Articles Posted in Vehicle Property Damage

car wreck accident south florida miami personal injury

Personal Injury Related Car Accident in Miami Increase

Recent statistics on traffic accidents in Miami area are quite surprising. As a Miami car accident attorney, it was my hypothesis that current technology in newer vehicles would result in far fewer collisions. However, this premise seems to be erroneous. Reports from the Florida Department of Highway safety and Motor vehicles relay this increase from 2014 to 2015.

It should be noted that fatalities have increased, as well.  Fatalities increased dramatically 17% from 2014 to 2015. There are about 1025 crashes throughout Florida any given according to these statistics. These daily occurrences have increased about 9%. One attributable element may be an increase in registered vehicles from 2014 to 2015. Another factor that may have contributed to the increase could be that drivers are simply driving more. Therefore, although safety mechanisms may have increased. But these safety features may be negated by an increase in exposure by drivers to the road. The more miles of the road, then the higher the risk. If you analyze this trend from 2011 to 2015, then it would appear the increase in miles traveled per driver is what caused the spike from 2014 to 2015. From 2011 to 2014 the numbers of injuries and fatalities seem static.

As South Florida auto accident lawyers we are well aware of the pain and inconvenience that can come as a result of being involved in an automobile accident, even more so should the accident be caused by someone else’s reckless actions. Aside from the property damage sustained in an auto accident, being involved in an auto accident may cause a wide range of complex injuries. It is not uncommon for someone involved in a “low impact” auto accident to suffer from hairline fractures, broken bones, and injuries to the cervical, lumbar, or thoracic spine. Many times low impact accidents may not seem to reflect such injuries, but several factors including the persons age, health, and prior injuries play a big role on how his or her body takes an impact during a collision. High speed collisions on the other hand usually result in more severe injuries and may require surgical repair and extensive physical therapy.

Besides the pain and suffering that a car accident victim is subjected to, there are usually high costs associated with being involved in an auto accident. Both medical and property damage costs can exceed into the thousands of dollars as a result of a single auto accident. Most drivers here in South Florida are usually aware of this, which is why many responsible South Floridians seek out automobile insurance in the first place. What many South Florida drivers are unaware of is the importance of being protected against uninsured motorists. Florida law currently requires that drivers carry a minimum of ten thousand dollars in personal injury protection coverage and property damage coverage. However, there are no requirements that drivers carry bodily injury liability insurance or uninsured motorist coverage. As a result, there are countless motor vehicle accidents in which drivers and passengers sustain serious and permanent bodily injuries due to the negligence of others that do not carry bodily injury insurance coverage or the amount is insufficient for the damages they cause. This may leave a car accident victim, to not only deal with the pain and suffering of any related injuries caused by an accident, but also with the financial burden of covering the high costs of medical treatment for those injuries.

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Many Floridians purchasing a new car seek out Gap insurance when trying to acquire additional ways to protect their purchase. In an attempt to protect themselves against theft and damage Gap insurance can be a life saver if you owe more than what your automobile is currently worth. Gap insurance is intended to pay the vehicle owner for the “gap” between what is owed on a vehicle and the current market value of the vehicle, in the event the vehicle is declared a totaled loss. But what happens when you have acquired Gap insurance, report a claim and are denied coverage?

Unfortunately many automobile owners who are insured and have Gap coverage find themselves in this very predicament. Fortunately for those who are facing those circumstances, they have the option to consult with a dedicated Gap insurance claims attorney. The fact of the matter is that the dealership who initially sold the policy to the purchaser at the time when they were purchasing the automobile most probably did not take the time to thoroughly explain how the insurance worked. Further the dealer more than likely did not advise how to properly report and process a claim should you be put in a situation where you would need to utilize this type of coverage. Many of those who have purchased this type of coverage do not have the slightest clue on how or where to begin when it comes to filing a claim. Acquiring the Gap insurance only requires the buyer to fill out paperwork one time, at the time of purchase of the automobile with no renewal documents or agents to contact. The fact is that dealerships are not licensed to sell insurance but are allowed to sell Gap insurance. It is no wonder that many insured’s are left frustrated and confused when filing a claim as a result of lack of knowledge.

