This is a busy legislative session in Tallahassee, and one of the issues being considered will effect every Florida driver. The $10,000 “no-fault” Florida PIP requirement that has been in place for many years may be ending in favor of new requirements for $25,000 bodily injury and $50,000 per incident coverage.
When you consider the enormous increase in medical expenses over the years, $10,000 really doesn’t cover much if a victim has sustained serious injuries. Florida’s PIP law has long been blamed for insurance fraud. It’s been revised several times since 2000 to try to curb “bad faith claims.” But those reforms have also restricted coverage. Florida PIP was created in 1971 as a way to reduce lawsuits over traffic lawsuits.
Floridians Should Check Vehicles for Winter Weather and Insurance
People who live in Florida most likely live here because of the weather. We hate snow.
But every year the holidays entice many Floridians to embark on road trips to the north for family holiday gatherings. It’s usually a wonderful experience, but please take a few minutes to think about some common-sense tips.
If You’re Driving Your Own Car
Take your car to your favorite repair shop and ask them to check it for winter travel. Your engine coolant and wiper fluid may freeze up north.
Double check your insurance, make sure it’s paid up and everything is up-to-date. Driving on unfamiliar roads can sometimes lead to accidents and you don’t want to be uninsured.
Different states have varying car insurance minimums. So if you start your holiday road trip in Florida, which only requires $5,000 of property damage liability, and $10,000 worth of PIP, and get into an accident in New York, where minimums are about $50,000 greater, you would be under-insured to cover a New York driver’s damages. Luckily, car insurance companies usually recognize you shouldn’t be penalized for having the legal limit in one state, and crashing in another with higher limits. Thus, so long as you were not intoxicated or conducting any other policy disqualifying behavior, your company will likely bump your limits up to the state’s in which you crashed. To be safe, call and verify.
If You’re Renting a Car
If you rent a car, you need some sort of rental car insurance. Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, and the others all offer different options. Rental companies offer a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), Supplemental Liability Coverage (SLC), Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) and Personal Effects Coverage (PEC). Of those four, you may only really need the first two. You pay for the LDW, about $9 to $20 per day, which essentially says the rental company will cover any damage that happens to the car. If you have collision insurance on your policy however, you may opt out of the coverage. If you have a credit card as well, you may charge the entire rental to the card, and your card provider will sometimes cover the LDW at no charge to you.
Once again, call and verify with your own insurance company what will be covered and what won’t should something happen if you have an accident in a rental car in another state.
Floridians aren’t accustomed to driving in the snow. It’s another world. Just remember to reduce speed, or get off the road if you feel the least bit uncomfortable driving on icy roads. Listen to advisories on the radio, and follow them.
Here’s a story with a video offering some safety tips for driving in the snow from the American Automobile Association: CLICK HERE
Lazarus and Lazarus – Florida Accident Attorneys
The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus cares about your safety. Every day we meet with people who have been involved in serious accidents, and we know that many times the incidents were preventable. We think it is our obligation to inform all Florida drivers to observe traffic laws, don’t misuse your cell phone when behind the wheel, and never drink and drive.
If you or a loved one does need an accident attorney in the future, we would be happy to arrange a confidential consultation if you call us at 954-356-0006. Protecting your rights are our primary concern.
Florida Law Requires Certain Actions After an Accident – Florida Accident Attorney
If you witness an accident, but are not actually involved you are not required to remain at the scene. However, your input may help authorities determine what the caused the accident, who is at fault, and would probably be the right thing to do. Make sure authorities are notified and if there are injuries be sure they are aware. Unless you have medical training it’s best not to try to administer medical assistance.
Don’t put yourself in danger by stepping into the roadway or approaching a dangerous situation. If other drivers are arguing, do not get involved. Wait for the authorities and be prepared to recount what you witnessed.
If you are a driver and are involved in an accident, you must stop your vehicle immediately after the accident and do not leave the scene.
Position your vehicle in a manner that won’t obstruct other motorists. If you can’t do this, then either ask for help, or call a tow truck. If someone has been hurt, you must attempt to secure medical help right away.
Give your name, address, and registration number to anyone involved in the accident who requests this information. You may have to show your driver’s license, too. Law enforcement officers arriving on the scene have the right to all of this information, as well.
