Legal Question in Personal Injury in Florida

I was in a car accident yesterday. I was not at fault, the other driver was cited for not yielding the right of way. Thankfully myself (26wks pregnant) and my 5 kids were not injured, just a bit sore.

We have to pay a $1000 deducatble for our car insurance and over $180 in car rental fees just for 4 days while we figure this out.

I see that FL law states the policy holder is responsible however I'm finding it difficult to believe/understand how this guy can hit us, be at fault, and WE have to pay this money out of pocket when he should be responsible. I've already contacted a personal injury lawyer and they're not interested because we're not badly injured.....I don't know how else to find out my rights as all they have for car accidents are personal injury lawyers.

I understand my insurance can proceed with something called subrogation, I have to ask them that when they open. However, if my insurance doesn't help, how can I get the guy who caused the accident to pay these costs we're having to pay? Civil court?

Asked on 7/17/12, 5:13 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Barry Stein De Cardenas, Freixas, Stein & Zachary

You have a claim for the deductible for your property damage and for your reasonable rental replacement. The problem is you cannot make a continuing claim against some insurance company in order to get these items paid immediately as they are incurred. Often you have to expend the money and then seek reimbursement. This is the reason that having coverage on your own for rental replacement and lower deductibles make recovering from an accident easier. Go ahead and notify the responsible owner and the insurance company if you know it of the pending claim. They will assign an adjuster and likely will give you directions on getting the car appraised for repairs. They may even work out the rental replacement with you. Subrogation is not something that helps you, it is the right of your insurance company to pursue the other driver for the recovery of amounts expended on your behalf. they will seek recovery of any deductibles as well, but not for items not covered by your own insurance.

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Answered on 7/17/12, 5:21 am
Ryan Rooth Rooth Law Group, P.A.

The advice from Barry is very solid. I will add a little more information to the situation. You have 5 kids and a preganant wife. Florida PIP law changed on July 1st. If you haven't already, I would suggest having your entire family "checked out" by a doctor to make sure everyone is alright. If you wait longer than 14 days, according to the change in the law, you are waiving your benefits under PIP. If you or anyone in your family needs additional treatment the PIP coverage provides a great benefit to you and your family. It is required under Florida law and you have been paying for it for years. If you need it, use it.

This may also be a great time to evaluate your insurance coverage and to make sure your auto coverage is protecting your family. The most important coverage to have is uninsured motorist coverage. It is worth every penny to know you are protecting yourselves in the event another driver does not have the proper insurance. I would be happy to discuss this with you.

I hope your family fully recovers and that no one is seriously injured.

Thanks, Ryan

Ryan Rooth

Rooth Law Group, P.A.

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Answered on 7/17/12, 5:54 am
Michael Tobin Michael M. Tobin, P.A.

Both answers are good advice. $1,000 for the future may be too high. You can purchase deductibles of $500 or $250 for a little more premium. Be sure you are all checked out by a doctor within 14 days. Also, if the repairs to your car are extensive you may have a claim for "dimunition of value" if your car is devalued for a later trade in.

If tour company pays for the repairs you can bring a suit in small claims court for your dedictible,loss of use, towing, storage etc. These things take time to resolve. Calm down and follow the lawyers advice. As personal onnjury lawyers we often help poeple to understand the process without charge as I'm doing now. Babies in the womb are usually safely padded. I hope you have no difficulties.

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Answered on 7/17/12, 12:56 pm

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