Category Archives:Auto Insurance

Insurance Myths: What type of Insurance is actually needed in Florida?

Insurance Myths: What type of Insurance is actually needed in Florida?

By: Tampa Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez, Esq.

Many of you have heard all types of story both good and bad about car insurance. Hopefully this article will help lift some of the vial of confusion.

I don’t need motorcycle insurance

Full Auto Coverage in the State of Florida - Photo of a man with a clip board pointing to a piece of paper that says insuranceInsurance is not need to register your motorcycle, but if you are in an accident and do not have insurance be prepared to pay for everything yourself out of pocket.  If you are found to be at fault (or even partially at fault) for the accident you are responsible for covering the costs of property damage and the bodily injury suffered by the other party. The owner of the motorcycle needs to carry Liability insurance.  Motorcycle owners are unable to purchase personal injury protection for their motorcycle even if they have it for their other vehicle.  You can also have your driving privileges suspended along with your registration and tag. To get your privileges back will cost you a lot in fees.

“Full Coverage”

There is no such thing as full coverage insurance in Florida. What most people have when they think that they have full coverage is property damage and personal injury protection only.  Basically, the bare minimum in Florida to obtain a driver’s license. These are the only two types of insurance coverages which are required by the state of Florida.  Frankly, this is the bare bones minimum and it is never enough.  Other insurance that you may consider to protect you and your family:

 Bodily Injury Liability referred to as BI. BI is to protect your personal assets if you caused or contributing to an accident. Basically, it kicks in if you are at fault.  If you do not have BI and are found at fault in judgment you are the one on the hook the settlement (money). If you don’t have Bodily Injury Liability coverage, and you want to have an attorney defend you in a lawsuit brought against you by an injured party, the attorney’s fees alone could be more than $20,000.00.  This does not even include what you would owe to the victim.  Typically, this is what you collect from the at-fault party when you are not at fault and are injured by the at-fault party.

Uninsured or underinsured Motorist coverage is referred to as UM.

When you have UM your own insurance company will pay you for your damages if the at-fault driver either does not have Bodily Injury Liability coverage or does not have sufficient coverage to adequately pay all of your damages.  Underinsured motorist coverage is perhaps the most important coverage you can buy to protect you and your family.  It is also the cheapest coverage you can buy “dollar for dollar.”

The belongings in my car are covered by my car insurance.

Only the vehicle and its passengers may be insured by the car insurance policy. Personal items like cell phones, laptops, instruments, strollers, etc. are not covered even if they stored in the vehicle and damaged during an accident. These types of belongings are to be filed under personal property insurance under your homeowner’s or renter’s policy.

Car Color affects the price of your insurance

The color of your car does not affect the price of your policy. When shopping for car insurance. They will ask you the year, make, model, the size of the motor (number of cylinders), how old you are, and if you have had any accidents recently.  They never ask you the color of the car.

New cars are stolen most often

Not true, most often older cars are the ones that are stolen. Here is a list of the most stolen vehicles according to the Florida time’s union.

In Florida, the top 10 most stolen vehicles in the 2015:

  1. Ford Pick-Up (Full Size) 2006 (2,070)
  2. Honda Civic 2000 (1,127)
  3. Nissan Altima 2015 (1,098)
  4. Toyota Camry 2014 (1,089)
  5. Honda Accord 1997 (1,025)
  6. Toyota Corolla 2014 (914)
  7. Chevrolet Pick-Up (Full Size) 2015 (786)
  8. Chevrolet Impala 2015 (542)
  9. Dodge Pick-Up (Full Size) 2005 (534)
  10. Nissan Maxima 2014 (479)

If you file an insurance claim your insurance rate will go up.

The truth is if you get into an accident with another driver, that driver may file a claim for damages or injuries. If they do, it will only be a short time until the injured party’s insurance company files a claim against you and your insurance company. Once this happens, your premiums may increase.

Additionally, if you were issued a ticket as a result of the crash, it can appear on your driving record and trigger a premium increase.

However, if you are injured and you only file a Medical Claim (also known as a No-Fault claim or PIP claim) your car insurance will not go up.  It’s actually enumerated in Florida law.

