Florida PIP Insurance Limits Making a Claim to Only 14 Days

Florida is one of only a few states in the country that require motorists to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This unique type of auto insurance will pay damages to a claimant based on the limits of their own policy, even if they are found liable for their own car accident. While this policy seems like it should be a great benefit to the average driver, it does not come without its drawbacks.

You Have 14 Days to Act After a Crash

Florida drivers who want access to their PIP benefits only have 14 days after their accident to treat. Once that very-brief 14-day time limit is over, you will be ineligible for PIP, if you did not treat.

How to Overcome Your Claim Difficulties

After being in a car accident, one of the first things you should do is call a car accident attorney. With their guidance, you will have a better understanding of your rights and remedies. In case two weeks have already passed since your accident, your lawyer will be able to help you figure out the best next step.

The Fran Haasch Law Group and our personal injury attorneys are standing by to help car accident victims in Clearwater, Florida and the Greater Tampa Bay region. Our case results speak for themselves, but if you would like to know more about our legal services, please feel free to give us a call at (727) 784-8191. We offer free case evaluations to inquiring clients.

Can Party Hosts be Held Liable for Drunk Driving Accidents Under Florida Dram Shop Laws?

In a drunk driving accident case, liability for damages often falls primarily on the person who was driving under the influence. Under dram shop laws, people who have been injured by a drunk driver can hold other parties at fault.

About Liability in Drunk Driving Accident Claims

In most car accident and motorcycle accident cases, one of the drivers is found liable for resulting damages. But it is not uncommon for third parties to be partially at fault for a collision. Car companies that manufacture defective vehicles, cities that do not maintain their roads, and employers who fail to properly train their employees are all third parties that could be liable for a car accident or motorcycle accident.

In cases of drunk driving accidents, it is possible to attribute fault to the establishment where the drunk driver was served alcohol. The laws that allow this, known as dram shop laws, have varying terms in different states.

What are Dram Shop Laws?

Dram shop laws establish potential liability for third parties who may be responsible for a drunk driving accident. Mostly, these laws relate to the role of businesses that negligently supply alcohol to a person who eventually drives drunk.

Who is Liable for Drunk Driving Accidents Under Florida’s Dram Shop Laws?

The terms of dram shop laws vary between states. Florida has its own specific conditions for holding a business liable in a drunk driving accident case.

In Florida, a business could be at fault for a drunk driving accident if the driver they served was:

  • Under the age of 21
  • Addicted to alcohol, to the knowledge of the business

It is not a condition of Florida’s dram shop laws that a patron must have been visibly intoxicated in order for the serving business to be liable for a drunk driving accident. As long as the patron was either under 21 or had a known alcohol problem, and eventually injured another person in a collision, their level of intoxication upon purchase does not matter.

Some states’ dram shop laws include a clause that allows people to sure party hosts for negligence in a drunk driving case. The state of Florida, unfortunately, does not. If the drunk driver who was responsible for your injuries was coming from a private social event, the person who hosted the party or supplied them with alcohol cannot be liable for damages under Florida’s dram shop laws.

The Fran Haasch Law Group can represent you if you were injured in an accident with a drunk driver. Contact us to discuss the details of your case.

To schedule a consultation with our attorneys, complete our contact form or call (727) 784-8191. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Social Media: Do’s and Don’ts During Your Personal Injury Case

We’ve all heard the cliché, “looks can be deceiving.” Nowhere is this more pertinent than on social media. The way we portray ourselves online can differ vastly from our day-to-day reality. Normally, this difference isn’t a big deal, but when you are under the microscope, it can compromise your entire case.

This is why you have to be careful with social media during the pendency of your personal injury case.

Anything you post can easily be misinterpreted by adjusters, opposing counsel, and misrepresented to a judge or jury.

