How Insurance Companies Devalue or Deny Valid Car Accident ClaimsRequest Free Consultation
Filing an insurance claim after a car accident in Florida is no guarantee that you will recover financial compensation for your crash. Car insurance companies are notorious for making it difficult for claimants to get paid – often through tactics such as denying valid claims and raising defenses to liability. Familiarizing yourself with common defenses can help you combat them during your car accident claim.
Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that unless your injuries meet the tort threshold, you must seek benefits from your own car insurance provider whether or not you caused the car accident. Every motor vehicle driver in Florida is exempt from tort liability damages unless the victim suffers significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function, permanent injury, permanent scarring or disfigurement, or death.
If you have the right to hold another driver or third party responsible for your car accident, you or your lawyer will need to prove liability. The other party’s insurance company may try to avoid or diminish liability by denying that its policyholder was at fault for your crash. It may pin the blame on someone else, such as a different driver or an auto part manufacturer. It may also try to argue that you caused or contributed to the car accident.
The comparative negligence or contributory fault defense argues that the person filing the injury claim shares the blame for the auto accident. Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that if you are found to have contributed to the accident, your amount of responsibility will not bar you from recovering financial compensation. However, it will reduce the amount of compensation available by an equivalent percentage. The “pure” part of Florida’s law means a crash victim can be allocated any degree of fault – up to 99 percent – and still receive some monetary compensation.
Failure to Mitigate Damages
Accident victims have a responsibility to mitigate, or reduce, their injuries as much as possible in the aftermath of a car crash. How to fulfill this duty is to see a doctor immediately after your car accident for prompt injury diagnosis and immediate treatment. Waiting too long to see a doctor can hurt your claim and give the insurance company a reason to deny or diminish your benefits. For example, the insurer may use the defense that you are partially responsible for the current level or severity of your injuries because you waited to seek treatment or did not follow your doctor’s orders.
Missed Statute of Limitations
Florida has a law called the statute of limitations that places a strict four-year deadline on a victim’s ability to file a car accident claim. If your auto accident claim is filed after four years have already passed from the date of your crash or the date that you discovered your injuries, the insurer will most likely raise the expired statute of limitations defense. With only a few exceptions, the courts will not hear a case that is brought after the deadline has passed. An insurer may also bring up other procedural defenses, such as mistakes or omissions made on your claim paperwork.
Prepare for Potential Defenses By Hiring an Attorney
Be prepared to encounter one or more defenses in your effort to recover financial compensation through a car accident claim in Florida. Insurance companies are for-profit operations that will try their best to minimize what they are required to pay claimants. The most effective way to combat potential defenses is to hire a Tampa car accident attorney to help you prove your claim. An attorney can find and present evidence against the defendant to establish liability and combat any defenses that may be raised. A lawyer can make it easier to seek the financial compensation that you deserve.