If you have Full coverage your insurance will cover the cost of replacing your care.

Not true the insurance company will pay you fair market value for your car that may be less than what you owe on it. Leaving you on the line for the rest of the money. You can purchase Gap insurance that will cover the difference in what you owe and the amount the insurance company pays you. If your car was paid in full the same thing happens. You will not get a brand new car to replace the car that you lost. They will give you fair market value. Car insurance companies do not sentimental value into consideration when determining the price.

Moving will not affect my Insurance rate.

This is a false statement. Moving even in the same city may cause your premiums to go up. Insurance is based on statistic.  Things that can affect the policy are going from rural less populated are to and urban area that is more densely populated. Also the statistic such as number of car accidents and car theft.

Smaller cars cost less to insure.

This is not true. The amount of damage may be far worse in a smaller car, than what may have happened to a larger car in the same accident. It also depends on the type of coverage that one carries. Just like before it depends on the statistic of accident damage of that type of car.

Your Credit Rating does not affect your insurance rate.

This is a false statement. In fact, your credit has a huge effect on your insurance rate. Why is that? Your credit score reflects your financial affairs and insurance companies take this into consideration when you want to purchase your auto insurance plan.

Tampa Attorney Martin J. Hernandez

Attorney Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez, LLC in Tampa provides legal representation for families in auto accident injury and wrongful death cases. Our Tampa personal injury attorneys welcome the opportunity to interview with you and your loved ones. We invite you to review our recent results from settlements to trial verdicts. Our qualifications and background are available to you as well. Our Tampa Attorneys Martin Hernandez and Daniel Fernandez are bilingual as well.  Just call us at 813-229-5353 for your free consultation.

The Tampa personal injury lawyers of Fernandez & Hernandez, serve Florida communities including Tampa, Brandon, Carrollwood, Westchase, Riverview, Temple Terrace, Pasco, Pinellas, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Lakeland, Plant City, Ruskin, Apollo Beach, Dover, Valrico, Lutz, Lakeland and many other neighborhoods in Tampa Bay area. Contact an Experienced Tampa Auto Accident Attorney from Fernandez & Hernandez Law.

If you have been involved in an Auto Accident in the Tampa Bay area, call Tampa personal injury lawyer Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez for a free consultation now.  We recommend also reading his reviews on Google Reviews, Avvo and Yelp.

Call Tampa Personal Injury Full Auto Coverage in the State of Florida - Photo of a man with a clip board pointing to a piece of paper that says insurance of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813-229-5353 or read more at: www.InjuryLawyersOfTampa.com

#GetLawyeredUpNow #DUI #Tampa #Attorney #Lawyer #Accident #Injury #Truck

How to Deal with Car Insurance After an Accident

How to Deal with Car Insurance After an Accident

When you are in a car accident are you putting your faith with the insurance company? The insurance company is betting against you each and every month. Their goal is to make money and that is the bottom line. No matter what their slogan is. The priority for them is to make a profit and keep the losses to a minimum.  Remember, insurance companies are in the risk business and they don’t lose.

Florida is a no fault state as it relates to car liability insurance. The insurance most people carry is Personal Injury protection (PIP) for $10,000 is the minimum under Florida Statute § 627.736. This covers injuries that where caused by the accident no matter who is at fault, but does not cover any damage. In an accident where someone has been hurt you will be dealing with an insurance company.

What to Expect from an insurance company after an accident. Photo of Winnie the Pooh reading a piece of paper.

Here are some helpful things to keep in mind when dealing with your insurance company:

The first estimate that the insurance company gives you. You should turn it down. They will try to have you accept the estimate from their adjuster which tends to be slightly lower. An example if this was a client was offered $30 to replace a radio. When questioned the insurance company said it was used and upon further questioning they admitted that the radio that the got the quote for did not work. Make sure that you stand up for your rights and if needed consult an attorney to seek assistance in defending your rights.

