Whether it’s Tampa Bay, Florida or any other location in Florida, the answers are the same. Please consult our Tampa Bay, Florida office or one of our other locations in Florida for a consultation.

1. Rentals: How do I get a rental while my car is being fixed? I have no rental coverage.

  • Automobile drivers, in Florida, are required to have property damage insurance in a minimum $10,000 amount. Property damage insurance includes insurance to fix your car and the cost to rent a car while it’s being fixed. If the accident was the fault of another driver, then you have a right to ask the insurance company of the other driver/owner to pay the costs to fix your car and the costs of a rental while the car is being fixed. The rental costs allowed are for a car similar to the one that was damaged.
  • If you do not have your own rental insurance, then you have to pay for the cost of a rental yourself. Many drivers pay for collision insurance for their car. Your own collision insurance covers rental costs.

2. Diminished Value: When should I pursue a diminished value claim? Is it only for new cars?

  • Diminished value is the loss in market value of a vehicle after the repairs are made. Even though repairs can fix a car and are supposed to make it operate and look like it did before the accident, many buyers don’t like to buy a car that’s been in an accident. The lower price that buyers will pay because of the accident is the diminished value.
  • There is no requirement that the car be new or that the car be less than 3, 5 or a specific number of years old. To recover diminished value you will need the help of an auto appraisal expert. The expert will look at a variety of factors to determine the diminished value.
    • The make and model of the car
    • The age of the car – it is a factor. It’s not a controlling factor.
    • How many miles were on the care
    • What were the damages and the repairs.
  • Brooks Law Group works with qualified auto appraisers.
  • You can claim the diminished value from the insurance company of the at-fault owner/driver. Your own collision insurance normally won’t cover the diminished value of the car.

3. Total Vehicle: I don’t want my car totaled! What can I do? I rather get it fixed on my own. Can I get my car back? My car is worth more than the insurance company is offering me, what should I do?

  • A damaged vehicle has two figures associated with it:
    • The cost to fix the car. An auto body shop, an auto appraiser or your dealership will determine this cost
    • Value of the car before it was damaged. There are car value books (NADA and Blue books) that are used to value your car based on the make and model. There can be adjustments to the value based on the car’s condition and the car’s mileage.
  • Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles rules require insurance companies “total” the car, in Florida, if the cost to repair the car is over 80% of the value to fix it. If the car is totaled, the insurance company gives you the cost of the value of the car and you give the insurance company the title to the car.
  • There are some exceptions:
    • You can argue that the value of the car should be higher or that the costs to fix the car should be lower. These different values may make the percentage less than 80% – meaning the car isn’t totaled.
    • The total loss rule doesn’t apply to cars worth less than $1500
    • For cars valued at over $1500, if the insurance company and you agree to repair the car instead of getting the value you can get the money to fix the car. BUT:
      • Insurance companies rarely agree.
      • If the cost to repair is 100% or more of the car’s value, you have to notify the Florida Department so they can mark the car as a total loss. This latter requirement helps protect used car buyers.

4. Comprehensive vs. Collision Insurance

  • Comprehensive insurance pays damages for the loss or damage to your car if there was not a collision. Typical non-collision losses are fire, theft, vandalism and acts of nature. It includes acts such as a deer running into your parked car or lightning.
  • Collision insurance pays damages for the damage to your car caused by an accident with another vehicle or an accident while you’re operating the car.

5. PIP: Why am I getting a bill for medical treatment? What happens to the balance of the portion of medical bills PIP doesn’t cover?

  • Your medical bills should be paid through your PIP coverage, the other owner’s BI (Bodily injury coverage) or your UM (uninsured/underinsured coverage). Who pays what and who pays when are difficult questions. Please consult with Brooks Law Group to help you. You don’t want to settle any claims before you consult with a Florida car accident lawyer.
    • Normally your PIP coverage pays your medical bills up to the limit on the policy and up to a certain percentage.
    • After PIP benefits, the BI coverage pays your medical bills. BI only pays when the case is settled or the case goes to court. You don’t want to settle too early. BI requires a showing of fault by another person.
    • If there is no BI coverage or the BI coverage isn’t enough, then your UM policy pays your additional medical bills.

How our law firm can help?

If anyone you know is a victim of a car accident let our law firm help you get the recovery you deserve. During this difficult time we will help you receive the maximum compensation allowed by law and we will assist you through every step of the case. Our team of lawyers works with medical professionals, valuation experts, technical experts and other lawyers. If you or a loved one suffered an injury or a death please call us at 1-888-WE-MEAN-IT (1-888-936-3264) or email us at: [email protected].

Steve was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As was the practice for new doctors his father worked day and night during his medical residency at Charity Hospital there. Steve comes from a long line of doctors. His father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, even two uncles were all specialists and/or surgeons in their chosen medical specialties, including internal medicine specialist, obstetrics / gynecology, neurosurgery and general practice / surgery. His great-great grandfather was the Surgeon General of Ohio during the Civil War.