How Your Insurance Company Investigates Car Accident Claims

If you have been injured in a car accident and need to file a claim with your insurance company, it is only natural to think they will offer you a fair settlement for your injuries and damage to your vehicle. However, for an insurance company handling an accident claim is about two things: minimizing cost and managing risk. Miami personal injury attorney Spencer Aronfeld details this in confessions of a car accident attorney and explains what you must prove as an accident victim to receive compensation for your injuries. Several factors affect the way your car insurance company will investigate your claim. These include: the nature and severity of your accident, damages, injuries and your insurance company’s specific policies. Immediately after filing your claim, an insurance claims adjuster will be assigned to your case. They will be responsible for reviewing your policy to ensure that you are covered. They may also contact you to obtain further details about your accident. DO NOT give any recorded or written statements to them, before first obtaining legal advice. This is the #1 Tip for Car Accident Victims Injured in an Auto Accident. The Insurance Adjuster’s Investigation of Your Claim will include the following: • Request a copy of your police report; • Contact the other driver(s) involved; • Speak with any listed witnesses to the accident; • Re-visit the accident scene; • Further inspect and photograph your vehicle for damages. Payment of Damages Florida is a no-fault state, therefore drivers are required to $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP), also known as “no-fault” insurance coverage. This is used to cover your medical...

Types of Permanent Disabilities that Can Result from a Serious Car Accident

Injuries sustained in a serious car accident can be life altering, both physically and mentally. If an automobile accident has left a person permanently disabled, the injuries not only affect the accident victim, but oftentimes the entire family. A permanent disability can leave the family of the injured victim overwhelmed with medical bills, in-home care and lost wages. New medical devices may need to be purchased to accommodate the disability. Regularly attending physical therapy sessions to regain as much movement as possible, ongoing surgeries and medical expenses, possibly 24-hour assistance, along with mental health therapy are oftentimes needed to adjust to life moving forward. Some of the most common types of permanent disabilities we see as auto accident attorneys include: partial or total paralysis, crushed limbs and amputations, vision and hearing loss, traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). What Is a Permanent Disability? An individual is permanently disabled if he or she can no longer engage in a substantial income-producing activity due to a physical or mental condition. Further, for the injury to qualify as a permanent disability, a physician has evaluated the person and has determined that this condition has lasted or is expected to last continuously for at least a year. Many permanent disabilities result from an individual being involved in a serious accident and can range in scope depending on the type of accident and type of injuries sustained. What Are the Types of Permanent Disabilities? A permanent disability can be both total and partial. If the victim is totally and permanently disabled, he or she will be unable to ever return...

Deadly Limo Crash Sheds Light on Distracted Driving and the Dangers of ‘Modified’ Vehicles

A tragic accident occurred over the weekend, taking the lives of 20 people in the small town of Schoharie, New York. A limo carrying four sisters, other relatives and friends to a birthday celebration ran a stop sign and crashed into a parked SUV outside a store in upstate New York, killing all 18 people in the limo and two pedestrians, officials and victims’ relatives said. It is the deadliest transportation accident in nearly a decade. At least six children lost at least one, or both of their parents in the crash. Following the accident, it was discovered the limo should not have been permitted on the road after a failed inspection last month, and the driver did not have the proper commercial license to operate the vehicle. One of the passengers in the limo texted another individual his concern that the limo was unsafe. As more details emerge on exactly what caused the accident, speculations have come out about whether distracted driving contributed to the accident. As more individuals are connected via technology, the likelihood of car accidents has gone up 12.3 percent, according to a 2018 Distracted Driving Report prepared by Motus. Motus defines the “mobile workforce” as those whose job it is to drive, including drivers who use their own cars, as well as taxi, truck and limo operators who drive for companies. This technology includes devices and systems within a vehicle that allow drivers to receive and process payments. These figures from Motus showed an increase in accidents from 5.7 million in 2013 to 6.4 million in 2017 where the driver of a commercial vehicle,...