Don’t sign any releases or waivers of any kind until you obtain legal advice. A bad financial situation after a major loss may make it seem necessary for you to accept a premature, inadequate settlement from your insurer. But you may remember something that was lost in the accident after you have signed a release as to payment for your personal property inventory or other claims. For these reasons, it is advisable to consult an attorney before signing a release or waiver. Be sure to read the fine print on any payment from the insurance company.

It is not advisable to give any recorded or written statements to your insurer until you are sure you understand your coverage. Remember you are not required to allow the insurance company to record your telephone conversation. If you have doubts, do consult an attorney.

Understand the difference between replacement coverage and depreciated or actual cash value. If your policy provides replacement coverage, don’t settle a personal property loss for “actual cash value.” You may be required to replace the lost items before getting your full reimbursement if you have replacement cost coverage.

Be careful when accept any check that says “final payment” unless you are ready to do so. By accepting and cashing this check you are accepting that this is your final payment. You will not be entitled to further claims for this accident.

Be mindful of time limit set forth by your policy. May policies have a set time frame of when you are allowed to claim losses? Be sure you comply with this requirement unless you obtain a written waiver from your insurance company. Most insurance companies have policies that have you being limited to one calendar year from the date of the accident in which to bring a legal action if your claim has not been adjusted fairly. If your case is getting closet the time limits of policy you should consult an attorney.  A failure to do so could result in the loss of your right to sue.

Take pictures, if possible, of damage to your vehicle, the accident scene, and your injuries. Make sure to do this at the scene right after the accident if you are able to do so. If you are unable to take pictures have a family member or a friend take them for you.

Take and keep detailed notes of all conversations with insurance company representatives, and get names, phone numbers, and job titles of people you speak with, including their supervisor’s name. The dated and time of these conversations should also be noted. The more accurate your recoded keeping the smother the prices will go for you.

Things to remember if the cost to repair your vehicle exceeds 80% of its cash value, it is declared a total loss. If the cost of repair is less than 80% of the cash value of the vehicle, you are entitled to the cost of repair, plus downtime. Downtime on a drivable vehicle is reasonable rental value for the time it reasonably takes to make repairs. Downtime on a non-drivable vehicle is reasonable rental value from the date of accident until repairs are completed. Also, you can only get downtime from your own insurance company if you purchased coverage for a rental vehicle. In downtime claims against your own insurance company, you are reimbursed, up to your policy limits, for the cost of a vehicle you have rented.

Your insurance company will not select a doctor for you. You have the right to go to any licensed doctor in your state. Does not delay in seeking medical assistance for any injury that you have sustained do to a car accident? The state law states that you have fourteen day to seek medical treatment after your accident. Injuries do not always shows at the first moments after the accident.

Don’t forget that you have a contract with your insurer. Your insurer has a legal obligation to provide the coverage it promised to you. Be insistent about enforcing that obligation.

In some cases, you might consider bringing in the counsel of an attorney who specializes in accident claims. They may be able to expedite the process.  Frankly, the best way to handle an insurance company is to hire a qualified attorney.

Tampa Attorney Martin J. Hernandez

Attorney Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez, LLC in Tampa provides legal representation for families in auto accident injury and wrongful death cases. Our Tampa personal injury attorneys welcome the opportunity to interview with you and your loved ones. We invite you to review our recent results from settlements to trial verdicts. Our qualifications and background are available to you as well. Our Tampa Attorneys Martin Hernandez and Daniel Fernandez are bilingual as well.  Just call us at 813-229-5353 for your free consultation.

The Tampa personal injury lawyers of Fernandez & Hernandez, serve Florida communities including Tampa, Brandon, Carrollwood, Westchase, Riverview, Temple Terrace, Pasco, Pinellas, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Lakeland, Plant City, Ruskin, Apollo Beach, Dover, Valrico, Lutz, Lakeland and many other neighborhoods in Tampa Bay area. Contact an Experienced Tampa Auto Accident Attorney from Fernandez & Hernandez Law.

If you have been involved in an Auto Accident in the Tampa Bay area, call Tampa personal injury lawyer Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez for a free consultation now.  We recommend also reading his reviews on Google Reviews, Avvo and Yelp.

