When you think of a car accident, you are might be tempted to believe that there can only be one at-fault person, but this is a common misconception. Oftentimes, more than one individual is been at-fault in an accident. Failing to identify each at-fault party can be a very costly mistake in many instances. If you’re uncertain about the fault, a car accident attorney can review your case.
Why Identifying All Parties is Important
Florida law requires an owner or operator of a vehicle to carry at least $10,000 worth of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage, pursuant to F.S.627.733(1), but $10,000 dollars of PIP coverage will only pay for a fraction of the medical bills incurred by an injured driver in a serious auto accident. Often, the at-fault driver will only carry a minimal amount of bodily injury coverage, which is normally $10,000 on a financed vehicle. After the at-fault driver’s insurance company has paid $10,000, the insurance carrier is normally no longer responsible to pay for any damages that resulted from the actions of its insured.
When multiple parties are at fault in an accident, however, an injured driver has the ability to file a claim under each at-fault party’s bodily insurance coverage. For example, if there are three at-fault drivers involved in an accident and each at-fault driver is carrying $10,000 of bodily injury coverage, the injured driver has $30,000 of bodily injury coverage available to recoup damages from, $10,000 per at-fault driver.
Filing Separate Claims Through Each Party’s Insurance
A car accident attorney will start the process of filing a claim against each at-fault driver, but normally, an injured driver will have outstanding medical bills from multiple physicians by the time a settlement agreement has been reached with each insurance carrier.
Holding Proceeds In Escrow
When physicians render care in connection with a car accident, the doctor will often have an outstanding balance that the injured driver must satisfy. The physician will assert a medical lien on the proceeds of any settlement to insure that all medical bills will be satisfied, prior to any settlement proceeds being dispersed to the injured driver. As each individual claim is settled, the proceeds are placed in a client trust account until all claims have been settled and all liens have been satisfied. An experienced car accident will negotiate any outstanding medical liens in order to maximize the amount money their client can collect from the settlement proceeds.
Releasing Each Party
When a settlement agreement is reached with an at-fault driver’s insurance company, one thing the insurance carrier might require is a release of liability. It is important to understand that, by signing a release of liability, you are releasing both the at-fault driver and their insurance company from any additional liability. It is always advisable to consult with an experienced car accident attorney, prior to signing a release from the insurance company.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help?
Before a release is executed by an injured driver, a car accident attorney should ensure that each portion of the claim has been settled, including property damage. Moreover, all damages should be accounted for such as medical bills, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. Lastly, a car accident attorney will provide their client with an in-depth analysis of all of the rights an injured driver is giving up by accepting the settlement agreement and signing the release of liability.