The police report should list the adverse driver's insurance carrier. Contact the insurance company and make a liability claim against the adverse driver. The carrier will assign an adjuster to view the car and estimate damages. You may want to get your own independent estimate to make sure that the insurance appraisal is reasonable.
If you were injured: You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on Avvo.com.
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
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First, report this to your insurance carrier even if it is believed the other car is at fault. Should they turn around and try to later blame you, your carrier will defend you at no expense to you. Secondly, if you have collision coverage, you have the option of getting your car repaired through your own policy (without worrying that your rates will be raised) and then let your carrier go after the other vehicle to recoup the expense, or you can try to have the insurer for the rental agency pay for your repirs, etc. An employer is liable for the damage caused by the negligence of any employee committed in the course and in furtherance of the employer's business, so the agency or its insurer would be responsible to pay for your damages.
Notify your own insurance company and it will pay you, based on your collission coverage. Then it will try to collect from the rental company, and probably recover your deductible and refund it to you.
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You should make a claim with your own insurance and talk to a lawyer about PIP laws. It is important to seek medical attention even if you do not think you are injured because the new laws don't let you do it later.
This response is intended as only general legal information and not specific legal advice for your case. You should consult with an attorney for legal advice. You may contact our statewide offices for a consultation, toll free at 1-866-318-4878. Main office Gainesville.
First, you've stated you are not injured, so do not seek treatment. That would be fraud.
Second, you need to contact the other party's insurance carrier and file a claim. They must investigate the loss and determine liability. If you only report the loss to your insurance company, you may have to pay your deductible upfront and have your insurance company subrogate the other insurance company in order to get back your money (and theirs).
You can certainly report the loss to your own insurance company and tell them that you want to see if the other party's insurance company will accept liability and pay your damages.
Keep in mind that law enforcement officers do not determine liability when they investigate crashes. Liability is determined by and between insurance companies, and if they disagree, many insurance carriers in Florida are members of an independent arbitration organization that decides such disagreements. In fact, police reports are not admissible in civil trials, and neither are traffic citations unless the defendant pleads guilty to the charge in open court. Merely paying a citation or pleading no contest does not suffice.
Call the other side's insurance company and make a claim. It's that simple.
To add to what has been mentioned:
1) Reporting this to your insurance company may or may not help with your property damage issues for a couple of reasons. First, collision coverage is typically optional in Florida, with some exceptions for leased and/or financed cars. Therefore, you may not even have coverage to repair your car. Another reason that contacting your own insurer may not help is you don't say the amount of property damage. That said, best to report it to your company so that they can explore your coverage, as well as that of other motorists. If I'm reading this right, then the other motorist was not only an employee of a large company, but driving a company owned vehicle, so there would almost certainly be property damage coverage to cover your vehicle damage.
2) You stated "no injuries" and then go on to state, "No obvious injuries as of yet...." If I was meeting with you on a consultation, I would want to explore what you mean by that comment. Do you mean you have no symptoms at all? Or, are you a person that might be downplaying your symptoms, and you mean that you just have some "aching in the neck or back" that you think will go away, but nothing is "obvious" because there are no broken bones, etc. If you have no symptoms at all, then great, and you may not need an attorney. If you do have symptoms, even if not life altering, then you'll want to seek treatment quickly due to changes in Florida's PIP law. By quickly, I mean before two weeks since the date of accident. I've had many clients through the years that did not retain me because there were "no obvious injuries," but came in a year later because that nagging "ache" never disappeared. I'm not suggesting that you embellish what may not be major symptoms, just would want to know what you mean by "obvious."
Best of luck.
DISCLAIMER: Attorney Scott McPherson is a sole practitioner representing injured persons in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. He has extensive litigation experience in State and Federal Court, and has argued before Florida's appellate courts. Answers provided by Attorney McPherson are not to be deemed legal advice, as it would be impossible to analyze the merits of a case based on a single forum question. No attorney-client relationship is created or implied by Attorney McPherson's responses.
When you in a motor vehicle accident the first step is to get the other person's insurance and vehicle information/obtain emergency medical care if injuries were sustained. Second step is to notify your own insurance company. Third step is to obtain a copy of the police report if one is made at the scene. From here, hiring a qualified lawyer to assist you is vital as they are familiar with the law and will help you to consider your options.
Contact your insurance adjuster and report the claim.
Attorney Stacy E. Pepper is licensed in all State and Federal Courts in Mississippi. He is a founding Partner in the law firm of Pepper & Odom, P.C. Nothing posted here constitutes any attorney client relationship and is meant for educational purposes only. Office hours are 8:00 a.m till 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone: 601-914-9219 Facsimile: 888-456-2160 www.pepperodom.com
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