Let’s focus for a moment on the most common scenario: You were injured in a recreational boating accident, and you have a claim against either a vessel operator or a vessel owner. All recreational boat and watercraft owners and operators should have liability insurance. While boat insurance is not required in Florida, responsible boaters will carry insurance to protect themselves (and others) in the event of an accident. So, let’s say you have an insurance claim. What happens now? Once your boat accident attorney investigates and determines liability, he or she will file a claim with the operator’s or owner’s insurance company.
At this point, the insurance company will conduct its own investigation. But, while your attorney’s investigation will focus on uncovering the facts, the insurance company’s investigation will focus on finding any possible way to deny your claim for coverage. After conducting its investigation, the insurance company will make a determination of liability. If it accepts liability, your lawyer’s efforts will focus on negotiating a favorable settlement (or preparing to go to trial on damages if necessary). If it denies liability, your attorney will need to use the evidence gathered from his or her investigation to prove that the denial is unjustified.
Once your insurance claim gets past the liability stage, the next major task is proving how much you are entitled to recover. This involves calculating the costs of your present and future medical treatment, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other losses. It is essential that you work closely with your attorney during this stage of the process. The more you can do to help prove your losses, the more you will be able to recover. If the insurance company makes a settlement offer, your boat accident law firm will help you decide whether to accept. If you accept, you will receive a settlement check, and your claim will be over. If you reject the offer and the insurance company refuses to offer more, your claim will need to proceed to court.