You are driving along and suddenly, another driver slams their car into yours. You know immediately that you have been injured because of the pain you feel and you seek medical attention as soon as possible. As you are sitting in the emergency room thinking about the cost of treating your injuries, it may cross your mind that you want to “take that driver to court.”
Florida has specific laws regarding auto insurance that require each driver to have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This coverage is meant to provide payments for medical bills and other injury-related expenses whether or not another person caused your accident. While you may want to go after the other driver and hold them accountable, many cases are resolved through your own insurer.
Even though you may believe you can handle an insurance claim with your own policy, it is important to consult with a car accident attorney for help throughout the claim process. Too many PIP insurers offer settlements that are highly inadequate to cover your losses. Many injured people accept low offers because they may not realize the true value of their claim or they may not know that they have the option to negotiate. An attorney can ensure that you do not accept an offer that is too low and, therefore, give up your right to any future compensation.
The Litigation Process
If your injuries are serious enough, a PIP claim will likely not cover your losses and the law may allow you to pursue compensation directly from the other driver by filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. However, just because you file a lawsuit does not mean your case will make it to trial in court. Instead, a skilled car accident attorney can engage in settlement negotiations with the other driver and their insurer to reach a favorable agreement without the need for a trial.
Settlement negotiations can continue throughout the entire litigation process and you can use evidence gathered to prove that you have a strong case and persuade the other party to make a suitable offer. Obtaining a settlement offer can save you the time, stress, and cost that trial may require. However, if the other party refuses to make an adequate offer, you need an attorney who is not hesitant to take your case all the way into the courtroom.
At the law firm of Berkowitz & Myer, we know how to skillfully handle insurance claims and all stages of personal injury litigation – including settlement negotiations and trial if needed. To learn more about how we can help you, please call a car accident lawyer in St. Petersburg at 727-344-0123 for a free consultation.