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What is meant by diminished car value? Unfortunately, this is not a term that is commonly used in our lexicon. As a result, many vehicular accident victims are unaware of what this means. As Miami diminished car value attorneys, we are aware of all your rights after a car accident. Diminished car value is just a fancy way of saying “loss of value.”

There are multiple matters that are related to a property damage claim as it pertains to a car accident. In a South Florida car accident, property damage refers to the effect an impact has on a vehicle after an accident. All Florida drivers by law are required to have a property damage insurance of at least $10,000. Note that property damage is only applicable to damage to other vehicles, but not your own. Therefore, if you want to have coverage for your own vehicle you need collision coverage. You can use collision coverage whether you are at fault or not. However, you will probably have to take into account a deductible.

A property damage claim may have various components such as, repairs, loss of use, rental, and diminished value. Most accident victims are immediately concerned with repairs to their vehicle. Car victims either hurry to get monies to perform repairs, or take their vehicle to a garage to get work done on the vehicle. As South Florida loss of vehicle value attorney we understand the need of accident victims to quickly fix their vehicles. After all, it is almost impossible to move around South Florida without a vehicle. Some vehicle owners may suffer what is termed a “total loss” after a vehicular collision. This means that repairs to a vehicle exceed the actual value of the car. In such a scenario the insurance company will pay the actual value of the car at the time of the accident.

A diminished car value claim will probably not be applicable to a total loss scenario. However, it will be applicable to a scenario in which repairs are made to your vehicle after a car accident. The moment a vehicle is in an accident its value may be affected. Even if the vehicle is repaired fully its value may be diminished by a substantial percent. This is where our office of Miami-Dade loss of vehicle value attorneys can assist you. We can help make the case that since your vehicle was involved in accident, then it most likely has depreciated in value in comparison of other vehicles of like kind and make. Further, our office will try to get the maximum compensation for your loss.
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Finding an attorney to help you with your car claim or an EUO (Sworn Statement) can be very difficult when you are at fault. If you are not at fault, then there are bench adds, billboards, internet, and TV commercials which provide a substantial number of attorneys you can choose from. If you are reading this, then most likely it is because you have had difficulty finding an attorney to assist you with your particular problem.

The reason it is difficult to find an attorney to help you with your property damage claim/vehicle claim is that most attorneys in these field work on a contingency fee basis. That means that the attorney would take a percentage of the recovery. As you may know, that is just not viable in most property damage/vehicle claims. Such a fee would leave the client below the mark of what he/she may need to fix his/her vehicle or even get a new one. If the damage is great or the value of the vehicle is adequate, then it may make sense to work such a case on a contingency. However, in most instances this is not the case.

EUO’s can be somewhat intimidating. For that reason it is wise to hire a Miami-Dade at-fault insurance claims attorney to assist you. EUOs Bring recollections of an old Monty Python skit dealing with the Spanish inquisition. Essentially, three men jump out and say, “nobody ever expects the Spanish inquisition.” This relates to EUO’s because at times they may seem like an inquisition. Indeed, most Florida policyholders are not used to being questioned in such a manner.

Most attorneys have no issue attending an EUO or recorded statement when the client is not fault. However, they have very little incentive to attend the EUO or recorded statement of an at- fault individual. No worries, Florida at-fault property/vehicle claim attorneys are here to help you. It is not wise to attend an EUO or allow a recorded statement without an attorney present. An attorney can review you policy and determine what your rights are and help you with an EUO, recorded statement, and property damage claim.

EUO’s may also be requested by your homeowner’s insurance. They are not exclusive to vehicle property damage claims. EUO’s are usually allowed under any policy that covers your interests. This is a post loss mechanism insurance companies use to evaluate the loss. However, on many occasions EUO’s may be used to find ways to deny a claim or deny coverage. For these reasons it is important to hire an attorney to assist your EUO.

