Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Ugly Truth About Florida Auto Insurance Requirements

Wade Coye, Accident Attorney
The ugly secret about Florida car and truck insurance is the minimal amounts required by law. Did you know, for instance, that you are required to insure yourself from injuries that you sustain irrespective of whether you or another person are at fault? The Florida no fault law requires each person who owns a car to carry $10,000 in personal injury protection insurance coverage. No doubt this coverage helps with minimal lost wages and medical bills, but does nothing in a more serious case. Particularly since the hospital bills alone can eat up the entire amount of available personal injury protection coverage. Even more incredible is that you are required to carry damage insurance to help pay for any property damage that you may cause when driving your car. It would seem a bit odd that you have to carry insurance to pay for another persons car damage but nothing for damage to anothers person, but that is the sorry state of Florida law.

A substantial number of people who move here from other states are shocked when they discover that the minimum required insurance does not mean you have to carry bodily injury coverage much less uninsured motorist coverage. This often times leads to difficult circumstances when we try to help someone who needs to make a claim for injuries they have sustained due to the negligence of another driver. Typically the problem is too many medical bills and not enough insurance, in no small part because there was not any bodily injury and or uninsured motorist coverage. This is why it is very important that you use whatever available health insurance, medicare, medicaid and or champus benefits to pay for medical bills even if someone caused or contributed to an accident or injury that you have sustained. If you use these resources, at the very least you will have paid most of your bills. In some cases it is important to reserve personal injury protection benefits to allow you to receive some wage loss benefits prior to benefit exhaustion. A common mistake made at hospital rooms and doctors offices is to insist that the defendant driver of another vehicle will pay all the bills. It is better to consult with a lawyer who can direct you on the options to get your bills paid while you work through the difficult circumstances of an accident or injury.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Big Lie About the Economy and Lawsuits

Wade Coye, Insurance Lawyer
I'm sure you have heard it. "People bring more lawsuits when the economy is bad so we need to limit lawsuits, so the economy will get better" Or some variation on this theme. The veiled insinuation is that people manufacture lawsuits because they have experienced some type of economic decline so are more willing to sue businesses and people for reasons other than some harm caused that is attributable to a particular defendant. Comments such as this are inaccurate at best and at worst are a lie created to develop protections from our legal system. If you think about it, how could you have more job injuries when less numbers of people are working and how could you possibly have more car wrecks when people are not driving. The answer is: you can't. A close check of on the job accidents and car wrecks reveals that both numbers drop during recessionary times. Unfortunately misguided statements such as this become cannon fodder for extremist groups who seek to limit a persons right to go to court when damaged.

Economic declines affect lawsuits, but not in ways that are commonly suggested in the media. For instance, if someone is injured in a car wreck and has already lost a job and benefits such as health insurance, this person and their family may have incurred hospital and doctor bills that remain outstanding, which, while perhaps ultimately the responsibility of the defendant, nevertheless contribute to increases stress for the injured person and ultimately requires the payment of higher damages by a defendant. Because health insurance typically pays medical bills at a previously negotiated lower reduced rate, the total outstanding bills paid for damages to a person are therefore lower when a person has health insurance. An uninsured person who is injured has a claim that necessarily requires payment of more bills than a person who has some form of insurance.

When people don't have a job, there are many consequences and the impact is felt in many different ways. But people do not file lawsuits and pursue legal matters because they want to or because they think there is going to be some type of a payday. Lawsuits are filed because a person or corporation was negligent and someone was damaged. Our legal system provides one of the best ways to resolve disputes about liability in our society and efforts made to eliminate this right do not promote justice and fairness.