How Do I File a Claim After a Car Accident in Florida or Georgia?
It’s a fact that you’re at risk of a car accident while driving in the Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia areas. While no one gets into their car expecting to be in an accident that day, collisions can and do happen. The odds are higher in densely populated areas like Jacksonville, FL, as opposed to a Brunswick or Kingsland, GA, but accidents still happen all the time, even in places like St. Marys. Camden County in Southeast Georgia reported 202 crashes, including 10 fatalities in 2017 while Nassau County in Northeast Florida had 1,133 reported crashes and 17 fatalities. Many accident victims are uncertain about what to do or how to file a claim after a car accident in Florida. Of course, your first step should be to contact an accident attorney like Barnes & Cohen, P.A. for legal representation, as soon as possible. But here is more important information you should know about filing a claim after a car accident in Florida or Georgia.
What Damages Can I Claim After a Car Accident?
Florida and Georgia have different laws regarding the type of damages you can claim following an auto accident. Georgia’s car accident laws are known as a modified comparative negligence state while Florida is a no-fault state. Following is a look at the damages you can claim in each state:
- Florida — Florida’s insurance laws require drivers to carry what’s known as personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that covers medical expenses, lost wages, and some incidentals, up to the limits stated in the policy. That is, each driver has an insurance policy that covers those expenses, as opposed to making a claim on the other driver’s policy. PIP insurance technically precludes a driver from claiming for specific damages, but state law still allows a lawsuit to be filed in the event the limits in the PIP coverage – usually $10,000.00 – are not sufficient. Since those limits are exceeded in almost every serious injury case, PIP coverage will not prevent full recovery. PIP coverage is not offered for motorcycles and some special purpose vehicles.
- Georgia — Georgia’s comparative negligence laws apportion responsibility to each party involved in an accident. If an auto accident victim in Georgia is found more than 50% at fault – for example, 51% – that driver is barred from making any claim against the other driver. There is no PIP coverage required for Georgia residents, but Georgia drivers can purchase coverage for medical expenses resulting from auto accidents on a voluntary basis.
How To File a Claim After a Car Accident?
- Filing an insurance claimThe process to file a claim in Georgia or Florida is the same in either state. You collect your evidence and submit it to the insurance company for review. You’ll need an accident report, if you have one, photographs, personal information of the people who were involved in the collision, and information about the vehicles involved. If you don’t have all of the information available at the time you file you claim with your insurer, you can provide it at a later date if the insurer is still in need.Never submit your original information to the insurer unless you have plenty of copies. If your insurer doesn’t require the original, send a copy and preserve the originals in your own files. You may never need to show the original paperwork, but you may need to make more copies as time goes on.
- Filing a lawsuit after an accidentIf you find that you’re running into trouble with the insurance company after an accident, contact us at Barnes & Cohen, P.A. for help. The process of negotiating with all of the parties involved in settling a car accident claim is best handled by our law firm. We’re here to work on your behalf and take care of the issues while you heal and recover.
How Long After Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?
After a car accident, you have a specific amount of time allotted by law to file the claim in court, known as the statute of limitations. The statutes are different in Florida and Georgia. As far as your insurance company goes, they want to know about the accident as soon as you’re able to contact them. This doesn’t have to follow the limit of statute of limitations.
- Florida — Folks can be denied PIP medical insurance coverage if the injured party isn’t seen and treated by a licensed doctor or medical professional within two weeks (14 days) from the injury event. There are extenuating circumstances that can extend the length of time allotted for filing a claim that include an inability to find the person who caused the accident, catastrophic injuries that require lengthy healing time, injuries that don’t show up immediately after the accident, and minors under the age of 18.
- Georgia — Most Georgia insurance policies require prompt notice of a claim and in some cases, insurance coverage can be denied if the insurance provider isn’t notified in writing of the accident within 30 days! Minors under the age of 18 involved in an accident can file a claim at any time before they reach the age of 20.
How long does it take to settle an accident claim?
The amount of time it takes to settle an accident claim depends on the details of the situation. If you have minor injuries and an older vehicle, your claim may be settled quickly. In the event you sustained major injuries, suffered a loss of income or experienced a permanent change in your body that has affected your ability to work and function, it normally will and should take longer to settle the claim. Major claims take time to litigate. Insurance companies need to know that your lawyer will not accept a quick, discounted settlement, but will aggressively prepare your case for jury trial. Only when insurance companies are convinced that you and your attorney will accept nothing less than full compensation, will they pay the damages you deserve.
If you’ve been in a car accident, we encourage you to contact Barnes and Cohen, P.A. We handle hundreds of accidents every year throughout Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia including Jacksonville, Kingsland, St. Marys, Brunswick, and Savannah. Don’t be another statistic; take control of your recovery rights with proactive auto accident representation from Barnes & Cohen. Contact us for a free consultation, today.