Since 1972, Florida has been a “no-fault” state with regard to automobile accidents. That simply means irregardless of who causes an automobile accident, each party must submit the first 10,000.00 of their medical bills to their own insurance company for payment. (This is known as P.I.P.) The P.I.P. law (Personal Injury Protection) requires your insurance company to pay 80% of your medical bills up to the $10,000.00 limit.
This vitally important law provides a number of other benefits to Florida citizens who are involved in auto accidents, namely a $5,000.00 death benefit and a lost wage benefit. For those drivers who do not have health insurance, P.I.P. provides the only avenue to have one’s medial bills paid. (Medical debt is one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy in the United States.)
What does this mean for you and what should you do? First, please call your auto insurance agent immediately to discuss the alternatives to P.I.P. Specifically, obtain a quote for “medical payments” coverage, which is separate and apart from P.I.P. Even if you have health insurance, consider the inconvenience associated with obtaining referrals to specialists and other red tape. Medical Payments coverage will allow you to choose any doctor you wish without the need for a referral. This becomes especially important when one requires treatment with a medical specialist.
Another potential problem that you may encounter in Florida is being struck and injured by an uninsured driver. There are far too many drivers on Florida roads without insurance. This creates a danger for all of us who incur medical bills for accident related injuries. However, there is a very simple solution to this problem. It’s called U.M. Insurance. Uninsured Motorists (U.M.) Coverage is perhaps the most important type of auto insurance you can have in Florida. In the event that you are struck and injured by someone without auto insurance, U.M. Insurance allows you to turn to your own insurance carrier and force them to “stand in the shoes” of the uninsured driver.
U.M. Insurance requires your own insurance carrier to compensate you for all of the damages that you would have been entitled to receive from the uninsured driver. Unfortunately, many insurance agents do not explain this essential layer of coverage properly and often advise their clients to reject U.M. insurance in writing.
Finally, it is extremely important to protect yourself and your family should they be injured in an accident. The purchase of “medical payments” coverage and “Uninsured Motorist” coverage will provide that protection.
Two children were struck by cars and seriously injured in separate accidents Sunday, police said. Both are expected to survive despite their serious injuries.
About 4:45 p.m., a car hit a 13 year old girl who was riding her bicycle near Northwest 28th Street and University Drive, said Mike Moser, a spokesman for Coral Springs Fire-Rescue. She was expected to survive, Moser said. The girl was flown to Broward General Medical Center as a precaution.
About two hours later in Davie, a 7 year old girl was run over when she tried to grab the right rear door handle of a neighbor’s car, Davie police Lt. Bill Coyne said. The accident occurred as the car pulled into a driveway in the 4400 block of southwest 74th Avenue. Paramedics rushed the girl to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood where she was in critical but stable condition.
A 40-year-old Orlando woman was killed and two passengers were injured early Sunday after she drove off the road in east Orange County and hit a concrete culvert, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
About 2:30 a.m., Tonya M. Shepherd was driving a 1998 Ford Mustang south on West Christmas Road near Fort Christmas Road when she failed to negotiate a curve, drove onto the east shoulder and hit the culvert.
Shepherd was pronounced dead at the scene. Passenger Jerry Kincaid, 42, of Orlando was ejected from the car and suffered minor injuries. Another passenger, Tiffany Adkins, 21, of Orlando, was critically injured. No one in the car was wearing a seat belt, the FHP said.
A Miami firefighter lost his life in a fatal car crash in Miami on Friday Night.
Investigators stated that two teenage girls in a Red Honda were traveling Northbound on NW 24th Avenue, at which time they ran a stop sign causing the collision and the firefighter’s Wrongful Death.
Roberto Garcia, the firefighter, was a 20 year veteran of the Miami Fire Dept. who moved up to the rank of Captain. His passenger and he were out celebrating and were returning home when this tragedy occurred. Ironically, rescue personnel from Captain Garcia’s own station responded to the call. “We found one of our own”, said Ignatius Carroll, a Miami-Fire Rescue spokesman.
Captain Garcia’s passenger received only minor injuries. The two girls, whose names have been withheld, were taken to the Ryder Trauma Center in critical condition. Our Condolences go out to the family of Captain Garcia.
A Miami Police Officer was involved in a serious automobile accident on Wednesday with a 19 year old pre-med student who also lives in Miami. The student was taken to Kendall Medical Center with nine life threatening Injuries. There is some controversy surrounding the accident involving whether or not the officer had his sirens on.
Investigators say that the officer was responding to a call and had his lights and sirens engaged at the time of the impact with the female student. However, witnesses to the collision have a different version. Orestes Perdigon, the student’s father stated that, “He had no sirens on, nothing at all.” Apparently, the student had the right of way as the officer may have drove through a stop sign just before impact.
This Miami incident follows a similar occurrence just days ago, when a Middle School Student was badly injured after being struck by an Orlando Police Officer in pursuit of a criminal. The officer was chasing another vehicle who ran a red light when suddenly, the Officer collided with a Volkswagen which careened into the 11 year old student who was waiting to cross the street. According to one woman, the officer was exceeding the speed limit. “It looked like it was a chase to me”, said Celine Gasco, 33 who was stopped in her car at an intersection when the collision took place. Once again, as with the incident in Miami, Orlando investigators appear to be claiming, despite the eyewitness testimony, that the officer did nothing wrong.
Law Enforcement Agencies must provide better training to their officers on the issue of pursuing Criminals. While most Police Departments, like the Orlando Police Department, have a policy which only allows a high speed chase when the officer is in pursuit of a violent felon, Police Officers often violate the local traffic laws and injure innocent citizens. These Officers are performing their job in a vacuum because they are not weighing the interests of the innocent bystander when they pursue non-violent criminals.
Under Florida law, this constitutes Negligence and subjects the Police Department and the Police Officer to a lawsuit so that the injured bystander can collect for their Injuries. It would be in the public’s best interest if some of these officers were to spend less time in the gym and more time in the library. While a majority of police officers are fine individuals who act professionally while doing their job, there is a percentage of officers who are unable to see the big picture and often do not have their priorities in order. This often leads to incidents like the ones we just saw in Miami and Orlando where innocent bystanders suffer Injuries as a result of the Officer’s Negligence.
Gary T. Lazarus was born in Queens, New York, on August 26, 1965. He received his Bachelor of Science from St. John's University in 1987 and received his Juris Doctorate from Nova Law School in 1990. In 1992, Gary founded this Personal Injury Firm, dedicated to the representation of persons injured due to the negligence of another.