The length of a car accident settlement process in Florida can depend on many factors, but the overall timeframe mainly comes down to the complexity of the case and the willingness of both parties to want to cooperate to reach an agreement.
Recently, the Florida state legislature passed a bill to eliminate the no-fault insurance system. Many economists said this would lower insurance rates, but it would also take longer for insurance claims to be resolved. Unfortunately, the Governor of Florida vetoed the bill, confusing as to what will happen next.
In Florida, it can take some time to resolve an insurance claim. Depending on the complexity of the claim, it could take months. If Florida repeals its current no-fault insurance system, it could increase the time it takes to settle a claim.
Here, our personal injury law firm in Tampa shares more information:
No-Fault Insurance in Florida
No-fault insurance in Florida is a type of auto insurance that provides coverage for personal injury protection (PIP) regardless of who is at fault in an accident. This means that if you are involved in a car accident, your insurance company will pay for your medical expenses and lost wages up to the limits of your policy, regardless of who was responsible for the accident.
However, no-fault insurance does not cover property damage, typically covered by liability insurance. In Florida, drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage and $10,000 in property damage liability coverage.
Problems with No-Fault Insurance
In reality, Florida’s system has become overwhelmed, preventing insurers from delivering the “instant advantages” they once guaranteed. There has been a surge of deceitful PIP claims in the state, with drivers collaborating with medical professionals to submit fake or overstated claims.
Consequently, insurance claims submitted in Florida require thorough assessments and inquiries, causing delays. Therefore, the time saved by Florida insurance companies on determining fault is now being utilized to investigate potential fraud.
Florida Laws Impose the Minimum Time to Pay Benefits
In Florida, various regulations impact how insurers handle Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claims in the state. Crucially, these laws require insurance companies to establish and carry out prompt processes for examining claims. This legislation ensures that insurers cannot just reject all claims, causing claimants to resort to legal action.
Insurance regulations in Florida establish specific timeframes for insurers to handle claims. While the law doesn’t explicitly reference PIP insurers, insurance companies in Florida typically have a 14-day window to acknowledge a claim and provide the insured party with proof of loss forms.
Once you submit evidence of your injuries to your insurance provider, they must start looking into your claim within ten days. The insurance company then has 30 days from the time they get the proof of loss documents to either confirm or reject the coverage of your claim. If the insurer approves the coverage, they have 20 days to pay you.
In an ideal situation, you would submit the proof of loss forms as soon as you receive them, and the insurance company would confirm coverage. In such a scenario, your case could be resolved within 64 days of informing the insurer about your claim.
Timelines in Real Life
This ideal situation is uncommon. Once the insurance provider gives you the loss evidence forms, you’ll probably need time to gather your medical documents and other relevant data to substantiate your claim.
When the insurance company starts looking into the matter, it may ask for additional details. The 30-day period for examining claims only begins when the company gets the fully filled proof of loss forms. If the insurer requires further information, the investigation is put on hold until the needed data is obtained.
Furthermore, in Florida, insurance companies are not legally obligated to confirm coverage within 30 days of obtaining your evidence of loss. After receiving proof of loss, the insurer can either accept or reject the coverage. The company may also decide to deny coverage or decrease your claim by providing a detailed list of reasons for the denial or reduction.
Negotiating Claim Settlements
If the insurance company believes there is a valid reason to deny or decrease your claim, they will proceed with the necessary actions. The primary goal of insurance companies is to generate profit, and by minimizing the amount of money paid out for claims, they can potentially increase their earnings.
Insurance companies frequently employ denial and reduction strategies in negotiations. According to Florida legislation, the letter rejecting or decreasing the claim must contain the name and contact details of the claims adjuster handling your case.
When working with a personal injury attorney, they will get in touch with the claims adjuster to initiate negotiations for your claim. By supplying further documentation and advocating for an improved compensation, the attorney can strive to secure the maximum amount for your claim.
That said, negotiating a settlement can still be a time-consuming process. It may take several months in addition to the insurance company’s 64-day timeline.
Fault-based settlements in Florida refer to the legal principle of apportioning damages in a personal injury lawsuit based on the degree of fault of each party involved in the accident. Florida follows the pure comparative negligence rule, which means that a plaintiff can recover damages even if they were partially at fault for that accident. However, the damages awarded will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault.
To better articulate this, if a plaintiff is found to be 30% at fault for the accident and the damages awarded are $100,000, they will receive only $70,000. Fault-based settlements are designed to ensure that each party is held accountable for their negligence and that the compensation awarded is fair and proportional to the harm suffered.
How Long Does It Take to Settle Fault-Based Claims in Florida?
The time it takes to settle fault-based claims in Florida varies depending on several factors. In general, these types of claims involve negotiations between the parties involved and their respective insurance companies, which can take several months or even years in some cases.
Cases that go to court and do not reach a reasonable settlement early, may take a lot longer to complete. The complexity of the case, as well as how severe the injuries are, and the willingness of the parties to negotiate all play a role in determining how long it will take to settle a fault-based claim in Florida. It is vital to find an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney who can navigate the legal process and help you get the best possible outcome in a timely manner.
How Your Florida Lawyer Helps Impact the Time It Takes to Settle Your Car Accident Case
Your Florida lawyer can have a significant impact on the time it takes to settle your car accident case. A reputable personal injury attorney can navigate the complex legal system in Florida, gather any evidence to strengthen your case, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for your rights.
By working with a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer, you can also improve your chances of a favorable settlement and reduce the time it takes to resolve your case.
Each case is different and the time in takes to settle largely depends on the complexity of the lawsuit as well as the willingness and cooperation of all parties to come to an agreement. If Florida repeals its current no-fault insurance system, the amount of time it takes to settle a claim could be increased. This is why it’s important to seek the help of a personal injury attorney in Tampa to get faster results and better outcome.
CBD Injury Law is a trusted personal injury law firm in Florida that can help you with cases involving accidents. Whether you or a loved one got involved in an accident as the driver, passenger, or pedestrian, we can help you get through the complex process of protecting your rights and getting what it is you deserve. Schedule an appointment today!