Article provided by Ferrer Shane, PL
Motor vehicle accidents are practically inevitable in Florida, considering the types of drivers on the road. Vacationers are often distracted by the state’s beautiful sites, and even those who are paying attention are likely to be unfamiliar with the roads and Florida traffic laws. Florida’s beaches are widely known as a hot spot for spring break, but partying students are not often the best drivers. Many of Florida’s drivers are senior citizens, who may have vision problems or other health problems interfering with their driving abilities.
If you are involved in a car crash in Florida, it is in your best interest to hire a local attorney familiar with relevant personal injury, traffic, insurance, consumer protection and criminal laws as early as possible. Your lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation and help you locate reliable mechanical and medical providers.
Suspicious Post-Accident Service Providers
A sometimes unsafe alternative to using legal counsel after an accident is to hire an unscrupulous accident management company, sometimes also called an accident administration firm or claims management service. Such outfits typically offer to coordinate your medical treatment, car rental, auto repair or replacement, and insurance benefits after an accident, sometimes offering free doctor visits and car-related services.
While legitimate accident administration firms exist, some of these types of companies lack integrity and they can harm already distressed accident victims. These companies may:
- Funnel all business to a particular medical practice, therapy or chiropractic clinic, or auto rental or repair service, referring you for unnecessary services at high prices just so that they can charge the insurance companies
- Take a cut from insurance payments or abscond with the money altogether
- Mislead you by implying they are affiliated with lawyers
- Use your accident to commit insurance fraud by filing inflated claims on your behalf
- Charge inappropriate fees
- Masquerade as insurance company representatives to gain your trust and money
- Operate unethically as a referral service for a particular law firm
Remember, attorneys must adhere to professional restrictions when advertising their legal services and soliciting clients. If someone contacts you promising to coordinate your accident recovery services, be suspicious. Consumers have some legal protections from entities attempting to sell them accident administration services.
In an attempt to isolate those involved in accidents from those that would prey upon them commercially, complex federal and state laws regulate the content, public nature and legitimate use of private information contained in police accident reports and other state motor vehicle records.
Businesses that use accident reports to identify or solicit potential accident service clients may be in violation of federal or law. Questions about such activity may be directed to federal or Florida state consumer protection and insurance agencies, the Florida Attorney General’s Office, law enforcement or your lawyer.
Seek Legal Representation
Your attorney can help you determine whether an accident service company has violated federal or Florida state laws and help you understand your legal remedies. He or she will also help you manage your affairs after an accident with only your best interests in mind and without any conflicts of interest. Your lawyer can coordinate accident investigation, defend your actions if necessary, fight for any monetary recovery to which you may be entitled and deal with the insurance companies on your behalf.