If you are sued for negligence in the state of Florida, it is essential to act quickly and take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and minimize your liability. Negligence claims can be expensive and time-consuming, and failing to handle them properly can have serious consequences. In this blog, we will discuss what you should do if you are sued for negligence in Florida, why it is important to call your insurance company, and what you can do to minimize your liability. See our prior blog on Florida Auto Insurance Basics
Step 1: Call Your Insurance Company
The first and most important step is to call your insurance company as soon as possible. If you have liability insurance, your insurance company is obligated to defend you against the claim and pay any damages up to your policy limits. Failure to notify your insurance company promptly can result in your policy being canceled or voided.
Your insurance company will assign an attorney to represent you in the case and provide guidance on the best course of action. It is important to cooperate fully with your attorney and provide them with all relevant information about the incident. This will help them build a strong defense and protect your interests.
Step 2: Gather Evidence
Gathering evidence is crucial to building a strong defense. Collect any documents, photos, videos, or other evidence related to the incident. This includes police reports, witness statements, medical records, and any other relevant information.
If possible, revisit the scene of the incident and take photos or videos of the area. Make notes about any factors that may have contributed to the incident, such as poor lighting or hazardous conditions.
Step 3: Minimize Your Liability
There are several steps you can take to minimize your liability in a negligence claim. These include:
- Cooperate fully with your attorney and insurance company
- Do not admit fault or apologize for the incident
- Do not post about the incident on social media
- Do not discuss the case with anyone other than your attorney or insurance company
- Do not destroy or alter any evidence related to the incident
- Follow all court orders and deadlines
- Attend all scheduled court hearings and depositions
By following these steps, you can protect your rights and minimize your liability in a negligence claim.
Being sued for negligence in the state of Florida can be a daunting experience, but taking the appropriate steps can help protect your rights and minimize your liability. The most important step is to call your insurance company as soon as possible and provide them with all relevant information. By cooperating fully with your attorney and insurance company and gathering evidence, you can build a strong defense and protect your interests. Finally, by taking steps to minimize your liability, you can help ensure a positive outcome to the case.
What If I Cause An Accident And Do Not Have Good Insurance?
If you cause an accident and don’t have good insurance, you may be held financially responsible for any damages or injuries that resulted from the accident. This means that you may be required to pay out of pocket for medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and any other damages that occurred as a result of the accident.
In addition, if you are unable to pay for these damages, the other party may choose to take legal action against you to recover their losses. This could result in a lawsuit, which may lead to court-ordered payments or even bankruptcy.
Furthermore, if the court finds you responsible for the accident, you may face legal penalties such as fines, license suspension or revocation, and even criminal charges in certain circumstances.
It’s important to note that driving without insurance or with insufficient insurance is illegal in Florida. Motor Vehicle owners are required to have a minimum amount of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP), as well as, $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance. That minimum policy or “Full coverage” will not protect you. It’s terrible insurance. Don’t be fooled into thinking yo are completely protected. Be sure to acquire bodily injury insurance at a minimum level of $50,000. It’s relatively cheap so ask your insurance agent. It’s also important to purchase UM coverage. See our prior blog about UM Coverage and Stacking
If you do find yourself in a situation where you have caused an accident and don’t have adequate insurance, you may find yourself having your wages garnished, your tax returns paid to the plaintiff, and being placed in a terrible financial situation. Think ahead, and prepare by talking to an insurance agent. It’s important to have bodily injury insurance so if you are negligent that you have insurance help pay the bill rather than coming out of pocket. Most top attorneys in Florida recommend that you have bodily injury insurance and Uninsured motorist coverage.
Good Luck and drive safely!