Accidents involving an injury or death, a hit-and-run or intoxicated driver, or property damage that appears to be over $500 need to be reported immediately to law enforcement. The investigating officer will make a written report on all accidents involving a death or injury.
If an officer completes a report, you won’t need to file a crash report. However, if a crash report hasn’t been filed by law enforcement, then you’ll need to do so within 10 days of the accident.
Many people aren’t aware of your obligations when it comes to cars that are unoccupied. If you are involved in an accident with an unattended and unoccupied car, you’re required to notify the owner. If you cannot find the owner, then attach a note to the damaged vehicle or property which contains your name, address, and license plate number. Be sure to write legibly. Also, report the accident to law enforcement right away.
For any accident, once you are certain that you have made sure injured parties are receiving treatment and you have complied with all reporting requirements and notified and cooperated with law enforcement, you should contact an attorney specializing in motor vehicle accidents.
Speak only to an attorney, and do not share information about the accident, including photographs with others, especially on social media or anywhere on the internet. Listen to the advice of your attorney and follow his or her instructions.
Florida Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys
The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus in Fort Lauderdale has been advising and representing people in Florida who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents for over 20 years. Calling 954-356-0600 will put you in touch with Gary and Arleen Lazarus, who are eminently qualified to help.
Lower Fraudulent Claims and Lower Rates Benefit Everyone
Florida PIP Insurance
If you have lived in Florida for a while you may remember that there was a time when driving involved not only exercising due care to avoid accidents, but you had to worry about other drivers intentionally causing crashes. There are still some drivers out there who try to perpetrate this scam on law-abiding Florida drivers. The Florida legislature has been aware of these dangerous drivers for years and their efforts have gradually reduced the incidence of this and other types of insurance fraud. Lawmakers have consistently tried to respond to problems with the PIP law and their efforts seem to be helping.
A recent review found that “2012 PIP reforms from House Bill 119 continue to reduce fraud and abuse, while providing cost savings to Floridians.”
Specifically, legislation targeting auto insurance fraud has produced savings on personal-injury claims of 17. 5 percent, and reduced premiums by a little more than 15 percent. Claim frequency and severity were reduced, too — by 10.2 percent and nearly 11 percent, respectively, producing a reduction in total loss costs of 20 percent.
The 2012 law changed which health care providers were allowed to provide PIP benefits by banning reimbursements to chiropractors and acupuncturists. It also banned treatment unless a doctor, nurse, dentist, physician assistant, or advanced registered nurse practitioner found that an “emergency medical condition” exists.
Fort Lauderdale Accident Attorney
In Fort Lauderdale, The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus represents people who have been injured in motor-vehicle accidents. If there is fraud involved, we are trained to recognize these situations and deal with them appropriately. We are qualified motor vehicle accident attorneys with a sterling reputation for getting results for our clients.
We are committed to protect the rights of our clients, and to serve their needs pursuing the compensation they are entitled to under the law for any physical injuries or property damage.
So keep your eyes alert, don’t text while driving, never drink and drive.
Please reach out to us if you or someone you know has been involved in an automobile, truck, or motorcycle accident. Our 20+ years experience has placed us among the most qualified accident attorneys in Florida. We will be happy to arrange a confidential consultation and determine how we may be able to help you. Protecting your rights is our top priority.
Call us at 943-356-0006 or if you wish an online reply, please click here and give us some information. We’ll be in touch with you promptly.
Many People are Unaware What “Basic Coverage” Means
I recently had a conversation with young woman who was working at Starbuck’s. She was forlorn because of an auto accident she had on the way to work and said that her car would be in the shop for several days. She wondered aloud about getting a rental car while she was without her car, and I told her it would depend on her insurance. She said “I have PIP.”
I didn’t want to tell her that she would likely be getting a ride to work for a while because she was having a bad day already, but PIP coverage does not provide rental cars for drivers while their cars are being repaired. In fact PIP does not cover repairs. PIP stands for “personal injury protection” and covers medical expenses.
So many drivers are unaware of the facts as they pertain to auto insurance, we would like to help with some basic facts.
The 2016 Florida Statutes, Chapter 627, Section 736 is titled: Required personal injury protection benefits; exclusions; priority; claims – and you may read the section by clicking here.
