Auto accidents are a source of stress, fear, and anxiety, which may be made worse by the time-consuming, costly personal injury claims process. Although every case is different, there are basic steps and elements found in most cases. These are summarized below.
After taking a case, Auto Accident Attorneys in Hollywood FL will conduct investigations to determine whether the circumstances and facts support the client’s claim for damages. During the process, the attorney will seek answers to three questions:
- Who is at fault? Determination of fault involves more than seeing who received a citation. Even if the other driver got a ticket, his or her insurer may allege that the victim contributed to the accident. Florida follows the comparative negligence doctrine, where fault is apportioned according to each party’s respective contribution to the accident, and awards decrease correspondingly.
- Was anyone injured? It’s essential to document injuries related to the accident. In most cases, it’s done with pre- and post-accident medical records, medical bills, and physicians’ evaluations.
- Can compensation be sought from an insurer? An experienced injury lawyer will look for all potential compensation sources. Auto Accident Attorneys in Hollywood FL know which types of insurance are available for victims’ compensation.
The Demand Letter
In an accident case, the demand letter notifies the at-fault party’s insurer of the victim’s claim and serves as a basis for negotiations. An effective, well-prepared demand letter with the right documentation can be dozens of pages long because of the level of detail required.
After the insurer evaluates the claim through the demand letter and documents, it may respond by:
- Accepting the demand. Here, the insurer agrees to the amount requested and the case is settled. However, it’s uncommon for an insurer to agree without some negotiation.
- Making a counteroffer. In this situation, the insurer offers less than the amount requested. After consulting his or her lawyer, the victim will accept the offer, continue negotiations, or take the case to court.
- Denying the claim. Although it is rare, an insurer may refuse the payout. This often happens when a victim’s claim isn’t well-supported.
Most cases are settled before they get to court. However, if a victim declines the insurer’s highest offer, the next thing to do is to file a lawsuit. Call the Law Offices of McCullough & Leboff P.A. today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.