FAQs About Accidents And Personal Injury Claims

At Zachary A. Vandyke, P.A., we know that dealing with an accident is not easy. If you have or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident or on another's property, you likely have questions. Even if you have not, you may be interested in knowing your rights should you become involved in an accident.

Below are answers to a few frequently asked questions about personal injury claims:

  1. What should I do after an accident?
  2. An insurance adjuster called me; should I speak to him or her?
  3. Should I agree to being recorded or submit a written statement?
  4. The insurance company made me an offer; should I accept?
  5. How much is my case worth?
  6. How do I pay for medical treatment now?
  7. What if I am not a litigious person?
  8. What if the other driver does not have insurance?

Get A Free Initial Consultation If You Have Been Injured

If you were injured or a loved one was injured in an accident, contact us for a free initial consultation with a lawyer. We will do more than answer your questions. We will evaluate your case. If you become a client of ours, we will protect your interests and pursue full and fair compensation.

We accept cases in and around Panama City, including as far north as Marianna. Call us at 850-851-0864 or send us an email, and we will contact you. Se Habla Español!


What Should I Do After An Accident?

Always go to the doctor, whether you feel as if your injuries are serious or not. You need to take care of yourself and make a record of your injuries. If you do not need immediate emergency treatment, there are a few other things you can do to help protect your claim for compensation after an accident.

  • Call the police to the scene and make sure that they write a report.
  • Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver.
  • Gather contact information from witnesses at the scene.
  • Snap photos of everything, the intersection, road conditions, traffic signals, weather and your apparent injuries in addition to the vehicle damage.
  • Report the accident to your insurer to put them on notice that you were in an accident.

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An Insurance Adjuster Called Me; Should I Speak To Him Or Her?

No. Do not speak to an insurance adjuster without consulting an attorney for help. The insurance company does not want to pay money if it does not have to. Insurers train adjusters in interrogation techniques that are designed to get you to say things that could harm your case such as admitting fault, making guesses about facts, making estimates about speed, saying you "are fine" when your medical record says you are not and other things that could leave the door open for the company to underpay or deny your claim.

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Should I Agree To Being Recorded Or Submit A Written Statement?

No. Never agree to make a recorded statement or submit a written account of what happened to an insurer. Let your attorney do this for you, because everything you say is evidence that can be used against you in negotiations or at court — see the question above. If you are on the phone with an adjuster or other person from an insurance company, assume that your conversation is being recorded even if they do not offer that information.

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The Insurance Company Made Me An Offer; Should I Accept?

No. Have an attorney review an offer before you consider signing. One tactic insurance companies use is to make offers quickly. They know that you are vulnerable and need compensation to pay for expenses. The first offer is rarely adequate. Even if it covers all existing medical bills, you may not know the extent of your injuries. When you sign an offer, you are also agreeing to release the company from further liability, which means you lose your right to sue the insurer.

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How Much Is My Case Worth?

Each case varies, depending on the severity of injuries, insurance coverage and other factors. Do not trust anyone who promises to get you X dollars without conducting a thorough review of your case and investigating all sources of liability.

It is also important to know that an insurance company will not tell you about everything you can recover compensation for, such as assistive devices, prescription medications or counseling services. You may have to ask, which is why you need an attorney who can help you pinpoint all current and future damages.

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How Do I Pay For Medical Treatment Now?

Auto insurers require that you submit medical bills before they will pay, and providers won't treat through health insurance when it involves a personal injury accident. This is why many people feel pressured into accepting the first offer an insurance company sends — even if it is insufficient.

An attorney can help remove this hurdle with a letter of protection (LOP). An LOP is an agreement in which you promise to pay for all medical costs from your recovery, whether that is a settlement or verdict.

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What If I'm Not A Litigious Person?

Many people hesitate speaking to an attorney because they do not like the idea of filing a lawsuit against another individual person. When you are filing a personal injury claim, you file it against the individual's insurance policy. In other words, you are going after an insurance company's money, not an individual's bank account or home. Even if your case goes to trial, it is the insurance company that pays for an attorney to defend the case. It is an insurance company that writes the check for a verdict.

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What If The Other Driver Does Not Have Insurance?

In Florida, drivers are required to purchase insurance coverage. If the other person does not have minimum liability coverage, you may still be able to recover. As a no-fault insurance state, you can file a claim with your own insurance company for injuries and property damage. You should also consider purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if you do not have it already.

Your attorney can also help determine if there are other sources of liability or if other parties may also be at fault in causing an accident, which could include an auto manufacturer, road construction company or municipality/government.

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