Some basic information about PIP:
·If you are a resident of Florida and you own a motor vehicle, you are required to purchase PIP. If you are a resident of Florida and own a motor vehicle, you are required to purchase PIP.You are covered by PIP if you are the named insured.You, the insured, are covered by PIP while driving your vehicle or when a passenger in another’s vehicle.You are also covered while outside a motor vehicle if struck and injured by a motor vehicle.
·Resident relatives who live with you, the insured, may be covered by your PIP benefits while they are driving your car, as passengers in your or another’s car, and while pedestrians if struck and injured by a motor vehicle.
·Others who are injured while driving your insured motor vehicle or who are injured while a passenger in your insured motor vehicle or who are injured as a pedestrian when struck by your insured motor vehicle may be covered by your PIP.
·If you or your insured relatives living with you are injured while outside Florida, and are in your insured motor vehicle, you and your insured relatives are covered under PIP as long as the injury occurs within the United States, its territories or possessions, or in Canada.
It is prudent to visit with an insurance agent and take the time to discuss exactly what you expect from your automobile insurance before you buy it. Benefits like towing, repair, and rental cars are certainly worthwhile but they cost more.
PIP usually covers $10,000 of medical expenses and many injuries sustained in accidents exceed that amount.
The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been helping Floridians injured in automobile, truck, and motorcycle accidents for more than 20 years as qualified accident attorneys. We are committed to provide everyone with the information you need to stay as safe as possible, and to have the information you need to make informed decisions.
We are available to meet with you if you’ve been involved in an accident, and you may contact us by calling 954-356-0006 to arrange a free consultation.
Click here to view our contact page where you may request that we contact you online.
Enforcing Weight Restrictions is Part of an Overall Safety Strategy for Big Rigs
You’re driving to Disney World and as you pass one of those “Weigh Station Ahead” signs your friend jokes, “You’ve put on a few pounds, and maybe you should pull in.” Such an amusing friend.
But seriously, what is going on at those weigh stations? Why do some trucks stop, and some drive right by? Are they checking for weight or other things, like illegal drugs? Do they serve coffee?
The answer is that vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds or have 3 or more axles have to pay fuel taxes Truck weigh stations were originally developed for states to collect the fuel taxes they were owed by the commercial trucks using their roadways. Motor homes and other private (non-commercial) vehicles are generally exempt.
In North America, weigh stations aren’t directly used for that purpose anymore. There is now an International Fuel Tax Agreement which allows truckers to file a quarterly tax report. Weigh stations are still used to enforce the tracking and submission of the logs and the payment of the fuel tax.
Large commercial vehicles are almost all equipped with transponders, and these devices do a lot to make sure trucks are safe and are operating within the law. They can keep track of the number of hours a driver has been behind the wheel so they don’t exceed the limit.
The scales are still used to enforce weight restrictions. The federal weight restriction is 80,000 pounds. Trucks need a trip permit to transport a load exceeding that weight.
We have discussed before in this blog that the severity of an accident is highly influenced by some fundamental principles of physics including mass (weight) and acceleration (speed). A very heavy truck going very fast has the potential to cause massive amounts of damage.
It’s in everyone’s best interest for commercial truckers to follow the rules, obey the restrictions, maintain their vehicles, and operate safely. It’s also best for drivers of automobiles to be aware of special circumstances with big trucks like blind spots. (See our article on blind spots)
It is prudent to watch for trucks entering the highway at weigh stations. Big commercial trucks are often slow to reach full speed, so don’t ride up on them too fast.
The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus is committed to providing information that will help drivers stay safe on Florida roads. We represent truck drivers, automobile drivers, and motorcycle riders who have been involved in serious accidents. We investigate, and when necessary we litigate so our clients are given their access to justice under the law.
Please reach out to us if you have been involved in an accident or if you have questions by calling 954-356-0006.
Currently Illegal, Lane Splitting may be Permitted in Florida
The most common types of motor vehicle accidents are:
Single Car Accidents
T-Bone – or cross traffic accidents
Side-to-Side Collision while Changing Lanes
All these accidents may result in injuries or they me be survivable, depending on circumstances. The size and weight of your car or truck will have a lot to do with it.
Imaging being hit from behind while riding on a motorcycle. It’s going to be devastating at almost any speed. Because of this, lawmakers in several states are looking at permitting what is known as “lane-splitting” where motorcycles can ride or remain stopped at a traffic light in the area between lanes.
California passed a new law last week allowing the practice and other states including Florida are examining the issue.
