After being involved in a car accident in Pompano Beach, Florida, you might not know what to do in terms of who to speak with first. Regarding Florida’s car accident laws, you should know that automatically filing a lawsuit isn’t likely possible, but how do you speak to your insurance company to reach a fair settlement?
It can be very intimidating speaking to your insurance adjuster after an accident, but there is a way to decrease the intimidation. Before you speak to your adjuster, you should speak with a Pompano Beach Car Accident Lawyer, especially if your adjuster approaches you about your injuries.
Why Go to Your Insurance First in Florida After Car Accidents
Florida is one of 18 states that operates with a modified-comparative fault system, which means both parties involved in an accident are responsible for sharing the blame. However, that blame is not automatically equally shared.
This system was put in place to reduce the number of lawsuits that have been filed. Residents of Florida can still file a lawsuit if their case meets certain requirements, but for standard car accident cases in Pompano Beach, Florida, they are required to go to their insurance adjuster first.
Because of the modified-comparative fault system in place, Florida has made it a requirement for residents to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and another $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL).
Residents should know that even though they’re supposed to consult with their insurance adjuster before filing a lawsuit, that doesn’t always mean this is the first step they should take. The process of going to your insurance adjuster and having them investigate your claim can be detrimental if you unintentionally say or do something that can be misconstrued against you. That’s why you should consult with a Pompano Beach Car Accident Lawyer first, so you can have legal advice present and not jeopardize your settlement.
You should note that just because the requirement is to carry at least $10,000 in PIP and PDL, it does not ensure you will receive the whole amount when you file a claim. However, to seek the full amount that you need for compensation, it’s beneficial to have a lawyer with the necessary skills on your side to negotiate for you.
How The Insurance Investigation Works
When you file a claim with your insurance adjuster, they will begin a series of investigations that will investigate your injuries and car damage to determine how much you should be awarded in compensation.
If you have suffered severe injuries in the accident, your PIP insurance adjuster will ask questions about the extent of your injuries and confirm they were obtained from the wreck. This means you could potentially have your medical records reviewed or be asked to seek medical treatment again for the purpose of your claim.
How in-depth the insurance adjuster decides to go with your claim depends on the amount of losses you’re filing for. Some items the insurance adjuster may want to review can include:
- Your police report
- Medical records
- Witness statements
- Photos from the accident
Other items the adjuster may want to review that you will want to have a lawyer present for can be:
- Your cellphone records
- Your social media platforms
They may want to review these items if they suspect any fraudulent behavior or if they want to ensure that everything you say is truthful. If you believe that some of the items your insurance adjuster wants to review are too personal or unnecessary, that’s when it can help to have a lawyer present, especially if they approach you about your injuries.
It’s important to note that you are not obligated to provide any of the requested items to your adjuster if they ask for them.
Things Not to Say to Your Insurance Company
Firstly, before you pick up the phone to call your adjuster, you should know exactly what to say around them. If you’re not careful, inadvertent words or phrases can result in a lower settlement than you deserve. Your insurance adjuster will jump at any chance they can to save money for the company, so you should note which things not to say in the presence of your adjuster.
Here are words and phrases you should avoid when seeking a settlement:
This may seem obvious, but some people may not be aware of what it can do for their claim if they admit to any fault of the accident, big or small. Admitting that you had anything to do with the car accident or “I think” statements can be used against you later on. Even though you’re likely not being intentional with admitting fault, especially if the accident was a pure accident, it’s still never a good idea to personally admit to anything.
Saying That You’re Okay
Some people may not like the weak and vulnerable state car accidents put them in after sustaining an injury. While this is understandable, you should never say the words “I’m fine” or “I’m okay” in the presence of your adjuster. If your goal is to seek extra compensation to help cover hospital bills, this will certainly prevent that from happening since you will be telling your adjuster everything is okay.
If you are speaking to your insurance adjuster without the help of an attorney, it’s crucial that you watch your words carefully. Never offer any information that was not specifically asked of you, as this can be used against you later as well.
Speak To a Trusted Attorney Before Your Insurance
While you may think speaking to your adjuster and filing a claim is no big deal, it can be detrimental for your car accident settlement if you are not careful with a few things you say and do throughout the investigation process. Unlike lawyers, insurance adjusters are constantly looking for evidence or things to reduce or deny your settlement. Before you accidentally say something to hurt your claim, it’s crucial to seek the help of a lawyer.
The team at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers are experts when it comes to assisting residents of Pompano Beach, Florida, speak to insurance adjusters after a car accident (by appointment). With over 40 years in practice, we have come to know how their side thinks and operates and mistakes you unknowingly might make that can hurt your claim in the long run.
If you need to seek extra compensation through an insurance claim, we can help. Our firm wants to help match you with the best Pompano Beach Car Accident Lawyer to advocate on your behalf for your car accident claim.
In order to match you with the right attorney, we will need to schedule a free initial consultation. Our consultation will include you coming into our office at a time that’s convenient for you to speak with a lawyer about your claim in greater detail.
You can schedule an appointment by calling our firm at (561) 800-8000 or filling out our online form on our website.
Don’t wait any longer to seek the compensation that you need. Contact our firm today.