Being involved in a Florida auto accident that involves personal injury or property damage can be a stressful and scary situation. It is important that if you are involved in an accident you remain calm and make wise decisions.
Right after an accident occurs, your first concern should be exiting the vehicle and ensuring you and all your passengers get to a safe location. Once everyone is safe, you can begin taking steps to protect your right to property damage compensation.
If possible, take photos of the accident scene, including how the vehicles were impacted, and the damage to your car. If the other vehicle involved was damaged, too, and you can get photos, this is recommended. The more documentation of property damage you have showing what happened, the better off your situation will be.
You also need to get in touch with your insurance company to let them know about the accident. At this point, you do not have to call the other party’s insurance company. Instead, let your insurance company know what is going on. By doing this, your insurer can take the reins and begin talking with the other insurance company to decide compensation and payment.
The law enforcement officers at the scene of a Florida car accident will provide exchange of information forms for everyone involved. Be sure to fill this out and give the documents to your insurer, which is something the other party must do, as well.
If your vehicle is seriously damaged and requires repairs, you may need a rental car. You can check your policy to see if this is covered.
However, before turning to your own insurer, find out if the insurance company for the liable party will cover this expense. In many situations, if the other part is cited by law enforcement as liable for the accident or if they have admitted liability, their insurance will cover the cost of a rental car.
In the state of Florida, you have the right to choose the body shop you would like to use for vehicle repairs. Keep in mind that the insurance companies may try to steer you to a specific shop or preferred vendor; however, it is entirely your decision. You can go with their recommendation or choose a different service provider.
The same applies to who tows your vehicle. You can call the tow service you want to use and have your car towed to the desired repair shop. However, if you are injured or unable to handle this on your own, the officers at the scene will call a tow service on your behalf. You can still dictate where you would like your vehicle taken.
Along with covering your rental car and the cost of repairs for your vehicle, you may be entitled to another type of compensation, which is called diminished value.
A diminished value claim is used in situations where your repaired vehicle would not be worth as much as it was before the accident. For example, if you have just purchased a new Corvette and are in an accident where serious damage occurs, after repairs, the vehicle will have a diminished value. You can receive compensation for the value lost because of the accident.
If your vehicle is considered a total loss – or totaled – you may encounter a value dispute with the insurance company. If the insurance company does not agree with the amount specified for your vehicle, you may require the help of an attorney. The attorney can help ensure you get the compensation deserved.