If you have suffered an Orange County crash, you will need to meet certain legal requirements before you can actually recover damages. An Orange County car accident attorney can help you understand these requirements and file a claim without wasting any time.
When you are in the process of filing a claim, you may be asked by the insurance company to provide an affidavit. It is important to understand what an affidavit and how you can obtain one to provide alongside your Orange County crash claim for compensatory damages.
What Is an Affidavit?
An affidavit is simply a legal document that is signed by you. It typically contains facts that are relevant to a car crash, so that you legally confirm these facts through the affidavit. An affidavit may be used during negotiations with an insurance company and can also be produced as evidence in a court of law. Different types of affidavits are relevant to a car accident. Here is a look at these.
Affidavit for Release of an Orange County Crash Report
When an accident takes place, law enforcement personnel from the local city, county, or a state agency typically respond. The agency that responds to the crash scene then files the crash report. This report becomes available several days later.
When filed by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), it takes nearly 10 days for the report to become available. Even then, the report is not available to the public at large for another 50 days. So any crash report remains confidential for at least 60 days from the date it is filed.
If you want to access a crash report before this period expires, you are required to provide an affidavit for the release of crash report. In this affidavit, you confirm that you are one of the persons or entities authorized to access the report under the state laws.
This type of affidavit is typically required from the defendant in a car accident claim. It is also known as an affidavit of no excess insurance, or no additional insurance. If you have suffered losses due to the fault of another driver, your first recourse is to seek compensation from your insurer. This is because Florida is a no-fault car insurance state, which means you must first seek compensatory damages under your own insurance policy after a crash.
However, if your losses exceed the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, you can file a claim for damages with the at-fault driver.
The problem with such a claim is that an at-fault driver may not have sufficient insurance coverage. When this is the case, you and your lawyer should want to know whether the driver has any other valuable assets. Specifically, an affidavit of this type is requested to see if the defendant has an umbrella policy that may be used to cover your damages as the plaintiff.
This information allows you to decide whether to settle for the driver’s insurance policy limits or to pursue a lawsuit to recover the compensation you deserve. If the defendant lacks any other financial assets, pursuing a lawsuit may not be worth it. On the other hand, if a defendant has significant assets other than the insurance policy itself, you may be able to secure a better settlement through a lawsuit.
Exempt and Non-Exempt Assets
When you are seeking damages from an at-fault driver, the other driver may declare only non-exempt assets in a financial affidavit. These are in contrast to exempt assets. Exempts assets are assets which are protected and exempt from collection by you as a plaintiff. Examples include annuities and retirement funds of the defendant.
On the other hand, non-exempt assets are the ones which can be used to pay for your crash-related losses. Such assets include the defendant’s business, bank account, residential and commercial property, and so on.
Why Hire an Orange County Crash Attorney?
It is important to understand how car crash claims work in order to recover the compensation you deserve. Without legal help, you may be able to file a claim but your odds of success will be limited. With a lawyer by your side, you can request a financial affidavit, understand the defendant’s financial situation, and make a decision that helps you secure the maximum amount of compensatory damages.
Here at the Crockett Law Group, we help Orange County crash victims seek a fair settlement for their losses. Call us today to discuss your claim with our lawyers.