1. Do not provide a recorded or written statement to any insurance company if you will be represented by an attorney.
2. Make sure that you have proper uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. We recommend that you have at least the amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that will equal your bodily injury coverage. Further, be sure that if you have more than one vehicle that you request and require stacking, which double, triples or can quadruple, depending upon how many cars you insure, this important coverage.
3. Cooperate freely with the police in there investigation of the claim, but do not discuss the accident with other drivers or witnesses.
4. Be sure to take the name and phone number of any and all witnesses to your accident, as many of them may not appear on the police report.
5. If you have a smart phone or camera with you, and are feeling well enough, take pictures of the vehicles involved in the crash as well as a general scene photograph and email it to your attorney.
6. Be sure that the insurance company that you are doing business with actually pays claims on a regular basis, as there are many substandard insurance companies that will diligently look for any excuse not to pay a proper claim, despite your best efforts. Feel free to contact our office for more information.
7. Do not allow an insurance adjuster into your home to meet with you, as their desire will be to obtain a written and/or recorded statement from you, and perhaps even have you sign a release. Releases should only be signed when you have achieved full maximum medical improvement, and if you have been injured in an accident, this is rarely achieved within the first several weeks.
8. Cooperate with your insurance company with regard to moving your vehicle out of a tow yard, so you do not incur excess storage which you may be responsible for, but you do not have to accept the insurance company's initial offer for repair or replacement of your vehicle. You have a right to have your vehicle assessed as well by your own appraiser, and you may feel free to call us for additional information.
9. In certain cases, you may be entitled to diminishment of value of your car, since companies like Carmax now track all incidents and accidents that vehicles have been in and these can reduce the overall value of your vehicle. Please feel free to call us for more information.
10. Be sure to give all medical providers your claim number for your own insurance company, as No-Fault insurance may pay up to the first $10,000.00 or more of your medical expenses under Florida law. Please be aware that your rates cannot be increased, nor can you be dropped by your insurance company for presenting a No-Fault claim, unless it can be clearly established that you are more than 50% at fault for this particular incident. Many people believe that any claim will have a deleterious effect on their insurance rates, and this is simply not true.
11. Be sure to report your claim promptly to the insurance company without giving a recorded statement, and obtain your claim number as well as your adjuster's phone number, as you and your attorney will be using this information for communicating with the insurance company on a regular basis. Further, some companies require notice of an accident within a short time after you have been in a crash. As mentioned above, be sure to obtain your personal claim number.
12. Please feel free to contact Scott Young at Young and Stein for additional information on this and any other questions you may have.