Category Archives:Insurance Coverage

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 is Florida "No Fault" or "PIP" Insurance?

What is Florida “No Fault” or “PIP” Insurance?

By your Tampa Auto Accident Attorney – Martin Hernandez

When it comes to auto insurance, Florida is a “No-Fault” insurance state.  This is an often misunderstood topic and what other people tell you it is, like most legal concepts, is usually wrong.

Florida PIP Laws - Know the law and Florida PIPDrivers who are injured in a car accident in Florida and sometimes wonder why they are filing a “No-Fault” Claim under their own insurance policy when they are not at-fault.  Those drivers incorrectly believe that because the other party is at-fault they should be paying all of the injured party’s medical bills.  However, that is not the case.  Why?  Let’s change the facts around.  What if both parties are blaming each other for the accident?  For example, they both say that they had the green light.  Yet, the injured party went to the hospital and incurred $5,000 in hospital bills (cheap for a Tampa hospital after a car accident).  What if they missed two weeks of work ($2,000 in lost wages)?  That means that the injured party is in the hole $7,000 for an accident that may not be their fault.  The hospital is going to ask for payment from you because you are the patient and you are responsible for payment.

Hence, Florida No-Fault.  You pay yours.  I’ll pay mine.  We’ll figure out later on who is responsible.

Now, under Florida law, every motorist is required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.  A driver’s PIP coverage, as this type of insurance is most often known, is to cover medical bills and lost wages the driver may suffer in an accident, no matter who caused the accident. When a crash occurs, each person involved in the crash turns to his or her own insurance company to pay the costs of medical care and other losses.

Car Accidents under Florida’s No Fault Insurance Scheme What many drivers do not realize is that, under Florida’s no fault statute, their PIP coverage by law only covers 80% of the medical bills which they may incur in an accident as well as only 60% of lost wages or income they may suffer in a car accident.  For example on how this works, assume you have a $10,000 PIP policy with a $1,000 deductible, the absolute minimum required under Florida law.  You are hit by another driver in an accident in which the other driver is clearly at fault.  Assume you go to the emergency room and your medical bills are $5,000 plus you are out of work for two weeks and lose out on $2,000 in income.  Your car insurance will pay $4,000 to the hospital (leaving you a $1,000 co-pay) and pay you $1,200 of your lost wages.  This way your bills are getting paid and you are not being sent to collections for the entire hospital bill.

But I shouldn’t pay the rest! Shouldn’t they pay for everything else?

Yes, they should and that’s how we can help.  There are exceptions to Florida’s “No- Fault” law that permit a motorist to directly sue another motorist who caused the accident.  The first exception to Florida’s no fault statute is if a person suffers a permanent injury as a result of the accident, Florida  statute (627.737(2)) defines a permanent injury as: (i) significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function; (ii) permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement; (iii) significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; or (iv) death.  Accordingly, if a driver suffers a “permanent injury” as defined above, then he is not subject to the “No-Fault” limitation against the at fault driver and may be able to bring a claim not only for medical bills and lost wages but also to recover for pain and suffering and other “intangible” damages suffered as a result of the accident. Another exception would be if the injuries suffered  are not permanent, but the medical bills (or lost wages) total more than the $10,000 in PIP coverage.  In that instance, a claim can be brought to recover the medical bills (or lost wages) not covered by the PIP insurance.

Obviously, even though Florida is a “No-Fault” state, the application of the law is limited since it only applies to those accidents in which the medical bills and/or lost wages or lost income do not exceed $10,000 and where someone has not suffered a permanent injury.

If you have been injured in a Tampa Car Accident and need a Tampa Injury Attorney, Get Lawyered Up Now and call Tampa Injury Attorney Martin Hernandez of Fernandez and Hernandez, LLC for a free consultation at 813-229-5353 or read more at: InjuryLawyersOfTampa.com

#GetLawyeredUpNow #TampaAttorney #TampaLawyer #TampaAbogado

 

When to Speak to an Insurance Adjuster After an Auto Accident

Regardless if it is the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier or your own, it is important to speak with an attorney before you speak with any insurance company representative.  Be very cautious when speaking to an insurance company adjuster.  They’re taking notes.  Follow this list of things not to do when you are called by an insurance adjuster:

