Archive for November, 2008

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Florida Accident Law – Florida PIP Insurance

November 27, 2008

Personal Injury Protection coverage is just about the most important auto insurance you can buy and many people skimp on it to avoid paying higher premiums. Florida PIP insurance (Personal Injury Protection) provides coverage for anyone in the car at the time of an accident – both the driver and the passengers. Your PIP even covers anybody who lives in your household, assuming they don’t own a car, if they happen to be the one driving your car at the time of the accident (say, if your teenage son is driving, for example). Just make sure you list them on your PIP application so you can be sure they are covered. One of the nicest things about PIP is that it pays out benefits without waiting for a determination of fault. In other words, you don’t have to wait for all the insurance companies involved in the claims for your accident to figure out whether you or the other driver was at fault (which could take several weeks) – PIP insurance pays right away. Which can be a huge help if you are facing medical bills from the accident.

Florida accident law requires you to carry Personal Injury Protection insurance. It’s mandatory and it should be – it’s designed to help with your medical coverage and lost wages if you are injured in an auto accident! Have you ever thought about what would happen if you were involved in a car accident, needed medical treatment, and are one of the 45.7 million Americans who don’t have health insurance? Let me put it into perspective for you: if you think about the fact that on the day of the accident alone you can chalk up a bill for the ambulance ride, the emergency room visit, any necessary x-rays, physician fees, and lab fees, you can see that your initial bill could easily add up to $2,000 – $3,000 or more. Any that’s just for day one – that does not include any other fees or rehab or more intensive care if you need it.

Now think about what would happen if you are disabled, even for a short time (i.e., you can’t work for six weeks due to a broken arm and a broken leg). You’re home recovering and the paychecks aren’t flowing in any longer. The Florida PIP insurance that Florida accident law required you to carry just came through for you again: it will pay you up to 60% of your gross income. Plus any reasonable expenses during the recovery period. Not a bad deal.

One more thing about the Florida PIP insurance that you are required to carry through Florida accident law: in the event of your death through an auto accident, a benefit of $5,000 will be paid per individual to the your beneficary (or estate executor) if you die of accident-related injuries.

In total, Florida PIP insurance will pay up to $10,000 per individual, per accident. Now that you think about it, it’s not a bad thing that Florida accident law requires you to carry this coverage, is it? It provides you with a big benefit for a premium amount that really isn’t worth skimping on, especially if you don’t have health insurance coverage. You may be the best and most careful driver in the world, but that doesn’t mean the guy driving next to you with his cell phone glued to his ear and his road-rage barely under control is going to be as careful. Hopefully, you both won’t meet someday by accident, but if you do, Florida PIP insurance will be there to help you.

For more information about Florida accident law and your rights under Florida PIP insurance, contact Florida auto accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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ITS NOT WHAT IT ALWAYS APPEARS TO BE – CAUSES OF CAR ACCIDENTS IN FLORIDA

November 20, 2008

Too often you read about Florida car accidents in the newspaper and see that the cause of the accident is “unknown” or still “under investigation”. Many times the true cause of the accident will never be known unless someone involved in the accident makes a determined effort to find out what happened. This can be an expensive process that involves expensive expert testimony and accident reconstruction. But what you may just find out is that the cause of many Florida car accidents was not driver error as may have been suspected, but more likely than not it is the result of an equipment malfunction.

One of the most common equipment failures is the tire and its components. Even the smallest part to the tire such as a valve stem or a lug nut holding the tire on, can cause it to malfunction, resulting in a tragic outcome. One of the Florida car accidents that wasn’t caused by what it seemed to be (driver error) occurred recently on I-75 in Central Florida and happened when the car lost control. The car rolled seven times, killing the driver. What appeared to be a random tire blowout appears to have been caused by a faulty tire valve that was cracked almost the length of the valve stem. A lawsuit has been filed against the distributor of the valve stem, which is made in China.

This accident was not an isolated incident, but rather one of many accidents which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating. NHTSA has received more than 200 similar complaints about faulty tire valve stems, and estimates that 30 million valve stems made from the same production run from the Chinese company could still be in use on cars in the USA today.

A separate Federal investigation for faulty tire valve stems has focused on cars manufactured by Ford. According to news reports, Ford has admitted that the investigation has centered on twelve different 2007 Ford and Mercury models such as:

  • Explorer
  • Fusion
  • Focus
  • Expedition
  • Escape
  • Edge
  • Mustang
  • F-150
  • Mercury Grand Marquis
  • MKX
  • MKZ
  • Milan

These cars represent close to 1 million vehicles that could be on the road with potentially fatal faulty tire valve sytems.

The causes of many Florida car accidents are not always apparent. Sometimes, you have to dig deep to find the cause. Examine the car, all its parts, and the area surrounding where the accident occurred to determine the true cause of an accident. If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in car accidents in Florida, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to investigate the true cause of the accident. Contact an experienced Florida car accidents lawyer at Joseph M. Maus, P.A. to get answers to your questions about how an accident happened. The Florida car accidents lawyers at Joseph M. Maus, P.A. offer a free, no obligation consultation to talk to you about your accident, and how you can recover compensation for your injuries.