By supporting the bill, state lawmakers and the governor have recognized a roadway practice that has been in use for decades, according to Rob Dingman, president of the American Motorcyclist Association. “Lane splitting keeps riders safer by eliminating their exposure to rear-end collisions, and it helps ease congestion by effectively removing motorcycles from the traffic lanes,” he said.
The website Change.org urged readers to sign a petition, writing “Traffic congestion in Florida continues to increase. One inexpensive, simple, effective, and immediate way to reduce traffic congestion is to permit motorcyclists to travel between two slow moving lanes of traffic. Doing so adds capacity to every existing four-lane road in the entire state of Florida. In California where “lane-splitting” is legal, common place, and has been found to enhance motorcycle safety, it is embraced as a significant component of traffic congestion reduction.”
People in Florida debated the use of helmets for years and finally on July 1st, 2000 the law was changed to mandate helmet use for anyone under 21, and anyone over 21 was required to have medical insurance coverage if they opted to ride without a helmet.
Hopefully the Florida legislature will study the lane-splitting issue carefully and make a decision that is best for everyone.
The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus is committed to represent and protect the rights of persons injured in motorcycle accidents. We have devoted a major portion of our practice to this very unique and complex area of law for over 20 years and we would be happy to meet with you if you have any questions involving a serious motorcycle injury. Please reach out to us at 954-356-0006 to arrange a confidential consultation.
Working Together Towards a Solution Will Save Lives
We have posted a lot of data on motorcycle accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The news is never good and it’s getting worse because accidents are becoming more frequent.
We are asking automobile drivers and motorcyclists to take a few moments today and learn 3 things they can be done to make the roads safer for everyone.
Never, ever, text and drive. Distracted driving in one form or another is likely the primary cause for drivers not seeing motorcycles. Turn your phone off when you drive and take care of messages when you arrive at your destination. Nothing is more important than focusing on the road and your surroundings.
Look twice. When you go to pull out onto a high-traffic road, check for oncoming traffic. Then look again. In the instant you begin pulling out, a motorcyclist may have moved into the lane you are intending to occupy. Check twice, save a life.
Use your mirrors. Both side-view and your rear-view mirrors are there for a reason. Adjust them before you start driving and make sure they are properly lined up. Look carefully for motorcycles before you change lanes. Lane changes by cars into the pathway of motorcycles is a common catalyst for serious crashes.
Don’t buy more bike than you can handle. There are no clear statistics for this, but many accident investigators believe that some people ride motorcycles that are simply too large and too powerful, and they crash. If you are 5’7” and weigh 160 pounds, you probably should not consider buying a 197 horsepower Yamaha V-Max. It’s not an issue of how tough you are, it’s buying the right bike to maximize performance and safety.
Invest in Anti-Lock Brakes. This is a proven life-saving advancement and it’s worth the cost. The reason is simple: Locking up the brakes in a panic stop robs the rider of any steering control. That can easily lead to a skid and crash, which can result in serious injury. ABS helps you retain steering control during an emergency stop, and it can be especially valuable in slippery conditions.
Wear the right gear. Jeans, a T-shirt, and sandals are recipes for a painful disaster on a bike. Specially designed jackets with rugged padding and breathable mesh material provide protection as well as ventilation for riding in warm weather. You’ll also want effective eye protection; don’t rely on eyeglasses or a bike’s windscreen. Use a helmet visor or goggles. And keep in mind that car drivers who have hit a motorcycle rider often say they just didn’t see them, so choose gear in bright colors.
Working together, we can save lives.
The Law Office of Lazarus and Lazarus has been helping the victims of motorcycle accidents for over 20 years and we understand the special circumstances that go along with these serious incidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle crash, please reach out to Gary or Arleen Lazarus by calling 954-356-0606 and we will be happy to meet with you promptly and confidentially.
Early Photos and Witness Statements Help to Substantiate Your Case
The immediate reaction after a serious motor vehicle accident is often “oh no, what am I going to do?” There is usually confusion, phone calls to family and friends, and a general feeling of disbelief and bewilderment.
It’s a very good idea to make a mental note – right now – that if the time comes and you are involved in an accident, you must try to do your best to remain calm. Cool heads rule in situations like this and if you want to come away from a bad situation with as little negative results as possible, you’ll want to try to calmly and accurately document everything right from the start.
