Determining Fault in a Florida Auto Accident Claim

Fifteen million drivers blanket the numerous interstates, highways and byways of Florida. Every year 250,000 of these drivers will be involved in a crash. Accidents take place every day, but would you know what to do if you’re involved in one of these mishaps? Continue reading for a brief outline of Florida auto accident law.

When an automobile accident occurs, Florida law requires that individuals stop at the sight of the accident and seek assistance for all who are injured. If the mishap involved any injuries or $500 or more in damages those involved must report the incident to the local police, sheriff or the Florida Highway Patrol. If the car is blocking traffic it must be moved. A tow truck should be called if you cannot move the car yourself. There are additional steps you may take to ensure the safety of yourself and others. These steps include exchanging information with other drivers involved in the accident, talking to witnesses and taking pictures. The information gathered at the scene of the accident may prove useful later.

Automobile accidents occur when a driver is legally negligent. Negligence is defined as when a person is responsible for acting with reasonable care and does not do so, therefore causing harm to another person. The law requires that the negligent person pay for the damage they cause to another individual in relation to their accountability for the other person’s losses. Florida uses a comparative negligence system to factor the total liability in negligence situations. This means every person who is found to be responsible for the accident or injury must pay for their share of the damages. This includes expenditures from injuries and property damage that occurred as a result of the accident.

Everyone who registers a vehicle in Florida is required to have automobile insurance with a minimum of $10,000 personal injury protection and $10,000 property damage liability. If you are engaged in an accident you will likely be working with an insurance company. Therefore it is in your best interest to take the following steps:

• It is legally required that you contact the authorities. Make sure an accident report is filed that states who is at fault.

• Record the date of the accident, the police agency that lead the investigation and the make, model, tag number and vehicle identification number of all cars involved.

• Write down the insurance information of all drivers involved and immediately contact your insurance provider.

• If your car withstood damage take it to a trustworthy auto body shop for assessment and repairs.

• If you received injuries visit a physician. If your injuries require immediate care go directly to your local emergency room.

• Collect all of your relevant medical history. This may be required by your doctor, insurer or attorney.

Once you have submitted your insurance claim, a claims adjuster will decide who was at fault in the accident. Depending on the situation, determining fault may be simple and straightforward or it may be more complex. Whoever determines fault, whether it be a claims adjuster or a judge, will use the evidence gathered at the accident to make their decision. This is when the evidence you collected at the scene becomes important. Witness statements, police reports, medical records and photographs will all be taken into consideration. Once all evidence has been reviewed, the claims adjuster will either deny a claim or propose a settlement. This settlement is determined by the insurance policy and the fault of all parties involved.


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