Articles Posted in Insurance

approved-stamped-300x200
As a South Florida personal injury firm our office reviews and handles hundreds of cases yearly.  Every so often we are faced with a client/claimant who is afraid to file a claim because they are afraid of a rate increase.  What should you do when faced with this scenario?

Will your automobile insurance premiums jump up after you’re in an accident and make a claim? If you were not to blame for what happened, then the answer is easy. No. This is true even if you are injured in the accident and you file an insurance claim to cover your harm.   In a rear end collision the driver who is rear-ended should not experience or be assessed a rate increase.

If you are partially or completely at fault you may experience a rate increase as a result of the accident.  An example of partial fault is an intersectional collision that usually will be determined to have been caused by the negligence of drivers involved.

windshield-300x200
627.7288 Comprehensive coverage; deductible not to apply to motor vehicle glass.

“The deductible provisions of any policy of motor vehicle insurance, delivered or issued in this state by an authorized insurer, providing comprehensive coverage or combined additional coverage shall not be applicable to damage to the windshield of any motor vehicle covered under such policy.”

What this legal jargon means is if you have comprehensive or combined additional coverage, there is no deductible for repair to any vehicle covered under such policy.  Why does it matter to you and why should it?  Number one, no deductible means no out-of-pocket expense to the insured.  It sounds fairly simple.  But often times it is not.  Most insurance companies seek to direct you to their vendor, which on its face is okay, but the problem comes when you decide you want to use your own vendor.  Services provided may range from the repair of a chip to the obviously more costly replacement.

DRG Law Firm - Homeowners Insurance

DRG Law Firm | Helping you with homeowners claims.

Homeowner’s Claims – How to Minimize the Minefield and Maximize Recovery

A/K/A “The Homeowner’s Claims Process”

It is not our nature to comment on political matters in out notes. We would like to focus this analysis from a purely pragmatic stance. The word pragmatism is thrown around constantly of late by many politicians and commentators. However, the use of the pragmatism as a form of analysis is perverted in the mainstream.

Pragmatism, is an essential American philosophy. The idea behind pragmatism is to analyze things from a data driven or scientific point of view. In other words, to analyze circumstances based on factual analysis, rather than focus on ideological or partisan points of view. This ideology has percolated below the surface and influenced American endeavors since the 1870’s. Indeed, it has been a blessing to this great nation due to its nature in finding solutions without being hinged to ideals, and ultimately infused with a forward looking stance.

We would like to remain pragmatic when it pertains to the issue of undocumented drivers in the state of Florida and in the Miami area in particular. As Miami Car accident attorneys we understand profoundly issues pertaining to undocumented drivers. It would appear that about 23% of drivers in Florida are  uninsured or underinsured. This would mean that if you are injured in an accident in Florida, then there is a 1 in 4 probability that the person who caused the injury has no coverage. This statistic may be higher as Florida law does not require bodily injury coverage, which covers injuries caused by a driver to other parties. In other words, even if a driver has insurance, it may be possible that the coverage they acquired was inadequate to cover bodily injury damages.

So the entire family is packed excited and ready to go on their first sea cruise.  The excitement is more often than not well-placed.  Accidents happen in life.  Accidents happen in hotels, shopping centers, public places, private homes … the list is endless.  In most cases the cruise is a positive experience.   We need not discuss those here.  Injured cruise passengers are faced with many obstacles not usually encountered in other venues.  For the unlucky few here are some rather important guidelines.

The facts of any maritime accident will be strikingly similar to those in other venues.  But the differences between how maritime claims are processed and resolved might make the hair on potential cruisers stand up.   Most cruise lines are considered common carriers.  A common carrier is an individual or company that transports goods or passengers on regular routes at set rates, which includes cruise ships (and also airplanes, buses, ferries, and trains). A common carrier must use the highest degree of care to safely transport its passengers to their destination. But unlike the legal theory of strict liability, in which fault need not be established, passengers of common carriers must prove negligence or intent on behalf of the carrier (as governed by 47 U.S.C. § 206).

The first difference is “you are not in Kansas anymore”.  For the most parts cruise lines decide on a “reasonable” statute of limitations.  Of course to the cruise ship industry “reasonable” is a term of art.  In most cases the time to file is either 1 or 2 years from the date of accident.    South Florida, specifically the cruise ports of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa handle thousands of passengers daily.  More often than not cruise ship accident attorneys are locally accessible in each of these ports of departure.

Florida has approximately 14 million registered vehicles.  Traffic was tough enough to negotiate when the car was basically a fortress of solitude.  The only distractions (prior to the now ubiquitous mobile phone) that drivers had to navigate through were the errant pedestrian or perhaps the bikini-clad hot dog vendor.

