Frequently Asked Questions - When In A Car Accident What Can I Sue For?
When you have been involved in an accident, you will most likely have an array of losses. The most common claim that people sue an insurance company for is property damage. After you and your vehicle have been involved in an auto accident, your vehicle will most likely be damaged. This damage can range from a few scratches to a complete and total loss of the vehicle. If the accident is minor and your vehicle sustains only scratches or minor dents, it is still important to most people that these damages be repaired, no matter how small or unnoticeable they may be. The insurance company will send a field adjuster to you or you may wish to take the vehicle to the insurance company’s auto location. The adjuster will inspect the vehicle and take pictures and will give an appraisal of how much they believe the damage will cost to fix. You can either take your vehicle to a shop of your choice or the insurance company can recommend a body shop for you. Usually, if you take your vehicle to a body shop recommended by the insurance company, they guarantee the repairs for as long as you own the vehicle. If your vehicle is inspected by the body shop and they determine the cost to fix the damage is more than the insurance company has appraised, they will contact the insurance adjuster for you and send their estimate so the insurance company can then pay them the difference. The insurance company will place you in a rental vehicle while your damage is being repaired. The insurance company will pay for the rental in most instances but not all. If you should have been afforded rental coverage but you were unable to get the rental for any reason, the insurance company will sometimes cut you a check for the amount the rental vehicle would have cost for your loss of use of a vehicle. If you have to rely on a ride-sharing service, you can submit your receipts to the adjuster once your vehicle is repaired and they will reimburse you for the amount you have paid out of pocket. If you have any items in your vehicle that are damaged such as your phone, sunglasses, child restraint seat, etc., you are able to submit the damages and receipts for new items that you have purchased to replace these and the insurance company will reimburse you for them.
If your vehicle has been deemed a total loss, you can sue the insurance company for the loss of the vehicle. If you are financing the vehicle, you will need to contact the finance company to let them know the vehicle has been involved in an auto accident and has been deemed a total loss. The insurance company and the finance company will work together and determine how much money is still owed on the vehicle and how much money you will receive after the vehicle is paid off. The insurance company will determine how much the vehicle is worth based on the year, make, model, and mileage on the vehicle. They usually do not consider any after-market upgrades or any special maintenance that has been put into the vehicle. The insurance company will cut a check to the finance company to cover the payoff and if there is any money left over after the payoff, the difference will be sent to you in a separate check. If it turns out that you owe more to the finance company than the vehicle is worth, the insurance company has no responsibility to cover the difference. Most finance companies offer GAP insurance for this type of situation. GAP insurance is a coverage you pay for, usually rolled into your vehicle payments to the finance company, which covers any amount that the insurance company does not pay. For example, if your vehicle is worth $10,000.00 but you own $15,000.00 to the finance company, the auto insurance company will pay their $10,000.00 to the finance company and the GAP coverage will pay the remaining $5,000.00 to the finance company so the vehicle is paid off. If you do not have GAP coverage, you will still owe the finance company $5,000.00.
When you are involved in an accident and you are injured, you can sue the insurance company for bodily injury or uninsured motorist claims. Bodily injury coverage is the coverage on the other parties' insurance policy which affords coverage up to a certain amount, however much they choose to be insured for, which pays out to you if you are injured through the settlement amount. If you are hit by someone who does not have bodily injury coverage or does not have enough bodily injury to cover your damages, you can then look to your own policy and submit a claim for uninsured/underinsured personal injuries.
If you miss time from work due to injuries sustained in an auto accident, you can also sue the insurance company for lost wages. Your own insurance company in the State of Florida will pay any lost wages owed to you from your PIP coverage at 60%. The remaining 40% of your lost wages can be reimbursed through your bodily injury settlement once you submit a demand package.
When you settle a personal injury claim, you will receive one lump payment for your damages. You can submit an array of evidence to the insurance adjuster who will review your claim and make an offer on your case based on the extent of your damages. Demand packages summarize how the accident happened, your injuries, your medical treatment, any out of pocket costs and any future medical treatment you may require. Any unpaid lost wages can also be added to the demand package and the insurance adjuster will evaluate the entire package and will make an offer to settle the claim. If you have hired an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your claim for you, your attorney and the insurance adjuster will negotiate back and forth for several days to several weeks in order to reach an amicable settlement for your injuries. Your attorney will never advise you to settle your claim for less than they believe it is worth. If you, your attorney, and the adjuster are unable to come to an agreement, your attorney will discuss with you the option of filing a lawsuit against the insurance company.