Call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813-229-5353 or read more at: www.InjuryLawyersOfTampa.com

#GetLawyeredUpNow #DUI #Tampa #Attorney #Lawyer #Accident #Injury #Truck

What if I am in a Car Accident Without Insurance in Florida? - Personal Injury Lawyer | Tampa Car Accident Attorney

What if I am in a Car Accident Without Insurance in Florida? – Personal Injury Lawyer | Tampa Car Accident Attorney

By: Tampa Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez, Esq

Car insurance is “required” in the state of Florida and there is a misconception that “full coverage” is all you need.  Wrong.  “Full coverage” is the bare minimum required to get a driver’s license and purchase a car.  It protects the other person’s car if you were at fault and the first $10,000 for your medical bills regardless of who is at fault under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits.

But what about if you were not at fault and you have more than $10,000 in medical bills?  Who pays then?  How can you protect yourself and your family?

In 2011, the Insurance Research Council found that almost 14% of drivers in the United States do not have insurance coverage, which means that the likelihood of being in a car accident without insurance held by both parties is much higher.   This number is higher in Florida, especially in Tampa and Miami.

If you do have car insurance, there are six basic aspects that are covered in the policy. It is important to first understand these before you can understand what happens if you are uninsured.

Car Accident Lawyer in Tampa, Florida.

What does car insurance cover?

Bodily injury liability coverage pays for the injuries that are caused to the driver and the passengers during the accident that is not at fault.

Property damage liability: This covers the repairs to the other vehicles involved, as well as buildings, fences, etc., to the person not at fault.

Collision insurance covers the damage that is caused to your vehicle and property regardless of who is at fault.

Personal injury protection (also known as Florida “No-Fault”) is the cover that pays out for the injuries and lost wages that you, your resident relatives and the passengers in your car sustained.

Comprehensive cover is there for when the damage to your vehicle is caused by incidents other than accidents. These incidents include vandalism and natural disasters.

The last coverage, but perhaps the most important coverage, is the coverage for the uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This covers costs and damages that are caused by a person who does not have insurance (i.e., hit-and-run driver, an unlisted driver, a driver without insurance or a driver) who does not possess enough insurance coverage.

Underinsured, or more commonly known in Florida as Uninsured, Motorist coverage is the typically the cheapest coverage to buy “dollar for dollar.”  Yet, it is perhaps the most important because it follows you wherever you go, wherever your family goes and protects any occupants in your car when you are not at fault.  Florida Statute § 627.727 clearly makes this coverage so important that you need to affirmatively sign off on rejecting this coverage.

We highly recommend you protect yourself and your family by buying “Uninsured Motorist” coverage equivalent to you household income.  It’s important!

How important?  Florida Statute § 627.727 (2018) clearly states that in order to reject this coverage, an insured must sign a form that meets the following criteria:

The rejection or selection of lower limits shall be made on a form approved by the office. The form shall fully advise the applicant of the nature of the coverage and shall state that the coverage is equal to bodily injury liability limits unless lower limits are requested or the coverage is rejected. The heading of the form shall be in 12-point bold type and shall state: “You are electing not to purchase certain valuable coverage which protects you and your family or you are purchasing uninsured motorist limits less than your bodily injury liability limits when you sign this form. Please read carefully.” If this form is signed by a named insured, it will be conclusively presumed that there was an informed, knowing rejection of coverage or election of lower limits on behalf of all insureds. The insurer shall notify the named insured at least annually of her or his options as to the coverage required by this section. Such notice shall be part of, and attached to, the notice of premium, shall provide for a means to allow the insured to request such coverage, and shall be given in a manner approved by the office.

Quite often our firm needs to discharge an injured party because the at-fault party does not have bodily injury coverage or even insurance at all.  Moreover, our client’s did not adequately protect themselves by purchasing “Uninsured Motorist” coverage.

Florida is a No-fault state.

Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state. Meaning that if a motor accident happens, each driver’s insurance must pay for the damages regardless of who is at fault, which can be tricky as well as frustrating.

Auto insurance policies cover the basics such as damage and medical bills. If the accident has caused permanent physical damage, injury or disability, then they can pursue a civil lawsuit against you. It is best to seek legal advice immediately.