Safe Driving Tips to Remember for Back-to-School Safety Month

The start of school means increased congestion on the road, children on sidewalks waiting for their bus, and parents trying to drop their children off at school before work, which is why the month of August is designated Back-to-School Safety month.  Here are some safe driving tips to remember this month and throughout the school year to keep our children safe. Drive Slowly in Residential Neighborhoods and School Zones The beginning of the school year means children will be waiting at bus stops, especially in residential areas. During the summer months, it can be easy to forget that children will be waiting at these areas for their buses to arrive once the school year begins. While technically the children should remain on the sidewalk and off the road, it should never be assumed children will stay on the sidewalk or curb. When driving past the stop, drive at or below the posted speed limit just in case a child decides to jump into the street or immediately cross the street without looking. School zones also have reduced speed limits, usually at 25 mph, and while this speed can seem slow, the speed limit has been reduced for a very good reason. Be aware of this reduced speed and adjust your speed accordingly. Drive Slow and Be Patient in School Parking Lots Some of the most chaotic and stressful situations for drivers and pedestrians involves the school parking lot. During drop-off and pick-up times, children are getting in and out of cars, freely crossing through the parking lot, and dodging parked and moving cars. Parents may not always be paying...

Car Accidents Involving Out-Of-State Drivers

South Florida has a high volume of tourists year-round due to its warm weather and popular vacation destinations.  In fact, Miami is one of the best places to visit in the United States, according to new rankings from U.S. News & World Report. Not surprisingly, there are many car accidents involving victims who are not Florida residents. It is not uncommon for a tourist who is lost or confused to cause a car accident. It can be confusing for a Florida driver who is involved in one of these accidents to understand the legal steps to take, if an accident occurs with an out-of-state driver. If you have been involved in a car accident with an out-of-state driver and you are pursuing a lawsuit to obtain damages you suffered in the accident, you will likely have many questions for an attorney. Will the lawsuit be filed in Florida or the state where the at-fault driver’s license was issued? What if the other driver returns to their home state before I file the suit? What if the other driver’s insurance is from another state? What if the required coverage is different than coverage in Florida? What if I never see the other driver again?  Understanding Jurisdiction To understand where the lawsuit will be filed requires a good understanding of jurisdiction. The term jurisdiction deals with the court’s authority to hear a case. A judge cannot rule on a case unless he or she has jurisdiction to do so. To have the case be heard in Florida means Florida courts need to have jurisdiction. Two different types of jurisdiction exist: personal...

Liability of Co-signers after an Auto Accident

In most cases, vehicle co-signers are not held liable for an auto accident that occurs when they are not behind the wheel. However, there are some circumstances where Florida drivers should tread lightly when co-signing on an automobile loan. In cases where the Florida driver is simply a co-signer and never obtains the vehicle’s title, the driver will not likely face any lawsuits. However, in situations where the driver was a co-owner of the vehicle and currently has their name on the title, the driver can be held liable under the doctrine of vicarious liability. In Florida, whenever someone co-signs on a loan obligation, he or she may be considered “vicariously liable” for damages resulting from the accident when the other person on the loan causes an accident. This doctrine has led to situations where co-owners of vehicles were sued on charges such as wrongful death and serious injury, even though they were not involved in the accident. This issue was dealt with extensively in the case of Bowen v. Taylor-Christensen. The case dealt with a tragic death of Thomas Bowen, who was hit and killed by a car driven by Mary Taylor-Christensen, while Bowen was changing a tire on his car off the side of a highway. Bowen’s widow, Mary Jo, filed a law suit against Taylor-Christensen, who was said to have been drunk driving at the time the accident happened. Bowen also added Taylor-Christensen’s ex-husband, Robert Christensen, whose name was also on the car’s title alongside his ex-wife’s name. The trial court denied Bowen’s request for a directed verdict to hold Christensen liable under Florida’s dangerous instrumentality...
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