The Role of Insurance Companies in a Car Accident

car accident where sedan has rear ended another car

We all know the story: you cannot register your car in Florida without a minimum amount of car insurance, so you enter into a contract with an insurance company of your choosing. They set you up with monthly payments and it is usually just something you never think about. But if you are involved in a car accident, they will suddenly be at the top of your mind. So you may find yourself wondering, what is the role of insurance companies in a car accident? Read on for more information and call Carey Leisure Carney today for a free consult!

How Soon Do I Have to Report an Accident?

After a car accident, you will have a lot on your mind. How do I get around? How do I have my car repaired? Often the last thing people think about is when to report an accident to their insurance company. However, you should try to make this a priority in order to protect your claim for recovery. Some car insurance companies set specific deadlines for their insureds to report an accident, such as 24 hours after you have been involved in an accident. This is not a deadline for filing an injury or property damage claim, but you will want to follow the terms of your contract with the insurance company in order to start the claims process in good faith.

Every insurance company sets their own internal deadlines on the amount of time you will have to file a claim for damages after an accident. To ensure you are complying with the terms of the contract, you should read through your insurance policy to make sure you know how much time you have to make a claim. Regardless of how much time your policy gives you, it is better to file a claim as soon as possible so you can get the process started quickly. If you wait too long after an accident to file a claim, this makes it easier for the insurance company to claim that you did not sustain your injuries or property damage from that accident. Don’t give your insurance company any room to make your claims process more difficult. Acting right away will protect your claim for damages after a car accident.

Are There Any Deadlines I Should Be Aware of After a Car Accident in Florida?

There are a couple deadlines you will want to be aware of when filing a claim for compensation after an accident. You may have heard of the 14-day rule before. This rule relates to your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy. PIP coverage is the mandatory no-fault coverage that Florida law requires in order to register your car. This coverage allows a driver to file a claim with their own insurance company for compensation for injuries sustained in an accident, regardless of who was found at fault for the accident.

In order to file a PIP insurance claim, you must seek medical attention within 14 days of your accident. If you fail to do so, your PIP insurance provider will likely deny your claim, meaning that you will miss out on this benefit covering a portion of your medical expenses or lost wages after an accident. Although this 14-day rule was established to prevent insurance fraud, it has also had the consequence of preventing accident victims from getting the compensation they need after an accident. To be sure this does not happen to you, and to make sure you are getting the medical attention you need, be sure to seek treatment as soon as possible after your accident.

Another deadline to be aware of is the statute of limitations for making a legal claim. In March of 2023, the Florida legislature signed HB 837, the Tort Reform Act, into law, which changed the statute of limitations for an action in negligence from four years to two years. This

means that you have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. If you miss this deadline, you will not be able to recover compensation for your injuries and property damage against the at-fault party. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in Florida also is two years, so be aware that if you lost a loved one due to the negligence of a careless driver, you will only have two years within which to file a claim for damages.

How Insurance Companies Operate When You Have Been in an Accident

Insurance companies provide you, as their insured, with coverage against certain risks to your vehicle, including a car accident, in exchange for your monthly premium. It is important to remember, however, that they are running a business, so they want to minimize their losses while maximizing their profits. That being said, be careful about how you communicate with your insurance company after reporting an accident. Sharing too much information or saying anything about your injuries without sticking to the facts may affect your ability to recover the compensation you deserve.

The Role of Your Insurance Adjuster After an Accident

Once you have reported your accident to your insurance company, an adjuster will be assigned to your file to begin the claims process. The adjuster assigned to your claim will begin by asking for the basic information related to your accident, including details about property damage to your vehicle, whether you were taken from the scene of the accident to the hospital in an ambulance, etc. They will also inspect you vehicle to assess property damage to evaluate how much their company should pay.

While the adjuster on your case may be friendly and seem helpful in trying to resolve your claim, remember that it is their job to minimize your claim. They will look at all circumstances surrounding your accident and try to justify offering a lower settlement or find a reason to deny liability for your claim. Therefore, it is essential to be very careful about what you say to the adjuster, because anything you say to them may be used against you during the claims process. Some insurance companies are notorious for being aggressive about contacting accident victims and trying to secure premature settlements. Do not hurt your chances to maximize your potential claim. If an insurance company is aggressively contacting you regarding your recent accident, it may be time to seek the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney.

How Carey Leisure Carney Can Help

At Carey Leisure Carney, our attorneys have been representing car accident victims for over 40 years. We understand that after being involved in an accident, you have been through a lot and have enough to deal with getting your vehicle repaired and getting in to see the doctor. Our team has the knowledge and experience to advocate on your behalf in making a claim for personal injury damages, and we know how insurance companies work and the tricks they employ. If you have recently been involved in an accident and were not at fault, contact Carey Leisure Carney for a free consult today. We can communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf so you can focus on getting well.