If you are the victim of a personal injury accident in Florida and you believe you are entitled to compensation for your injuries from the other party you may have lots of questions. You may be wondering “ Can I just settle with the insurance company for my Florida accident? ” The simple answer to that question is that there is no law forbidding you from settling directly with the insurance company without first consulting with an attorney; however, there are several reasons why doing so may not be in your best interests.
Whether you were injured in car accident, a slip and fall accident, a motorcycle accident, or even injured as the result of a medical error, within a few days of the accident you will likely receive a phone call from the other party’s insurance adjuster if they were covered by liability insurance at the time of the accident. People often take these calls under the mistaken impression that they have nothing to lose by speaking to the adjuster and listening to a potential offer to settle. Before you make this common mistake, consider the following reasons why dealing directly with the insurance company may not be wise:
- Remember for whom the adjuster works. The adjuster who contacts you will likely start by saying something along the lines of “I am just calling to see if you are o.k. and to see if we can settle this claim quickly for you.” Don’t be fooled into thinking the adjuster has your best interests at heart because he/she works for the company that insures the other party. The adjuster’s primary goal is to save the company money.
- You may harm your case by saying too much. Calls from an adjuster are almost always recorded. During your “chat” you may inadvertently say something that will increase your fault in the accident, thereby reducing the compensation to which you are entitled.
- The Florida “no-fault” law may not apply to your case. Although Florida is a no-fault insurance state not all accidents/injuries are required to be handled using the no-fault laws. If the no-fault laws do not apply to your accident/injuries you are likely entitled to additional compensation, something an adjuster is not going to mention to you.
- Determining negligence is complicated. Unless the other party is taking full responsibility for the accident, and the insurance company accepts that position, negligence will have to be determined. Often, both parties share some responsibility in the accident. Apportioning fault in a case where more than one party is at fault is difficult and often requires an in-depth knowledge of the law as well as expert opinions in many cases.
- You may settle for too little. Victims routinely settle for far less than what the case is really worth when they deal directly with an insurance adjuster instead of hiring an attorney. Yes, an attorney will charge a fee for representing you; however, if you ultimately recover considerably more because of that representation you end up coming out ahead.
If you been injured in a personal injury in the State of Florida it is in your best interest to at least consult with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney before considering a settlement offered by the insurance company. Contact the accident team at Powers Sellers & Finkelstein PLC by calling 727-531-2926 today to schedule your appointment.