As Miami accident lawyers, we know that distractions have geometrically proliferated since the advent of the Apple iPhone (among many other competitors).  Many of the smartphone features operate as lethal attention misdirection.  One only has to navigate through the already congested roadways of Florida to see the additional and extremely dangerous distractions that the smartphone has burdened Floridian commuters with.

Before the advent of the mobile phone and then its progeny, the smartphone, during the commute to work you would see women drivers putting on make-up, male drivers shaving at the same stop-lights… but at least their cars were stopped.  Smartphones changed the nature, frequency and severity of distraction with predictably lethal and obscene results.  Legislation has been passed or contemplated in almost every jurisdiction.  Studies reveal that a texting driving is as dangerous as an intoxicated motor vehicle operator.   In response to the rapid increase in smartphone distracted motor vehicle accidents Florida, in October, 2013 enacted a limited ban on text messaging while driving. The law poses no limitations on cell phone use, however.

As the title suggests here, we are going to discuss the time limits involved one has as it pertains to certain claims. The term attorneys and lawyers use when referring to time limits in which to file a claim is the statute of limitations. In Florida different types of actions have different statute of limitations. As Miami Car Accident attorneys we are keenly aware of these limitations.

In Florida, Annotated Statute 95.11. Claims for injuries related to car accidents and slip and falls in Fort Lauderdale and throughout Florida fall under the category of Negligence. As it pertains to negligence, the relevant statute states in part: “(3) WITHIN FOUR YEARS.— (a) An action founded on negligence.”  Therefore, an actions for a car accident or slip/trip and fall cannot be had outside of this four year parameter.

However, the statute of limitations deserves more analysis. The reason being, that an injury resulting from negligence should not be treated as if a victim had four years to deal with it. In other words, the statute of limitations for a negligence claim is one thing, and what is a reasonable time in which to treat an injury medically is quite another. Although the statute of limitations in Florida for injuries resulting from negligence is four years, it goes without saying that an injury should be treated and documented within a reasonable time.

As Miami Injury attorneys we often hear from our prospective clients about their lack of understanding regarding their insurance coverage. To truly understand an insurance policy, it is important to understand the basics. As we explained in our previous blog pertaining to post loss conditions, an insurance policy is nothing more than a contract. It is essentially a promise to cover certain losses or events, in exchange for premium. Most insurance policies require an insured to comply with certain conditions. If this conditions are adhered to and no exclusions apply, then coverage of the loss should occur.

With insurance policies it is paramount to look at details. Whether a loss or event is covered will turn on specific language in the policy. Do not assume that certain items or losses will be covered because they were covered in your previous policy. On many occasions, policy language changes from year to year. Therefore, one may assume that certain circumstances are covered when a policy is renewed, but due to policy language changes that may not be the case. In other words, when buying new coverage it is important to know exactly what you’re getting.

So how do you know what is covered under your policy? The declarations page of most policies will relay what and who is covered. For example, with a car policy one can see what types of coverage is available and what cars are covered. Here we note that Florida is one of the only states that does not require Bodily Injury coverage. The only requirements in Florida are PIP property damage coverage. The PIP coverage should cover your own medical expenses up to $10,000.00, and property damage coverage provide at least $10,000 to cover damage to other vehicles. Indeed, if your policy complies with these requirements, then one is most likely complying with the minimum requirements in Florida. However, meeting the minimum requirement may not be the best course of action when it comes to acquiring insurance. The declarations page will relay whether Bodily Injury, Med Pay, Uninsured Motorist, and or Collision coverage is present as well.  Bodily Injury offers coverage to the other parties that may have been insured as a result of a collision. Med Pay offers coverage for medical expenses beyond the PIP coverage. Uninsured Motorist provides coverage if you were insured in an accident and the culpable party has no Bodily Injury or insufficient ability to compensate for the damages. Collision coverage covers damages to your own vehicle.

Last week I wrote about accidents caused by apps with augmented reality features. As a Miami injury attorney I relayed the dangers these apps can cause by distracting drivers from their environment. I also touched on the issue of autonomous vehicles, but did not really expand the issue. There are interesting and concerning liability issues concerning autonomous vehicles.

It should be mentioned that autonomous mechanisms also have a tremendous impact on society, as well. I want to note though, that I am in no way criticizing advance, but rather just making observations. It should be noted that jobs that include driving employ a tremendous amount of the male population in the U.S. and around the world. In fact, some companies have already developed the technology to turn trucks into automated vehicles.

In recent years we hear how immigrants are taking away jobs, but these critics fail to see that most jobs have disappeared due to the advent of automation. The immigrant issue seems to be a well organized distraction. For example, a simple AI (artificial intelligence) can answer thousands of calls a day. These phone center jobs use to be a very import source of employment. It goes without saying that automation also reduced the need for many positions on factory floors and this number is increasing because of the evolution of robotics.