  • Do not speak to the adjuster directly. Let someone else do it. If you’re not the owner of the car, let them speak with the owner.  If a property damage adjuster calls you, it is best to have a family member or friend talk to the adjuster. Any statements from your aunt or sister or brother cannot be used against you in a court of law. However, anything that you say to the insurance adjuster can be used against you later in court especially regarding your injuries.
    1. Let them know the name and contact information for lawyer representing you or tell them that your lawyer will be in contact with them in a couple of days.
    2. Keep any conversation you or a family member has with any insurance adjuster, especially an adjuster from the other side’s insurance company, as brief as possible.
    3. Take pictures!  It’s always amazing to me how adjuster’s photographs show very little damage to your vehicle.  Even when it is totaled.  Take clear pictures and preserve them.
    4. If you do not have a family member or friend who can talk to the adjuster for you, and you must talk to him/her then I recommend that you
      1. Do not tell them anything about how the crash took place. State only that you were in an accident, that you need your car fixed and that you need a rental.
      2. Do not tell them about any injuries.  Let me repeat that: Do NOT talk about injuries.
      3. Tell them that you have hired a lawyer to represent you, and that you do not want to make any statements to them at this time.
      4. Do not allow the adjuster to record the phone conversation. Under Florida Law it is a third degree felony for anyone secretly to record another individual. Therefore, insurance companies cannot record any conversations with you, unless you give them permission. If you are on the phone with them, please state specifically that you do not give permission to record the conversation, and understand that the law applies equally to you, too. You also are prohibited from recording the conversation without permission.
      5. Never meet a property damage adjuster — or any type of insurance adjuster — in person, whether it be to inspect your damaged vehicle or for any other reason. Once you are alone with an adjuster you open the door to possibility of the adjuster saying whatever is in the insurance company’s interest about what the adjuster observed or heard while alone with you. Do not give them the opportunity to make up things or come up with statements to be used against you later.

If you have any questions regarding dealing with insurance company adjusters in an auto accident case or any type of accident injury case, call Tampa Attorney Martin Hernandez at 813-229-5353.  Call now and get Lawyered Up!

If I'm In An Auto Accident, Who Fixes My Car?

Who is responsible for repairing my car when the accident is not your fault?

In short, the Defendant’s insurance company (at-fault party) is responsible.  If your accident was caused solely by one other person, their insurance company will have a duty to either fix your vehicle or give you the fair market value of the vehicle. Under Florida law, the insurance company is required to provide you with the lower of the two amounts. For example, if your vehicle has suffered $7,000.00 in damage but the fair market value of the vehicle is $5,500.00, the insurance company will be required to total your vehicle and pay you $5,500.00. If the damage to the vehicle will cost less to repair than the fair market value of the vehicle, the insurance company will be required to pay to repair the vehicle.  If you are a percentage at-fault, then the insurance company will deduct that portion of the liability from the repair or replacement value.  You are not entitled to what you think your car is worth, but what the car’s fair market value is at the time of the accident.

If you have been injured in a car accident or auto accident call a Tampa Injury Attorney who can help you with your accident.  #TampaAttorney  813-229-5353

What type of automobile insurance coverage is required for a person causing a crash?

The Florida Financial Responsibility Law requires that any person at fault in a crash resulting in bodily injury and property damage to others must have in effect at the time of the crash full liability insurance coverage.car-policy This coverage includes minimum limits of bodily injury liability of $10,000 per person, $20,000 per crash, $10,000 property damage liability per crash, and personal injury protection limits of $10,000 per person per crash. If a person who does not have insurance causes an accident and you are injured from this accident, you will need to look to your insurance company to help you. This can be tricky.

As such, you should call a qualified lawyer to help you navigate your insurance policy to see if you have additional coverage. You should, therefore, call attorney Martin J. Hernandez, Esq. at 813-229-5353. We may be able to help.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, call the law office of  Tampa lawyer Daniel Fernandez and Tampa lawyer Martin Hernandez –  Tampa attorneys handling personal injury and car accident claims. 813.229.5353

I have full coverage, why am I not covered?

Are you fully covered by your auto policy if you get into an auto accident?

Are you fully covered by your auto policy if you get into an auto accident?

Full coverage, while it can mean a variety of things, does not automatically imply that bodily injury is covered.  Typically, the term “full coverage” means the minimum required to obtain a driver’s license in the State of Florida.  Bodily Injury liability is NOT REQUIRED in Florida.  That means that the person who hit you may owe you money, but you will have to collect from the at-fault party personally and not from his or her insurance company.  This is a very difficult task.  Therefore, we highly recommend you purchase Underinsured Motorist coverage to protect you and your family in case you are struck by a person without insurance or without enough insurance.  Contact your insurance company for clarification on your insurance coverage.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, call the law office of  Tampa lawyer Daniel Fernandez and Tampa lawyer Martin Hernandez –  Tampa attorneys handling personal injury and car accident claims. 813.229.5353