Accident Injuries and Accident Damages
Using an acronym sometimes helps remember what to do in stressful situations, so you may want to remember POW:
Pictures – Almost everyone on Earth carries a phone with a camera. Try to take pictures immediately after an accident as long as it doesn’t interfere with rendering aid or with law enforcement’s investigation. If you can’t do it, perhaps someone else can do it for you. Damage to vehicles, road conditions, conditions at the time of the accident. For example, if a stop sign was laying on the ground and that caused you to not see it, take a picture. By the next day it may be repaired and your story has no support.
Early pictures of injuries are important because once they are bandaged or casted by medical personnel it may be weeks before you have the opportunity again.
Observe – Some things you cannot record with a camera, but try to remember or write down other things you notice. Who was there? Did someone leave the scene? Anything that seems unusual, try to make a written note of the details.
Witnesses – If the police are involved they will look for and interview witnesses, but sometimes a witness will leave before the law enforcement arrives. Try to get the names and numbers of people who might be able to help, and do it nicely. Witnesses can be a very important asset later if they are needed.
None of these things should ever be done if they interfere in any way with medical personnel or with law enforcement. They are valuable pieces to puzzle which may be gradually pieced together during the course of building a case which might involve statements, depositions, evidentiary fact-finding, lab tests, expert witnesses etc.
Once again, cool heads come out ahead.
Finding a Qualified Florida Accident Attorney
Now, after the dust settles and you have time to visit with an attorney who specializes in auto, truck, and motorcycle accidents, that attorney will be able to calmly explain your rights and your options. The pictures, observations, and witness information you gathered will greatly affect his or her ability to get to the truth for you.
The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been working with victims of serious vehicle accidents for over 23 years. They work with people across south Florida and they are familiar with all aspects of accidents, from dealing with insurance companies and doctors, to working with law enforcement.
Calling 954-356-0606 will put you in touch with Gary and Arleen Lazarus, two of the most caring, competent, and dedicated personal injury attorneys in Florida. After a confidential meeting you will have all options explained to you with no obligation whatsoever.
Investigating Truck Accident Injuries Requires Unique Proficiency and Experience
A commercial truck accident can be far more catastrophic than an accident between two personal-use vehicles. A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh at least 25 times as much as a typical car. Because of this stark weight disparity and the basic laws of physics, most big rig truck accidents with other vehicles result in serious, even fatal, injuries.
Commercial truck drivers have received special training and are generally more careful on the road than automobile drivers. In 2012, there were 3,921 people killed and 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks (gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds).
It is important to note that of those 3,921 people killed in big-truck accidents in 2012, 697 were in the big truck and 3,224 were occupants or drivers of the other vehicles, or pedestrians. This tells us that trucks are, by their size alone, dangerous. Drivers should always be alert and cautious but even more so when a large truck is nearby.
Florida Truck Accidents
An April, 2016 video of an accident in Miami demonstrates the immense power and destructive forces involved when a heavy truck impacts passenger vehicles.
This Miami Herald includes video of the accident, which may be disturbing: Miami Herald
In addition, truck accidents can be made worse by the freight the truck is carrying. For example, if hazardous or flammable materials (such as gasoline or industrial waste) are on board a big rig involved in an accident, secondary injuries from that dangerous cargo can result.
A few facts about big-truck transportation:
There are 3.24 million truck drivers in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The average daily run for a long-haul, over-the-road truck driver is nearly 500 miles.
Most long-haul, over-the-road truck drivers average from 100,000 to 110,000 miles per year.
Drowsy driving can contribute to truck accidents, and here are the rules regarding consecutive hours for commercial drivers carrying property:
May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
According to a study done by the Harvard Health Watch, an average American spends 101 minutes per day driving.
A commercial truck driver involved in an accident may be an independent driver, may work for a small company that does not provide insurance, or might be an employee of a large corporation that does provide insurance. Who is liable for damages in a truck accident can be very confusing, and requires extensive study to get to the facts.
People Who Care
The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been helping victims of truck accidents in south Florida for over 20 years. We have the experience and expertise to properly investigate these terrifying events in order to understand how to help the injured participants. Reaching out to us is easy by calling 954-356-0006 and asking to speak with Gary or Arleen Lazarus. We will work hard to protect your rights to proper compensation for your damages. We are experienced Florida Truck Accident Attorneys.
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.