If you should become injured in an accident, you might need to understand how to negotiate a settlement in a personal injury claim. This might also be the case if an employee is injured in an accident while driving for you. Read on to find out more.
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. No-fault means that regardless of who caused the accident, each driver’s own insurance company will cover medical bills up to $10K. In other words, each driver’s own auto insurance pays these bills through PIP benefits.
For property damage, a driver can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Property damage, of course, refers to the repairs or replacement of your vehicle.
Once you have determined all of your economic and non-economic damages, you can then pursue a settlement. In a settlement, an injured person agrees to a payment or settlement amount from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Also, the injured person agrees to not bring further legal action against the at-fault party in connection with the accident.
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Determine Your Damages
Examples of economic damages are injuries, medical bills, and lost wages. Common non-economic damages include pain and suffering.
For example, if you have missed time from work as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident, you will need to have medical documentation as evidence that you were placed on off-work status. In addition, you will need your employer to produce a letter that states the time you missed from work, the amount you are normally paid, and the date you returned to work.
If you are self-employed you will need to produce tax returns for up to three years prior to the accident.
Once you have completed all medical treatment you should begin to assess your economic and non-economic damages so you can determine damages for your settlement demand.
Gather All Supporting Documents
The initial offer made by the insurance company is commonly their starting point and not their final offer. For this reason, the starting point almost always tends to be a low offer.
However, how low the offer is will depend on the evidence you provide the insurance company. Documents that are helpful in pleading your case are the police report, witness statements, pictures of the damage to the vehicles, and pictures of your injuries.
In addition, you should include all medical records and medical bills related to your car accident injuries. Also, if your car accident injuries have re-injured a prior injury, you will need to obtain prior medical records and supply those as well.
Create a Convincing Demand Letter for Your Settlement
Once you have gathered all of the necessary supporting documents, write a demand letter for your settlement. Demand letters prepared by Florida car accident attorneys are thorough summaries of the events surrounding the car accident. They also contain a descriptive explanation of the injuries their client sustained which necessitated medical treatment.
Above all, demand letters should depict the injured party in the most favorable light. They should also outline the at-fault driver’s negligence as the sole proximate cause for the collision.
In addition, the demand letter for your settlement must explain the economic and non-economic damages you suffered. It should also include all supporting documents, including a copy of the police report, pictures of the property damage, pictures of the bodily injuries, lost wages documentation, medical records, medical bills pertaining to the accident, witness statements, and an impact statement from the injured party.
The impact statement should summarize how your life has been adversely affected by the injuries you sustained in the accident.
A Final Word
The State of Florida prohibits insurance companies from engaging in unfair or deceptive practices. These include failing to pay valid claims and improperly investigating a claim. However, insurance companies are businesses. As such, it is their job to minimize risks and costs, not to give you the compensation you deserve.
So do not settle the claim until you are satisfied with the settlement offer. Be certain that it covers your damages, including future medical treatment (if applicable). For more information, call Friedland & Associates: Personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.