If you are uninsured and you are in an accident with another vehicle whose driver is also uninsured, then you have a bit of problem.  You cannot get blood from a turnip and you will not be able to force the other person to pay when the other person does not have any money to begin with.  You will then be liable to pay for the damages to your car. Medical expenses, wages lost, and other property damage will also be out of your pocket. Even if you have another form of insurance, it will not be covered because you did not have motor vehicle insurance.

When you have sustained serious injuries or are left permanently disabled, you can file a civil lawsuit against the other driver. The driver who is at fault. With this lawsuit, you will be able to recover, among other expenses, pain and suffering and medical expenses. To determine whether you have a case concerning a car accident without insurance, contact an experienced auto accident lawyer.

To Insure or Not to Insure?

Lastly, if you do not have insurance, you are on your own. The same can be said if you are in a car accident without insurance. The medical bills alone will bankrupt you if you are seriously injured. Lawsuits take a long time to come to a conclusion and reach a verdict. You cannot bargain on getting any form of compensation from a civil suit. Your life can be ruined by not having insurance on your vehicle in an accident. There are multiple policies that offer affordable car insurance on the market. If you do the research, you will be able to find insurance that falls into your budget. The bottom line is that you do not want to be the unfortunate person that is in a car accident without insurance.

Tampa Injury Attorney Martin J. Hernandez

Attorney Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez, LLC in Tampa provides legal representation for families in auto accident injury and wrongful death cases. Our Tampa personal injury attorneys welcome the opportunity to interview with you and your loved ones. We invite you to review our recent results from settlements to trial verdicts. Our qualifications and background are available to you as well. Our Tampa Attorneys Martin Hernandez and Daniel Fernandez are bilingual as well.  Just call us at 813-229-5353 for your free consultation.

The Tampa personal injury lawyers of Fernandez & Hernandez, serve Florida communities including Tampa, Brandon, Carrollwood, Westchase, Riverview, Temple Terrace, Pasco, Pinellas, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Lakeland, Plant City, Ruskin, Apollo Beach, Dover, Valrico, Lutz, Lakeland and many other neighborhoods in Tampa Bay area. Contact an Experienced Tampa Auto Accident Attorney from Fernandez & Hernandez Law.

If you have been involved in an Auto Accident in the Tampa Bay area, call Tampa personal injury lawyer Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez for a free consultation now.  We recommend also reading his reviews on Google Reviews, Avvo and Yelp.

Call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813-229-5353 or read more at: www.InjuryLawyersOfTampa.com

#GetLawyeredUpNow #DUI #Tampa #Attorney #Lawyer #Accident #Injury #Truck

 

Cuánto tiempo tengo que presentar una reclamación de seguro después de un accidente de auto en Florida?

Cuánto tiempo tengo que presentar una reclamación de seguro después de un accidente de auto en Florida?

Presentar una reclamación por lesiones o daños a la propiedad es una molestia. Tú eres la víctima y tú eres la que molesta. Insulto a la herida. Pero cuánto tiempo tienes que presentar una reclamación de seguro?

Al igual que con todas las cosas en la ley, depende. Por ejemplo, tienes 14 días para presentar una solicitud de protección de lesiones personales, pero 4 años para presentar una demanda.

Después de un accidente de coche, algunos conductores no están listos para presentar una reclamación de un accidente de inmediato. Es natural querer retrasar el proceso de reclamos, especialmente cuando sabes que tienes unos cuantos años para hacerlo y si estás hospitalizado o recuperándose después del accidente.

Pero esta es una mala idea. Cuanto más esperes para presentar tu reclamación, menos probable será que puedas recuperar evidencia importante del accidente. Además, en mi experiencia, los casos empeoran con el tiempo. No mejor.

Si ha estado involucrado en un accidente de auto en la zona de tampa bay, llame al abogado de daños personales de Tampa, Martin J. Hernández de Fernández & Hernández para una consulta gratuita ahora. Llama al abogado de lesiones personales de Tampa, Martin J. Hernández de Fernández & Hernández a las 813-229-5353 o leer más en: InjuryLawyersOfTampa.com

#GetLawyeredUpNow #Tampa #Attorney #Lawyer #Accident #Injury #Abogado

 

How long do I have to file an insurance claim after an auto accident in Florida?

