Car accidents, and the subsequent aftershocks during the weeks, months, or even years following, affects not only the person(s) injured in the actual collision but also the family, employers, and other day-to-day contacts. The results of most accidents are, at the very least, property damage, but in many cases also include personal injury, or even death to one or more occupants of the vehicles involved. The purpose of insurance is to help mitigate some of the costs that can be accrued following an accident, yet many drivers (and passengers) aren’t aware of the benefits to which they are entitled, and many go unclaimed each year. So, what are you entitled to following an accident?
The first thing to note is that insurance policies vary greatly, with each company having its own particular exceptions and limitations. For that reason, we want to state that anything mentioned in this post is simply a general idea of what insurance providers could offer, and it’s important to contact your own provider to find out exactly what benefits you are able to claim following a collision. In addition to knowing what your own policy covers, you’ll also need to be aware that there are two types of claims that could be made following an accident. First-party claims and third-party claims offer different benefits, and require a different process for receiving those benefits. In Florida, a first-party claim is one made by the owner of the insurance policy (or a defendant who is covered by said policy), whereas a third-party claim is made by someone else (i.e., not the insured party). The best example of a third-party claim is an automobile accident where a person injured makes a claim on the policy of the at-fault driver. These types of benefits are best discussed with your attorney or legal representative since they are responsible for standing in your place during negotiations regarding coverage and compensation for an accident.
First-party claims however, can be handled by you in many cases, but do sometimes require the intervention of a lawyer on your behalf when assistance is needed in collecting the benefits you are entitled to through your policy. Some of these benefits include:
- Coverage of medical expenses. Injuries caused by the accident (and long-term suffering related to the trauma) can mean you end up with significant medical bills. Your insurance coverage should help with these either in part, or in full, depending on your policy details.
- Coverage of lost wages. If you are unable to work following an accident, some policies compensate you for the loss of income for up to 3 years following the event. Your attorney and/or insurance advisor should be able to tell you if your policy offers this, and how much you are entitled to.
- Coverage of care. If you require any type of routine care following an accident (such as in-home nursing or assistance) this could be covered by your policy.
- Coverage of household duties. If you have had to hire others to cover household chores such as lawn care, childcare, housework, etc.) some policies offer compensation for these services.
- Coverage of transportation. If you are left unable to drive following your accident, certain policies will cover the cost of transportation to and from your employment, medical appointments, therapies, etc.
Again, the options to which you are entitled do not necessarily include, nor are they limited to, all of the items listed above. These are simply some common coverage provided by insurance providers, and you’ll want to discuss them with your own provider to make sure you are prepared if or when the unexpected happens to you. Legal representation is also key following an accident, as you navigate insurance providers that may not be willing to hand over the compensation you should receive, or fail to do it in a timely and efficient manner. If you are making a third-party claim having a lawyer to stand for you during the case is the best way to guarantee that you have what you need during the months following the collision. People throughout the Tampa Bay area know that they can trust Sessums Law Group to provide only the best legal services when the unexpected comes their way. It is our goal to help you get the compensation you deserve. Give us a call and see what we can do for your case because WE STAND FOR YOU!