VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Insurance policies could impose time limit for reporting accident

Florida law and most insurance policies set time limits for filing claims after car accidents. A civil statute of limitations will establish the time period in which someone can file a lawsuit to pursue damages. As for insurance benefits, the terms of the policy likely specify the time period for filing claims.

The filing deadlines within insurance policies might not be readily apparent. The time periods also vary among policies. A policyholder should read a policy carefully and ask an insurance agent for clarification.

In general, people should report accidents as soon as possible although people who need medical treatment should seek care first. Most insurance companies make reporting accidents quite easy with a 24-hour hotlines and mobile applications. In most cases, people will want to inform their insurers except for some single-vehicle mishaps that only damage a policyholder's vehicle; those minor accidents might only result in a premium hike if reported. Otherwise, people should report any incidents that damage another party's property or were caused by another driver. Even low-speed collisions could produce repair bills in excess of $1,000 according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Auto accidents that involve injuries have the potential to create substantial claims for damages. A person trying to collect a settlement after being injured by a reckless or negligent driver might want legal representation. An attorney might evaluate the coverage available through the other party's insurer. If an attorney's negotiations with an insurance adjuster do produce an adequate settlement, then a lawsuit may be the next step. The injured person, especially someone confronted by catastrophic injuries, might gain assistance from an attorney with assembling evidence and filing court paperwork. A clear presentation of the cause of the person's injuries might sway a jury to award compensation to the victim.

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