Tampa Automobile Accident Attorney
After my car accident, what information should I obtain and keep?
It is important to keep the Driver’s Exchange Form that the reporting officer gives you at the scene. You may not be able to get another copy of this form if you lose it. If no law enforcement comes to the scene, make sure you obtain the name, address and insurance information (insurance company and policy number) for the other drivers involved in the accident, as well as the contact information for any witnesses to the accident. If you are physically unable to do this because of injury, do not worry about it and get immediate medical treatment.
What does Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage mean?
If seen by a medical provider within fourteen (14) days from the date of the accident, you may be entitled to Personal Injury Protection or PIP benefits. Personal Injury Protection or PIP is Florida’s No Fault Insurance that all drivers are required carry with a minimum coverage of $10,000. PIP covers eighty percent (80%) of medical bills, sixty percent (60%) of lost wages and mileage reimbursement to and from your doctors. In addition, PIP provides $5,000 in death benefits. However, if no medical treatment is sought within fourteen (14) days from the date of the accident, you may be barred from collecting PIP benefits.
What is an Emergency Medical Condition or EMC and how does it change my PIP coverage?
An Emergency Medical Condition or EMC is defined as “a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to patient health, and/or serious impairment to bodily functions, and/or serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.” If you are diagnosed with an Emergency Medical Condition or EMC, PIP cover follow up services related to the EMC, up to the $10,000 limit. If you are not diagnosed with an EMC, then PIP will only cover follow up services up to a limit of $2,500. Unfortunately, acupuncture and massage therapy are not typically covered under PIP.
Does the other driver have bodily injury coverage and what does that mean?
Bodily Injury or BI coverage is the part of the automobile insurance policy that protects the at-fault driver from damages to other persons. In the State of Florida, a driver is not required to carry Bodily Injury or BI coverage. If the at-fault driver does have Bodily Injury or BI coverage, the typical amounts we see are $10,000 per person/ $20,000 per accident; $25,000 per person/ $50,000 per accident; and $100,000 per person/ $300,000 per accident. There are many other Bodily Injury limit combinations, but these are the most common. In an automobile accident with Bodily Injury coverage of $10,000 per person/ $20,000 per accident, no one person could collect more than $10,000 and the total amount available to multiple injured parties would be $20,000. If the accident involved three injured people, one person could receive $10,000 and the other two would have $10,000 remaining to split, or the three could split the $20,000 in any combination, as long as one person did not receive more than $10,000.
I have “Full Coverage”, so I am sure to have Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist (UM) coverage, correct?
The short answer is not necessarily. Full coverage in the State of Florida means you have the minimum allowed by the state. In Florida that is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage (PD) coverage. Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage is something that you have to elect to have on your policy and increases your premiums. Like the names suggest, Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage protects the victim of a car accident for damages caused by another, if the at-fault driver does not Bodily Injury Coverage or if the Bodily Injury coverage is not sufficient to cover the damages.
What happens after I start treating with doctors and the medical bills keep growing?
When two cars come together in an automobile accident, the total amount of insurance coverage available for that specific accident is set at that time. It is important to determine the available coverage early on, so the medical bills can stay under control as you try to heal and get back to you normal activities of daily living. As your treatment progresses, my firm will monitor the progress, provide the insurance companies with updates and, based upon the injuries, attempt to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement. This can be a long and slow process. If the insurance companies are not fair and reasonable, the next step would be to file a law suit against the at-fault driver, owner of the at-fault vehicle, and/or your own insurance company for Uninsured or Underinsured benefits.
Why choose STAMATAKIS + THALJI + BONANNO for your automobile accident?
At STAMATAKIS + THALJI + BONANNO, we pride ourselves in offering personal attention to each and every automobile accident case that comes through our door. We understand that no two automobile accidents are the same, so we treat every case differently based on the unique facts surrounding each one. Rob Bonanno has over twelve (12) years of experience representing insurance companies and at-fault drivers, as well as individuals injured in automobile accidents. At STAMATAKIS + THALJI + BONANNO, you will be treated as an individual with the personal attention you deserve.