If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in Tampa, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. The first step in obtaining this compensation is filing an insurance claim.

A Tampa personal injury attorney can guide you through the process of filing an insurance claim after an auto accident. But even with an attorney by your side, it’s still important to understand what to expect after filing a claim. How long will it take to settle your claim and get the compensation you deserve? Keep reading to learn the answer to this question.

When Should You File A PIP Claim?

Florida drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which is commonly referred to as no-fault insurance.

If you are involved in an accident, you can file a claim with your PIP insurance provider to obtain compensation for certain damages. PIP insurance will cover certain damages regardless of whether or not you were at fault for the crash.

What Damages Does PIP Insurance Cover?

PIP insurance will not cover all of your damages after a car accident. In general, PIP insurance covers:

  • Up to 80% of medical expenses incurred while treating emergency medical conditions.
  • Up to $2,500 of medical expenses incurred while treating non-emergency medical conditions.
  • 60% of income lost due to car accident injuries.
  • Up to $5,000 in death benefits to eligible surviving family members.

Again, this insurance policy will cover these damages even if you were 100% to blame for the accident, which is why it’s often called “no-fault insurance.”

How Long Will It Take to Settle A PIP Claim?

Florida’s no-fault insurance system was established to help drivers quickly obtain compensation for their damages after a car accident. If you file a PIP claim, you won’t need to prove liability in order to obtain compensation, which means claims are usually approved quickly.

By law, PIP insurance claims must be either approved and paid or denied within 30 days. If your claim is denied, the insurance company must explain the reason for the denial in writing.

When Should You File A Claim With the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?

Florida is a no-fault state. But the issue of fault may arise in a car accident case if the victim’s damages exceed the limits of their PIP coverage.

For example, say you are seriously injured in an accident caused by a negligence driver. You incur $100,000 in damages as a result of the accident. Your PIP insurance policy limit is only $10,000, which means your PIP insurance will not compensate you for all of the damages you have suffered. If the other driver caused the accident, you may be able to obtain additional compensation to cover your damages by filing a claim with their insurance company.

You have the right to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company if you have exceeded your PIP insurance coverage limits and you have suffered a serious, permanent injury.

What Will the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Cover?

If you file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, you may be able to obtain compensation for:

  • Medical expenses and lost wages that exceed your PIP insurance policy limits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

The amount of compensation you are awarded will vary depending on many different factors, including the severity of your injuries, length of your recovery, and long-term consequences of your injuries.

What Happens After You File A Claim?

The insurance company will need to launch an investigation into the accident to determine who is liable and verify your injuries. During this investigation, the insurance company will work with medical and accident reconstruction experts, interview witnesses, review photos from the scene, and gather other forms of evidence. This investigation could take several weeks or months depending on the complexity of the accident and amount of evidence involved.

After the investigation is complete, the insurance company will typically make an offer. The first offer is almost always low, which is why most car accident victims counteroffer instead of accepting this initial offer. The insurance company may accept your counteroffer or make another counteroffer. This process will continue until the two sides reach a fair settlement.

It’s best to have an attorney calculate the value of your claim and handle the negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company. This way, you can focus solely on recovering from your injuries while your attorney fights for the compensation you are entitled to by law.

How Long Will It Take to Settle A Claim With the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company?

The amount of time it will take to reach a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company will vary on a case-by-case basis.

Some factors that will impact the amount of time it takes to reach a settlement include:

  • How long it takes you to reach maximum medical improvement. You cannot calculate the value of your claim until you have reached this point, which means you cannot begin negotiating until you are at this stage.
  • Value of your claim. Typically, the higher the value of the claim, the longer it will take to reach a settlement.
  • Disputes over liability or the severity of your injuries. Resolving these disputes can take time, which means it will take longer to reach a settlement.

Some claims take several months to settle, whereas others can take over a year. 

Let Our Personal Injury Attorneys Guide You Through the Claims Process

If you have been injured in an accident in Florida, it’s in your best interest to seek legal representation from the skilled personal injury attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett. Our team has over 125 years of experience helping the injured fight for the compensation they deserve. Together, we have recovered over $115 million in compensation for our clients. Let us work tirelessly to secure the compensation you are entitled to for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.