For more information about Florida car accidents, contact the Florida auto accident lawyers at Joseph M. Maus, P.A.at 1-866-556-5529 or email them today.

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Workers’ Compensation Facts

November 17, 2008

Often people are injured in auto accidents while driving to or from their place of employment. People may also be injured while on a company trip or running errands for the company. We all know that worker’s compensation will cover us if we are injured while on the job, but when you are hurt off the premises, are you covered by workers’ comp?

You need to know the facts: workers’ compensation generally does not cover an employee who is enroute from the office or the home, but in certain circumstances, the "coming and going rule" will provide coverage for employees who are injured while in transit. The coming and going rule basically says that injuries received by an employee during the commute to or from work aren’t covered, but other transportation-related injuries may be covered. In other words, if you are out picking up dry-cleaning for your boss and you are injured in a fender-bender, you may be entitled to worker’s compensation.

There are exceptions to the workers’ compensation facts that cover commuting and traveling: the coming and going rule may provide coverage for a employee in certain circumstances. They are:

  1. the employee has no fixed place of work (for example: a company salesperson who travels from a home office to a client’s place of business);
  2. the employment contract includes transportation to and from work;
  3. the employee is on a special assignment for the employer;
  4. and special circumstances are such that the employee was furthering the business of the employer while commuting.

So, we know the basic facts about workers’ compensation: an employee who is running an errand for the company is likely to be covered by worker’s compensation if they are involved in an accident while performing that task. But what about an employee who is out of state on a company trip? If you slip and fall in the hotel after dinner one night, you’ll likely be covered. But, if you are at a convention in Las Vegas, and you take a side trip to see Hoover Dam while you are there, then fall at the dam and are injured, are you covered by workers’ compensation? Facts will tell you that you probably won’t be covered for the fall because you likely will be considered to have ‘abandoned employment’ since the excursion to the dam was not part of the employer’s job performance request and would be considered to be for "personal interests", not for employment.

What about if you leave work, head for your car, fall in the parking lot, and are injured? One of the facts of workers’ compensation is that you are most likely covered if the parking lot is controlled and owned by the employer (Toyota of Pensacola v. Maines, 558 So.2d 1072 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990). Also, in New Dade Apparel, Inc. v. De Lorenzo, 512 So.2d 1016, 1018 (Fla. 1st DCA 1987), the court held that an injured employee who returned early from vacation to work at the special request of his employer was covered under the special errand exception.

One of the best known facts about workers’ compensation is that it can be tricky to interpret. Joseph M. Maus, a Florida work accident compensation lawyer, says "There is a fine line of interpretation of the “going and coming” rule, and its exceptions. Rulings depend on the nature and circumstances of the particular employment, and no exact formula can be laid down which will automatically solve every case". The legal system often refers back to precedents set by prior cases to help rule on current litigation. An employee who is hurt during their commute, carrying out an errand, or when out of town for their job would be wise to contact a work accident compensation attorney to find out if they might be covered under worker’s compensation.

For more information about worker’s compensation facts, contact Florida work accident compensation lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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FLORIDA WORKERS COMPENSATION LAW CHANGES

November 4, 2008

The Florida Supreme Court recently established a fairer playing field for workers injured on the job in Florida.  In Emma Murray v. Mariner’s Health, a case decided by the Florida Supreme Court on October 23, 2008, the Court struck down a portion of a 2003 Florida Statute that limited attorney’s fees for attorney’s representing injured workers.

Florida Statute section 440.34, revised in 2003 by the Florida Legislature, imposed severe restrictions on the amount of attorney’s fees an attorney representing an injured worker could earn.  The statue continued to allow an insurance company to pay its attorneys to investigate, contest and delay injured workers claims, without any limitations or restrictions on the amount it paid them.  However, if an insurance company wanted to contest a workers compensation claim, the attorney representing the injured worker had a very limited ability to be paid for the work, thus limiting an injured workers ability to find a workers compensation attorney that was willing to see a case through to the final hearing if necessary.

The Supreme Court decided that an ambiguity in the Statute was to be decided in favor of allowing a “reasonable” attorney’s fee, rather than one limited by the Statute.  By allowing a reasonable attorney’s fee, insurance companies can now be held responsible for wrongfully failing to provide the medical care and wage benefits they are required to provide under Florida’s Workers Compensation statutes (Chapter 440, Florida Statutes).  A Court can now award an attorney’s fee, to be paid by the insurance company, based upon the number of hours spent fighting over medical care or wage benefits that were not provided.

It is expected that the workers compensation insurance companies and business lobbyists will attempt to have the legislature re-write the Statute to further limit attorney’s fees for attorney’s representing injured workers during the next legislative session.  Doing so would be a severe blow to injured workers around the State who would have difficulty finding an attorney to handle their case.  But for now, injured workers have a level playing field again at least in terms of being represented by an experienced workers compensation attorney.

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