Our office charges a flat fee of $500 for a consult and EUO attendance. If the EUO is for two people, then the fee is $600. Our office has a variety of services when it comes to assistance on property/vehicle damage claims against your own insurance company or any other insurance involved in your accident. For $75 we offer forms and instructions to help you through your claims process. We offer a 30 minute consult for $100 to give you guidance as it pertains to your claim. For this service it may be wise to gather all the paperwork you may have and forward it to our office for review. If you want us to handle your vehicle claim, then we provide a service based on a reasonable hourly fee.
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I have often heard the question, “why should I hire an attorney or adjuster to help me with my claim?” This may refer to homeowners, vehicle, commercial, life insurance, or any other type of first party claim. A first party claim is made against your own insurer. My advice as a South Florida insurance claims attorney is that it is not wise to pursue a claim against an insurance company on your own. This applies even the when the claim seems simple. As a Florida insurance attorney I know there is nothing simple about making claims against insurers.

The reason one should not pursue a claim without assistance is because most insurance companies have adopted the Mckinsey model. Mckinsey & Company is a consulting firm for Fortune 500 companies. In the early 1990’s Mckinsey was hired by Allstate insurance company and it developed a strategy to increase profits. The strategy called for denial, delay, defending, and undervaluing claims. This strategy worked quite well as Allstate doubled its profits in 2007 to around 4.6 billion. It should be noted that this was after the terrible hurricane season of 2005. It has become apparent that many insurance companies have followed suit and incorporated the Mckinsey model. This has had a devastating effect on many industries and on almost all claimants.

Before the 1990’s, insurance companies, for the most part, had a good faith approach to resolving claims. Therefore, many policy holders believe that their insurance company is working under an old standard. They believe that since their claim is genuine there is no reason for an insurance company to behave in an untrustworthy fashion. Of course, there are still insurance companies that still work in good faith and for the benefit of their insured. However, it is not wise to make this assumption. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you hire an attorney or public adjuster to assist you with your claim.

The greatest complaint we hear against hiring an attorney is the cost. Most attorneys in these types of cases take a contingency fee. This means they take a percentage of the final recovery and usually amounts to 20% to 40%. Of course, this seems to be a tremendous amount. However, it should be noted that an attorney or public adjuster increases the value of your claim threefold.

Still, if you feel that you can work on the claim on your own, our firm will soon provide a system to do this. We will provide our clients with instructions and forms to pursue their own claims. It should be noted that this will be at your own risk. The forms will be provided for a minimal fee and we will also provide consulting services for a nominal fee as well. You can always retain us at any time during duress the process and we will take over the file.
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As South Florida accident attorneys we seldom opine about matters pertaining to national politics and immigration. However, here we make an exception. States like Arizona, Texas, and Nebraska are unwilling to provide driver’s licenses to Dreamers. These are individuals, under the age of thirty, who through no fault of their own, were brought to the United States as children and don’t have legal status. Recently, president Obama instated a policy that would give these young individuals “deferred status.” In other words, they will be able to get a social security number, work permit, and will be exempt from deportation for a period of two years.

The actions by Governors like Brewer of Arizona and Perry of Texas are simply disgusting. These actions are nothing short of tyranny. We can find no other word for it. They can use all the neutral language they want to justify their actions, but their motives are clear. This can only be the result of hate and prejudice. Governor Brewer asked the Federal government to take action on immigration. President Obama did what was in his power to assist with the immigration dilemma. This administration increased the rate of deportation to unparalleled and President Obama also issued guidelines providing “deferred status” to Dreamers.

