Filing claim when police report stated no damage or injuries?
Eighteen months ago on a rainy day I was involved in a minor accident. Myself and the woman in front were stopped at a red light and when the light changed we both proceeded forward. After around 12 feet the woman just stopped in the middle of the intersection for no reason. At minimal speed, after just being stopped at the light, I ran into her.
To protect myself, and her, I called the local police. When they arrived and assessed the scene, and spoke with both parties involved, the police wrote a report stating no damage or injuries to either party.
The woman's insurance company called me and asked my version of events. When I explained that it was raining and she just stopped for no reason they told me that she had said it was a dry day and not to worry about it.
Now, 18 months later, her insurance company has sent me a bill for $13,000 for a personal injury claim. The woman driver was not the insured driver and has had MANY driving infractions of the same degree in the past. They have given me 10 days to pay.
This seems like a scam. What should I do? How do I protect myself? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Filing claim when police report stated no damage or injuries?":
The State of Florida is a no-fault insurance state. This means after the collision, the other driver likely turned the matter over to his insurance company. The driver's insurance company also likely paid their insured's personal injury bills, including medical and/or therapy bills. No-fault states do not require insurance companies to pay for their insured's pain and suffering.
After paying their insured's medical bills, the driver's insurance company turned around and "subrogated" against you. This means after paying their insured's personal injury claim they turned around and are now pursuing you for the amount of $13,000.
You can either pay the amount or retain an attorney to defend the claim. Unfortunately, in this type of claim attorneys seldom work on a contingency fee. This means you may have to pay the attorney on an hourly basis, which will be costly.
You may have had a reasonable claim for comparative negligence(fault) against the other driver. Learn more about comparative negligence here. However, because Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, any negligence on your part, however slight, bars you from recovery.
You can read the Florida statute on comparative fault here.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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