its investigation process. This can take time as they gather evidence to review. The investigation made by an insurer will often look into how the accident happened, the fault of the parties involved in the accident, the property damage, the injuries sustained by the parties involved, and the impacts of those injuries on a claimant’s life.
Insurance companies will look at medical records, employment records, police reports, statements by involved parties and witnesses, as well as any other evidence that may exist. Keep in mind that although a police report and a citation can indicate potential fault for a car accident, it doesn’t always prove determinant in an accident claim. An insurance company’s investigation of fault may deviate from the police officer’s findings in its final determination of fault for your claim.
Determination of Fault and Damages
After its own internal investigation, an insurer will determine fault and the damages that it believes a claimant has sustained. If the insurer denies a claim, it won’t attempt to calculate damages, as it won’t make any settlement offers to the claimant. However, if an insurer accepts liability, it will consider the damages sustained and make an offer to the injured claimant. The initial offers made by an insurance company to settle a claim often prove very low and well below the damages needed to cover the full cost of the injuries involved.
If you receive a low settlement offer, you don’t have any obligation to accept it and can seek a lawyer’s assistance at any point to dispute and negotiate monetary damages. However, once you accept an offer made by an insurer, it will close your claim and you will waive your right to pursue additional compensation in the future, even for newly discovered damages or injuries.
Your Options if an Insurer Denies Your Claim
Victims of negligent car accidents may feel caught off guard when an insurer denies their claim, particularly if the injured individual feels sure of who caused the accident. Insurers can deny claims based on a combination of various factors. The reasons for denial may not always appear obvious after a denial. Common reasons for a claim denial include policy coverage limits, fault determinations, errors or omissions in the initial claim, missing records, insufficient evidence, etc.
If you receive a claim denial, you may still have legal options to seek recovery from the insurer. A car insurance claim attorney can review your case and advise you on your legal options and the best course of action to fight the claim denial if possible. While you should ideally seek the assistance of an attorney at the outset of your case, you can seek legal counsel at any point in the insurance claims process, even after you’ve received a claim denial.
A Lawyer Can Represent You Against Any Insurer, Even Your Own
At times, it may become necessary for a car accident victim to file a claim with his or her own insurer. This commonly occurs in no-fault car insurance states, such as Florida, for several reasons. Some car insurance claimants believe that the at-fault insurance company will consider their best interests when negotiating and may mistakenly let down their guard or make mistakes that can lead to a claim denial.
All insurers have the same goal in mind when managing a claim; they want to make certain their company loses out on the least amount of money possible. Even when dealing with your own insurance company, you will endure the same scrutiny and tactics when you file a claim against that insurer as you when filing a claim with another party’s insurance. An insurance claims attorney can help you protect your rights and manage any car accident claim, including one filed against your own insurer.
How an Attorney Can Help You With Your Insurance Claim
An attorney that represents you in an insurance claim will take over all communications related to your case with insurers and other interested parties. You should redirect anyone that attempts to make contact with you through your lawyer’s office to ensure the protection of your rights. The lawyer will manage all parties, requests for information, and other interests that may arise in your case.
Evaluate Your Case
First, an attorney will evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case and the status of your claim. Ideally, your attorney will come into your case shortly after an accident has occurred, but if you’ve already filed your claim, your attorney will then evaluate how far along your claim has proceeded and what you should do to protect your rights moving forward.
With your assistance and cooperation, an attorney will use his or her resources to help you gather evidence to support your claim and the injuries you have sustained. While you may already have some evidence in your possession, you may need to request other evidence from the appropriate parties. Evidence in a car insurance claim can prove relevant to fault, the amount of property damage, and to proving the extent of injuries you have sustained and how those injuries have affected your daily life.
Once an attorney on your behalf has gathered the information and evidence in your case, he or she can estimate damages in consideration of your losses and injuries. Your attorney will take into account all of the impacts and losses you have suffered related to the accident and your injuries in the calculation of your damages. The damage calculation often proves a critical step in the process, as it will help guide you and your attorney as you navigate your injury claim. The monetary representation of your damages will help you better understand your potential compensation and negotiate a settlement offer with an insurer.
Negotiation of Settlement
All offers of settlement made by an insurer will first go through your attorney. Your lawyer will then notify you of any offer and can provide you with guidance and advice on the best options for your interests. You can then, with the help of your attorney, decide whether to accept or deny a settlement offer from an insurance company.
Representation of Your Rights Through Your Claim and Beyond
You may not reach a settlement agreement with the at-fault insurance party before filing a lawsuit. Whether you disagree with the insurance representative as to the fault of an accident or the amount of damages, in certain situations it may prove necessary to file a lawsuit against an insurer in court. If this becomes a necessary step in your case, your attorney will advise you and represent you from the filing of the lawsuit, through a trial, and ultimately, until the court has made a final decision in your case.
If you sustained injuries in an automobile accident and already filed your accident claim, have received a low settlement offer from the insurer or claim denial, contact a Fort Lauderdale car insurance claim attorney for a free evaluation to discuss your claim and how an attorney can help you fight for a positive resolution in your case.
During your initial case evaluation, you can discuss the details of your accident, ask questions about your legal options, and determine your eligibility to pursue compensation for the full cost of your injuries. Don’t hesitate; reach out to an auto accident attorney today to ensure that you have the legal representation you need.