Dreamers are Americans in every sense, but don’t have legal status. Before this “deferred action” status was provided, they lived in fear. A person who has committed no wrong should not have to fear anything from the state. Indeed, that must be one of the motivations for granting this “deferred status.” Yet, Governors like Brewer want to instill this sense of fear on these young people. Governor Brewer is also well aware that the majority of the individuals affected are Latinos. The Governor may also be aware that her actions in essence nullify the efforts of President Obama. It is very difficult to move around without a car in a state like Arizona. A work permit means little, if a Dreamer can’t drive to his/her job.

It is uncertain, whether Governor Brewer is aware of the harm she is doing to her own constituents. We are referring to insurance coverage. We want all drivers to have a license and insurance. As a Miami car accident attorneys I have seen the effects of not providing licenses to undocumented immigrants. It is our hope that Florida does not enact measures similar to Arizona. This ultimately results in victims not getting compensated for their injuries.

The purpose is to demonstrate that mean spirited measure have both effects on their target, and the constituents. Thus, there is no benefit in not allowing “deferred status” beneficiaries to obtain driver’s licenses. It is much more beneficial to let these individuals pay for their license, cars, gas, and insurance. We could be talking about more than a million new drivers on the roads of America. The economic benefits are tremendous given these great numbers.
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As a South Florida car accident attorneys we understand the frustrations of dealing with the aftermath of an accident. One of the most frustrating things to deal with after an accident is the property damage. In other words, getting your vehicle fixed. Many people just don’t want to deal with the eyesore of dented or destroyed car. They want to get back to normal as soon as they can. However, this is not always so simple.

Unfortunately, driving in the streets of Miami-Dade is a bit like walking into a casino. If you are involved in car accident your frustration level will vary depending on what insurance company the culpable driver has. This is especially true when you are dealing with a total loss. Section 319.30 of the Florida Statutes define total loss in the following manner:

[A total loss occurs][w]hen an uninsured motor vehicle or mobile home is wrecked or damaged and the cost, at the time of loss, of repairing or rebuilding the vehicle is 80 percent or more of the cost to the owner of replacing the wrecked or damaged motor vehicle or mobile home with one of like kind and quality.

What this means is that if the cost of repairs amounts to 80% or more of the value of the vehicle, then it will most likely be deemed a total loss. For Example, if a vehicle is worth $5,000 at the time of the accident and repairing the vehicle will cost $7,000, then the likely result is a total loss. The question becomes then, what are your options after a total loss. One consequence which may be difficult to deal with is that the insurance company values your car at the time of the loss and you still owe the bank money. This is an issue that was addressed in a previous blog about Gap Insurance.

As Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys we understand that another problem that is common is the issue of time. As was mentioned above driving in South Florida and dealing with car accidents is a bit like the lottery. The insurance company of the culpable party makes a difference as to how much and when you will be paid for damages to your vehicle. In fact, many times it is best to process your property damage through your own collision insurance. This is assuming you have collision insurance. Otherwise you have no choice but to deal with the insurance company provided by the culpable party. If you have collision insurance then most likely you will have a deductible which will most likely be reimbursed by the culpable person’s insurance company in time. Note the operative language “in time.” But in the end this may be the best recourse if you want to resolve the property damage issues quickly.

Alright, so what happens if you have a total loss and you are making a claim against the culpable person’s insurance company. The best case scenario is that the insurance company responds in an efficient manner and determines that the vehicle is a total loss and that it is willing to pay the actual cash value of the vehicle at the time of the crash. This offer may take one of the following forms:

1) The insurance company will pay the actual cash value and will keep the destroyed or totaled vehicle.
2) The insurance company will pay the actual cash value and will allow you to keep vehicle.
3) The insurance company will pay the actual cash value and will be deem vehicle salvaged. In this you can get further compensation when you take vehicle to a salvage yard.

As Miami car accident attorneys many times we are asked what to make of these options. The answer requires a case by case analysis. Of course, it is always best when you get paid the actual value of your car and get to keep with a clean title. This often happens with older vehicles with little damage. This is because the damage is minor, but yet the repair cost more than 80% of vehicle.
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