What Should I Expect When Filing an Accident Claim in Tampa?
Some things you can expect when filing an accident claim in Tampa include:
- You need to prove who caused the accident and that negligence occurred.
- You should know the value of your damages.
- You should know tactics insurance companies may use against you.
You can hire a car accident attorney to represent and manage your case for you. They can also communicate with insurance adjusters and monitor their response times so that your case can move forward.
How Do I Prove the Other Driver’s Negligence Caused the Car Accident?
A major aspect of building your accident claim will involve gathering evidence that proves negligence occurred. In short, you must prove these four elements:
- The defendant had a “duty of care” to follow traffic laws.
- The defendant breached this duty through their actions or inactions.
- Because of the defendant’s breach, they caused the accident.
- You suffered damages in the accident.
You must be able to prove that the other driver’s negligence led to your injuries to collect compensation for your damages. Keep in mind that Florida is a no-fault state, so you would also be filing an accident claim with your auto insurance instead of the at-fault party’s insurer. Your insurer will determine how much compensation to provide based on your evidence.
What Kind of Evidence Is Necessary for an Accident Claim in Florida?
The evidence you need will vary based on what you need to prove. Some common examples of evidence include:
- A copy of the crash report
- Your medical records
- Eyewitness testimony
- Photos and video footage of the accident
- Expert witness testimony
Your attorney can help you gather this information when investigating your case.
Should I Provide a Statement to the Insurance Company?
When you report an accident to your insurer, you can expect an insurance representative to call and ask for a statement. They might ask questions like:
- Who was involved in the accident?
- What factors caused the accident?
- Were you injured in the accident?
- What were you doing at the time of the accident, and how did you respond?
- Did you call law enforcement after the accident occurred?
On a surface level, the representative might seem like a neutral party, or they might even be friendly and seem empathetic toward your situation. However, you may be vulnerable to interpretation when you provide a statement.
To avoid this, you can refer the insurance representative to your car accident lawyer, who can make an official statement on your behalf.
Once the insurance company processes your claim and determines whether you may qualify for compensation, they might offer the minimum amount in your policy to settle.
You may want to refrain from accepting the first offer, even if it seems like the amount will be “enough” to cover your damages—for now. You could be entitled to collect more compensation than the minimum based on the terms of your policy, which your attorney can review for you. Your lawyer can also calculate your damages to compare the insurer’s offer with this total.
In a car accident case, you may qualify to recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including costs for future treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages, including expected lost wages
- Reduced earning potential
- Mental anguish
- Diminished quality of life
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Property damage
In cases where a victim did not survive, surviving family members may qualify for wrongful death damages, including costs for funeral arrangements, loss of consortium, and other emotional losses.
Some Insurance Companies Use Tactics to Stall Victims From Filing Lawsuits
Insurance companies often attempt to prolong the claims process by:
- Delaying response times
- Denying claims due to lack of evidence or other technical errors
- Notifying claimants about additional information needed each time the claim gets reviewed
These tactics are an effort to keep claimants from timely submitting a lawsuit to pursue compensation.
In Florida, there are two statutes of limitations that apply to accident cases:
- Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a) sets a four-year window period for personal injury cases, starting on the date of the accident.
- Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d) sets a two-year window period for wrongful death cases, starting on the date of the victim’s death.
If you fail to submit your lawsuit within these timeframes, you may be barred from pursuing compensation through court. This would absolve the defendant from liability and lower your ability to negotiate a settlement deal through the claims process.
Contact Our Office Today to Learn More About Accident Claims in Tampa
If you or a loved one was injured in a vehicle accident in Tampa, Florida, and now would like to file a claim, Distasio Law Firm can help you fight for compensation. During your consultation, we can explain what you should expect after filing an accident claim, including whether you should consider filing a lawsuit, too.
Call (813) 259-0022 today to get a free case review. When you work with an attorney at Distasio Law Firm, you get the Distasio Personal Touch, so you know your case is in good hands.