Auto Accident Insurance and Legal Information
Types of Insurance Coverage
Florida is a No-Fault state, which basically means that your insurance company pays for your medical bills regardless of fault. The no-fault law also limits your ability to sue the other driver for your injuries sustained in the accident. The types of coverage most often found on your auto policy are as follows:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Required coverage minimum is $10,000. This is your no-fault coverage and is required of all owners of motor vehicles registered in Florida. The basic coverage pays 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages, regardless of fault.
- Property Damage (PD): Required coverage minimum is $10,000. This covers damage you cause with your automobile to someone else’s property.
These are the only two required insurance coverages in the State of Florida for automobiles. However, most people mistake this for “full coverage.” It is a misnomer. Below are brief descriptions of optional coverages available. Your insurance policy will define what is covered.
- Bodily Injury Liability (BI): Optional. This coverage will pay damages to others for bodily injury caused by you for which you become legally responsible as a result of an auto accident.
- Uninsured/Under-insured Motorist (UM): Optional. This coverage will pay you for bodily injury you sustain and are legally entitled to recover from the owner and/or operator of an “uninsured motor vehicle.” This coverage also includes under-insured coverage for instances where the BI coverage is insufficient to fully compensate you for injuries.
- Collision: Optional. This coverage will pay for damage to your car resulting from a collision with another object.
- Comprehensive: Optional. This coverage will protect your automobile for losses other than a collision, e.g. theft, fire, water, flood, vandalism.
Use of Seatbelts
State law requires the use of available seatbelts for the operator of an automobile. In addition, any passenger under the age of 16 must also use a seatbelt or child safety seat as applicable.
At the Scene of an Accident
- Stop — State law requires that when the driver of a vehicle is involved in an accident, wherein a person is injured or property damage is done, that person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident, or as close to the scene as possible without obstructing traffic more than is necessary
- Assist The Injured — After stopping your car check for injured persons. If someone is injured or complains of injury, call 911 immediately. State law requires you to render reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person. Do not move the injured person unless you know what you are doing. Good intentions on your part may result in further injury to the victim.
- Protect The Scene — Take all possible precautions to prevent further accidents or injuries. Put on your hazard lights to warn approaching traffic and, if available, deploy flares or reflectors. If no flares or reflectors are available use a flashlight.
- Call The Police — In every instance you should call a police agency even when it appears there is no injury or little property damage. The official police report may greatly assist you later should a dispute arise.
- Identify The Other Driver — Obtain the other driver’s name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle he is driving, and request that he exhibit to you his driver’s license. If the other driver shows signs of intoxication, you may request that the police test the driver’s sobriety.
- Comments — Cooperate with the police and emergency personal. You must give, upon request, your driver’s license or permit and insurance information to any police officer or investigator at the scene of the accident. Only speak to the investigating officer about the facts of the accident and to medical providers about injuries sustained. Make no other statements to anyone else. Write down any statements you hear made by the other driver or passenger(s).
- Witnesses – Obtain the name, address and phone number of all witnesses as soon as you can–both eyewitnesses and all others who might have some information about surrounding circumstances of the accident.
- Fill Out Accident Information Form And Diagram — If circumstances permit, make your own written notes on all significant circumstances concerning the accident. Show position of cars before and after the accident. If there are skid marks, note them along with the estimate of their length.
- When To Leave The Scene — Cooperate with the police and emergency medical personal; go to the hospital if it is recommended. Unless your injuries require you to do otherwise, do not leave the scene of the accident until you have assisted the injured, protected the scene, called an officer and assisted him, identified the other driver, obtained witnesses information and filled out the Accident Information Form and Diagram at the end of this pamphlet.
- Seek Medical Care Immediately — If you are injured, seek medical care right away; do not wait. Some injuries may not appear until several hours after the initial trauma. If this is the case, seek medical care at once and follow the doctor’s advice.
- Inform Insurance Company — Make a complete report to your insurance company. Failure to make a prompt and correct report may affect your rights.
- Recorded Statements And Releases — Do not give a recorded statement to the adverse insurance company or to the other driver. Do not sign any type of Release from the adverse insurance company without first having the document reviewed by an attorney.
- Photographs — Take photographs of the damage to your car and if possible, damage done to the other car. If you have visible injuries such as cuts, swelling, burn marks, etc., take photographs as soon as practicable.
- Call Your Lawyer — The insurance company will not protect your rights. Set an appointment with a qualified civil trial attorney to learn about your rights.
We are ready to answer any questions you may have about auto accidents, please give our Clearwater chiropractic office a call for more information.