Car accidents happen every day in Florida. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports that there were 403,626 confirmed crashes in 2018 alone. If you are involved in a severe crash, fault could affect your ability to recover total financial compensation for your injuries.
You need to take immediate action if you were unfairly assigned blame for a collision. For example, the insurance company may try to blame you for your accident. Our car accident lawyers highlight the steps you need to take to dispute fault in a crash.
Florida Is a No-Fault State
Even though Florida is a no-fault state, certain exceptions are available that allow car accident victims to file a claim. By filing a claim, you hold the negligent party at fault for what happened to you. As a result, they will have to pay you financial compensation.
If you meet a certain threshold for your injuries and damages, Florida law allows you to file a third-party claim. In doing so, you will have to deal with the insurance company. Insurance companies are businesses that always seek to protect themselves. If they can, they would happily pay you way less than what you truly deserve.
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Insurance Companies May Blame You
Regardless of whether you file a claim against your own insurance company or the at-fault driver’s, expect significant resistance. Just because the law entitles you to file a claim doesn’t mean it will always end up in your favor. For example, plenty of car accident victims end up settling for less simply because the insurance company blamed them for their accident.
Insurance companies love to downplay your injuries and assume you’re exaggerating the damages you sustained. Even with substantial proof, they can still intentionally take a long time to assess your claim, making you more desperate for money. Eventually, they will whittle you down into accepting their lowball offer.
Four Steps to Dispute Fault for Car Accidents in Florida
To dispute fault, you need to take four critical steps. These steps will ensure that you can prove your innocence while holding the negligent party responsible for your accident liable for your injuries and damages.
Gather and Organize All Evidence
To dispute fault effectively, you will need evidence. The more evidence you have, the easier it will be to challenge an insurance company’s inaccurate initial decision. Relevant evidence comes in a wide range of different forms, including:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Your own testimony
An experienced car accident lawyer will help you investigate the crash, track down evidence, and assemble all the information you have to make a compelling legal case.
Notify the Insurer in Writing
Insurance companies do not get to make the final decision on who was at fault for a crash. Not only are they self-interested parties, but they make mistakes. You have the right to challenge their findings.
If you are disputing fault, you must notify all insurance companies in writing. It is essential to get your challenge down in writing so that it gets properly recorded. In addition, make sure that every insurance company that is involved in the claims process is aware that you are disputing fault.
Contest Any Ticket or Inaccuracies in the Police Report
In many cases, insurance companies assign fault based on either traffic citations or police officer observations in a police report.
If you were issued an unfair ticket or the responding officer wrote something unfavorable about you in the accident report, you must challenge that error. Fight any traffic ticket and take proactive steps to dispute the observation in the police report.
Get Help From a Florida Auto Accident Attorney
Once you have taken the initial steps of organizing the evidence you have, notifying the insurer(s), and disputing any traffic tickets, you should consult with an experienced Florida car accident attorney. What exactly you will need to do next depends on the specific circumstances.
Some insurers conduct a re-investigation or re-evaluation after receiving notification that fault is in dispute. As a result, they may revise their opinion. In other cases, the insurer will immediately start preparing a defense. Your lawyer will help you build a well-supported case and take all necessary steps to help you get justice and compensation.
Get Support at No Risk to You
Even though you can file your claim on your own, we recommend that you at least reach out to our car accident lawyers first. We can help you fight against the insurance companies by evening the playing field. Unfortunately, insurance companies have large amounts of resources that can make it extremely difficult to fight against them alone.
We never accept any payment upfront for our services. Instead, our firm operates on a contingency fee basis which means that you only pay us if we can recover a settlement for you. With excellent client testimonials, years of experience, and many successful cases under our belt, we will help you get the compensation you need.
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At Eltringham Law Group, our Florida car accident lawyers are trustworthy, experienced advocates for victims and their families. If you have questions about disputing fault after a traffic collision, we can help.
Contact our team for a free, no-commitment review of your car accident case. With a legal office in Boca Raton, we serve communities throughout South Florida, including Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and Hendry County.