If you’ve been involved in an auto accident and are facing a bodily injury claim against you, the experience you’re about to go through will be intensely stressful, and it may come with significant financial ramifications. The best thing you can do is to understand what your legal rights and obligations are in the situation, and then be proactive in taking the necessary steps to protect yourself and your assets. In this guide, we’ll cover the steps you need to take when a false bodily injury claim is made against you, as well as, the steps you need to take to protect your assets if a lawsuit is brought against you.
What Does It Mean When There Is a Bodily Injury Claim Against Me?
When a bodily injury claim is made against you in the State of Florida, it means that the other party is alleging that your negligence caused them physical harm, and they are seeking compensation for the damages. These damages could range from medical bills and medication, to ongoing care, lost wages, and rehabilitative services. Your obligation in this situation will vary depending on the particulars of your case, which is why it’s important to seek out legal representation, to ensure that you understand your rights and responsibilities.
The Value In Remaining Calm: Taking a Breath & Reporting the Accident
It’s important to remember that any kind of accident involving bodily injury must be reported as soon as possible to both your insurance provider and the legal authorities in the State of Florida. It’s also essential that you remain calm and collected throughout the process, and do not agree or deny any fault or responsibility until you have discussed matters over with an experienced lawyer. You should also never assume guilt – at least initially – until the facts of the case have been properly examined.
In addition to seeking out expert legal advice from an experienced lawyer familiar with the complexities of personal injury claims in Florida law – particularly when handling false auto accident claims – there are other measures that can be taken which may help protect assets during such processes:
- Always call 911, and ask for police to report to the scene, even if nobody appears injured. If the other driver is trying to talk you out of calling law enforcement or is protesting the decision to call 911, make note of this and do it anyway.
- If law enforcement does respond to the accident, get a copy of the police report. This serves as your first written record of the accident.
- Make sure to document every detail related to any accidents as soon as possible following their occurrence; taking photos, recording statements, and securing witness testimony could prove invaluable should disputes arise further down the line.
- Always communicate clearly between yourself and the insurer (if present) regarding damages or repairs needed following an incident; doing so promptly is especially important given state laws specifying time frames within which settlements must occur.
- Even if uncertain whether liable or not, provide whatever information required by law, and never sign anything without first consulting with an experienced attorney.
If your insurance company disagrees with the claim, they may take additional steps to investigate the matter and determine and potentially hire a lawyer to defend you if a lawsuit if filed.
How Do I Protect Myself In The Event An Auto Accident Turns Into a Lawsuit?
In some cases, bodily injury claims for car accidents can result in legal action – particularly if the driver has minimum insurance coverage or the defendant appears to have considerable assets that are unprotected. If the at-fault driver and vehicle owner carry an insurance policy with inadequate personal injury limits, the injured claimant may pursue a money judgment through litigation, as this may provide more compensation than can be obtained through an insurance settlement. With this said, after an auto accident, you should take the following steps to protect your assets:
- If you do have insurance, then it’s important to discuss with the insurance carrier whether the likely damages from a bodily injury claim are within their policy limits. This information can help both parties better understand the situation and decide if legal action needs to be pursued for additional compensation. In some cases, an insurance company may be willing to increase its policy limit in order to settle the matter without taking it to court. Knowing whether this is an option can save all parties involved time and money, as well as potentially reduce stress levels during such a difficult time. Always insist your insurance company resolve the claim within your policy limits to protect you from potential exposure to your personal assets, and do it in writing. It’s always better to have your insurance company settle a claim made against you within your available insurance coverage limits rather than risk having your personal assets exposed through a large jury verdict.
- In the event that the injured person is successful in a lawsuit, it is important to determine which assets may be protected from collection. This can include funds in certain types of trusts or accounts, as well as any property that is exempt from seizure under state law. Knowing about these asset protections can help an injured person decide whether to pursue legal action and what kind of judgment may be possible if they are successful.
- To better protect vulnerable assets, it is important to implement a plan of action. The best course of action is to obtain higher limits of insurance coverage. The higher your limits of insurance coverage, the more protected you are from potential personal financial exposure. This should include an assessment of existing assets, as well as any potential risks or liabilities associated with them. It can also involve setting up legal structures such as trusts and corporations that provide asset protection or obtaining insurance coverage to guard against losses. Additionally, creating a comprehensive plan for financial planning and budgeting can help an individual or businesses protect their assets and manage their finances more effectively.
- In order to demonstrate that the collection of a money judgment would be difficult, consider submitting a financial affidavit. This document should provide detailed information about assets, income, debts, and other financial obligations. It should also disclose any assets that can be protected from collection under state law or other legal structures. It is important to include accurate and up-to-date information in the affidavit so that a court can make an informed decision about the case.
If you’re dealing with a bodily claim that could turn into a lawsuit, don’t hesitate to take action to protect yourself and your assets. Contact Personal Injury of Florida today for a consultation to learn more about legal options and how we can help if you’re facing a bodily injury claim against you. We have the expertise to provide sound advice so that you can make the best decision for your circumstances. Don’t wait – schedule your consultation today by calling 561-507-5700; we’re available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.
May 3, 2023