How long do I have to file an insurance claim after an auto accident in Florida?

By: Tampa Injury Lawyer, Martin J. Hernandez, Esq.

Filing a claim for injuries or property damages is a hassle.  You are the victim and you are the one inconvenienced.  Insult to injury.  But how long do you have to file an insurance claim?

As with all things in the law, it depends.  For example, you have 14-days to file a Personal Injury Protection claim, but 4 years to file a law suit.

Under Florida Statute § 95.11(3)(a), the statute of limitations for drivers to file an accident claim in court is four years after the date of the crash.  If you miss this deadline by even one day, you will be unable to recover any compensation for your accident.  While four years may sound like a lot of time to file a law suit, there are several exceptions to the four-year timeline.  In those cases, drivers have an even shorter period of time to file their claims.

What are the exceptions to the four-year statute of limitations?

The four-year statute of limitations is only for accident claims based on the negligence of the other driver for injuries.  But if someone died in the crash, your claim will be based on wrongful death instead of negligence and then you only have two years to file your claim before the statute of limitations for your crash runs out and you lose your right to compensation.  Wrongful death claims are very complicated and time is more of the essence here than anywhere else.

Also, if the party you are filing your claim against is a government employee, you face different deadlines. If suing the government following a car accident, you must provide notice within three years of the accident and cannot file a lawsuit until following a 180-day (six-month) investigation period, unless the government denies the claim.  This theory of sovereign immunity is very complicated and the correct forms need to filed beforehand.  We routinely file it immediately so that we do not lose time.

Are there deadlines for filing a claim with my own insurance company?

Since Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, you must first file a claim with your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, regardless of fault, before you file a liability claim against or sue the other driver. And with PIP insurance comes another important deadline: the 14-day treatment requirement.

The 14-day treatment requirement is a rule established by Florida Statute 627.736(1)(a) that states that those injured in a car crash must seek medical attention within two weeks of the crash. If you visit the doctor on the 15th day, you will lose your right to compensation through PIP insurance.

 Act Quickly to Preserve Evidence for Your Claim

After a car crash, some drivers are not ready to file an accident claim right away. It’s natural to want to delay the claims process, especially when you know you have a few years to do it and if you are hospitalized or recuperating after the crash.

But this is a bad idea.  The longer you wait to file your claim, the less likely you will be able to recover important evidence from the crash.  Furthermore, in my experience, cases get worse with time. Not better. For example, while you were getting back on your feet, the other driver may have moved, died, and recollection gets worse. And the longer you wait, the worse eyewitnesses’ recollections may become.

Tampa Attorney Martin J. Hernandez

Attorney Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez, LLC in Tampa provides legal representation for families in auto accident injury and wrongful death cases. Our Tampa personal injury attorneys welcome the opportunity to interview with you and your loved ones. We invite you to review our recent results from settlements to trial verdicts. Our qualifications and background are available to you as well. Our Tampa Attorneys Martin Hernandez and Daniel Fernandez are bilingual as well.  Just call us at 813-229-5353 for your free consultation.

The Tampa personal injury lawyers of Fernandez & Hernandez, serve Florida communities including Tampa, Brandon, Carrollwood, Westchase, Riverview, Temple Terrace, Pasco, Pinellas, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Lakeland, Plant City, Ruskin, Apollo Beach, Dover, Valrico, Lutz, Lakeland and many other neighborhoods in Tampa Bay area. Contact an Experienced Tampa Auto Accident Attorney from Fernandez & Hernandez Law.

If you have been involved in an Auto Accident in the Tampa Bay area, call Tampa personal injury lawyer Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez for a free consultation now.  We recommend also reading his reviews on Google Reviews, Avvo and Yelp.

Call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813-229-5353 or read more at: www.InjuryLawyersOfTampa.com

#GetLawyeredUpNow #Tampa #Attorney #Lawyer #Accident #Injury

#GetLawyeredUpNow #Tampa #Attorney #Lawyer #Accident #Injury #Abogado