Fort Myers is a great city to both visit and to live in, and the tropical weather makes it very appealing to get outdoors as often as possible. As such, the desire to walk around is understandable, but there are safety hazards that you must be aware of. Namely, that Florida is routinely found to have the highest rate of pedestrian deaths in the country. There are a variety of factors that could lend to this alarming trend, but understanding and explaining the underlying causes is best left to city planners. The most important thing for you to know is that there is a significant risk of injury each time you step out your door and plan to travel around on foot and that you must be diligent in your travels to avoid injury.
However, even the safest of pedestrians are never guaranteed to avoid an accident, and if you are injured in a pedestrian accident that someone else caused, then it is important for you to know your options and your rights. When you are the victim of an accident, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries, the financial impacts of your accident, and a variety of non-economic damages relating to the pain and suffering that you endure.
Hire a Fort Myers Personal Injury Attorney Today
1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. Trying to find a lawyer who can help you through the complex and overwhelming process of successfully negotiating an insurance settlement can seem like a difficult step to take in the early days following an accident, which is why we offer our free service to connect victims with available attorneys with ease. Contact us now to be connected with a lawyer in your area who can help you make sense of your situation, and fight for your rights while you focus on your recovery.
Read more below about Fort Myers pedestrian accidents and insurance claims, and contact us as soon as possible to be connected with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
The Insurance Claims Process After a Pedestrian Accident
No two accidents are alike, and the same is true for the insurance claims process. However, the steps involved are fairly standardized, so even if the work necessary to complete the claim varies, the steps that you can expect to go through are fairly predictable. Of course, the following information is only intended to give you a general idea of what to expect.
The way to know what you should expect through your process is to work with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney who can set your expectations about every step of this process. From the moment you initiate your claim, the insurance company will be waiting for you to misspeak so that they can use your statements against you in order to limit your settlement, so do not begin this process without legal support.
Initiating Your Claim
You will need to call the insurance company’s claims department in order to initiate your claim, and will need to provide basic information to them such as your contact and insurance information, their client whom you were involved in the accident with and their policy number, how the accident was caused, who was responsible, and more basic information about the situation.
Keep in mind that from the moment you first contact the responsible party’s insurance company, they will begin to look for every possible way to reduce the final amount that they pay you for a settlement. As soon as you begin discussing how the accident was caused, the adjuster will be listening closely for ANY reason to assign some degree of fault to you, in order to save money.
Working WIth a Claims Adjuster
Throughout the investigation, you will be working with a claims adjuster who will request additional information and documentation from you (or, ideally, from your attorney while you are recovering from your injuries), so that they can determine how much to offer you for a settlement. It is likely that you will need to take an independent medical exam for the insurance company to verify your injuries, but even this exam is designed to identify ways to limit your settlement. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on how to handle this process.
At the same time that the claims adjuster is doing an investigation, your Fort Myers personal injury attorney will be performing their own investigation. They will be calculating your damages and determining how much you actually deserve, not just what the insurance company hopes to pay. It is likely that the amount you ultimately receive will be less than their upper-limit calculations but significantly more than what the insurance company will offer.
Receiving Your Initial Offer
When you receive your initial offer from the insurance company, you will be shocked at the difference between their calculations and your attorney’s figures. This is, again, because their main priority is to protect their financial interests, not to pay you what you actually deserve. If you accept this offer, you will also need to waive your rights to any additional legal action, meaning that if you continue to encounter financial impacts after the fact, you are stuck handling these costs on your own. ALWAYS consult with an attorney before accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company.
Counter-offers and Negotiations
Instead of accepting the initial offer, your attorney will begin the negotiations process in order to close the gap between their calculations and the insurance adjuster’s figures. Florida has a 4-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases, meaning that you have 4 years from the day of your accident (with certain, but rare, exceptions where a victim can receive an extension), meaning that your lawyer has time to negotiate before running into a time limit, but the hope is that you will be able to resolve this entire process well within the confines of the statute.
Filing a Lawsuit of Reaching a Settlement Agreement
Finally, you will come to a point where you and your attorney will need to decide to either accept an offer as an out-of-court settlement or file a lawsuit with the Florida courts. Just because you have filed a lawsuit does not mean that you will need to go to trial, but it will move your case into the next phase. There are many different reasons that an attorney will decide to file a lawsuit, all of which you will need to discuss directly with them about your unique situation. The steps your attorney suggests will be in your best interests.