Myths About Car Accidents:
1. My Insurance Will Pay For Everything
This is not true in Florida. If you are hit by another driver, your recovery generally depends on their coverage. Florida does not require much mandatory coverage to drive and many violate the law and do not have insurance.
Under Florida law, the minimum coverage is simply $10,000 in property damage liability. If the at-fault driver has this minimum, and your car is worth more than $10,000 you will have a loss unless you purchased ‘collision’ coverage. This coverage will pay for damage to your vehicle, usually up to the value at the time of the crash. It can be somewhat expensive, but if you own a vehicle, it is important to have this coverage, especially in a state like Florida that has lax coverage requirements.
2. Rear-End Collisions Are Always The Fault Of The Rear Driver
This is not universally true. While there is a presumption of fault against someone who hits you from behind, there are numerous factual circumstances where this may not be true. This presumption may be rebutted by facts that show there was another negligent party who caused the crash.
For example, if a vehicle in front of you suddenly stops with no warning, for no good reason, and you suddenly stop and are rear-ended, the person who hit you can allege the crash was the fault of the driver in front. Florida is a pure “comparative negligence” state, which means that a jury can apportion damages by degrees of fault.
In this scenario, a jury might reasonably find the front driver was 100 percent at fault, even though the driver that hit you should have been able to stop before the crash.
Similarly, if you slammed on your brakes for an unreasonable reason, the driver that hit you can allege you were fully or partially at fault. In such cases, it is important to get legal advice if you are injured.
3. All Drivers Carry Enough Insurance
In most states, and particularly in Florida, this is not true. As stated earlier, Florida only requires a licensed driver to carry $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. There is no requirement for any personal injury bodily damage liability. If a person with this minimum coverage injures you in a car crash, you have no recourse against their insurance company.
In Florida, many people drive illegally with NO coverage. Because of economic problems or just a disregard of the law, they are able to drive with no insurance to protect others from their poor driving.
We will say again if you drive in Florida, you need Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage to protect you and your family in this situation. This coverage is relatively inexpensive and maybe the most important coverage you can have.
Unfortunately, we talk to potential clients every day who are left out in the cold, with no real recourse for their injuries, because they did not buy this coverage. While your insurance company may tell you that you have “full coverage” you do not unless you have UM coverage.
4. The Insurance Company Is On Your Side
These companies spend billions in propaganda to tell you that they are “on your side”, and that you are in “good hands” with their coverage. Nothing could be further from the truth. Auto insurance companies exist only to make profits and PAY AS LITTLE IN CLAIMS AS POSSIBLE.
Trial lawyers serve the purpose of making sure these companies are fair to their insureds and those who are injured by their insured. We fight their lobbyists and politicians in addition to their lawyers to make sure they do not steamroll victims. If you have never been the victim of an insurance company, you are lucky. But rest assured the industry is always looking to tilt the scales of justice again you and other victims. Don’t fall for the propaganda.
5. You Do Not Need Medical Treatment For Minor Injuries
If you have any injury in a car crash, you must seek medical care as soon as possible. Although you may have “no-fault” PIP coverage in your auto policy, you must be evaluated and treated within 14 days in order to have the full benefit of your policy. If you don’t do this, the company can limit its liability to $2,500 even if your policy limits are higher.
Often people are too shook up at the scene to realize they are injured. The adrenaline is flowing, and there is often much chaos. Also, with soft tissue/sprain/strain type injuries, you may start feeling the pain more as time goes by. A serious injury is not always apparent immediately, and if you are injured at all you should seek medical care as soon as possible and follow the “car wreck checklist.”
6. You Do Not Need An Attorney
This is more propaganda from the insurance industry. If you are injured by the negligence of another driver, you need to seek legal counsel. Experienced personal injury lawyers will give you a free consultation, and if they will not, find another lawyer who will. The lawyer may not be able to help you, but they will look carefully at your case before giving such advice. A consumer should always use this resource, even if the insurance company tries to keep you from it.
As a simple rule, if you are injured, you need to consult with an experienced trial lawyer. This is especially true if the insurance company is trying to get you to sign documents to settle your claim. Don’t fall for their representations that they are trying to help you. It’s simply not true.
Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.
If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.