To play it safe, let’s look at some important do’s and don’ts:

  • DO: Deactivate your social media accounts if possible, in order to prevent further posting/tagging. However, it is important to preserve any of the information/photos that were previously posted.
  • DO: Enable the highest privacy settings on all your online platforms
  • DO: Monitor your “mentions” and ask friends not to tag you
  • DON’T: Make your accounts public
  • DON’T: Accept friend requests from people you don’t know
  • DON’T: Use your social media for networking during this time
  • DON’T: Discuss your case online

In today’s landscape, anything you post, or appear in online can be used as evidence against you. For example, if you post a photo of yourself enjoying an activity, it can be used to diminish the severity of your injury.

The #1 Rule

Even emails and text messages can be admitted as evidence, so the number one rule of a personal injury case is:

Never write down ANYTHING you wouldn’t want to be read aloud in court.

Final Take-Away

A short break from social media and technology doesn’t have to be all bad, and it could make or break your case.

Don’t blow your case for a text or tweet.

For questions about social media, contact your attorney at The Fran Haasch Law Group.

These valuable do’s and don’ts come from the desk of Fran Haasch herself, and all our clients must agree to our social media policy before we represent them.

To work with an attorney who understands the modern world and truly has your best interest at heart, call us at (727) 784-8191 or request a free case evaluation online.

Self-Driving Vehicles Without Human Backup Allowed on Florida Roads

On July 1, 2019, a new law came into effect in Florida, which allows autonomous vehicles to operate on public roads without a human backup driver in the car. In June of 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law, saying that such a measure will allow the state to contribute to ever-advancing automotive technology.

Types of Autonomous Vehicles Covered Under the Legislation

The new law applies to vehicles with level 4 and 5 autonomous driving abilities. Depending on the area in which the car is being operated, a level 4 vehicle can travel without human input. Typically, a person can take control of the car when moving through surface streets. A level 5 car can operate on its own regardless of road or condition type. Both kinds of vehicles are still in testing phases.

Florida Becomes More Competitive

Allowing testing, and eventually operation, of high and full automation vehicles, will attract more autonomous vehicle companies to the state, making it a competitor with California, Arizona, and Nevada, which already allow such testing. Additionally, more lucrative job opportunities will be available in Florida.

Minimizing Accidents and Traffic

DeSantis said that permitting self-driving vehicles on the roads could cut back on the number of car accidents and decrease traffic. With various gadgets and apps easily accessible to drivers, many are distracted when they get behind the wheel. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 1,000 people are injured every day in distracted driving-related accidents.

Under the new law, individuals who have autonomous driving engaged on their vehicles will be exempt from hands-free statutes in the state.

Issues with Driverless Cars

Although the benefits are plenty with the new law taking effect, some see potential issues. Vehicle automation will take some human error out of driving, yet that does not guarantee they will be 100% safe. Collisions can still occur because of malfunctioning equipment. For instance, in 2016, a Tesla running on autopilot mode failed to brake when a cleaning vehicle came into its path, killing its 23-year-old passenger. In that same year, a Google Lexus backed into a bus as a result of a faulty system, which caused only superficial damage to the vehicle.

Under the new law, ride-sharing companies, like Lyft and Uber, that seek to take advantage of driverless technology on Florida roads will be required to have at least $1 million coverage for accidents resulting in death, bodily injury, and property damage.

Reach Out to The Fran Haasch Law Group for a Case Evaluation

As automotive technology continues to advance and more driverless cars appear on our streets, questions about accident liability are likely to arise. Determining negligence in such a collision depends on the facts of the case. Our lawyers will use their resources and skill to establish responsibility and seek fair compensation for damages.

Discuss your case with our attorneys by calling us at (727) 784-8191 or contacting us online.

How Do I Get Reimbursed for Lost Wages and Medical Expenses After an Auto Accident?

car accident can cause you to suffer serious injuries that might require medical treatment, which could include surgery, rehabilitation, and prescription medication. In some cases, the injury could also be such that you must miss work, resulting in lost wages. So how do you get reimbursed for accident-related expenses incurred and paid while you were recovering?

Under Florida law, motorists are required to maintain a $10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) on their auto insurance policy, which covers costs for lost wages and medical expenses. Since Florida is a no-fault state, if you were injured in an accident, you might be entitled to receive PIP benefits regardless of who caused the collision.

Reimbursement for Lost Wages

If you missed work because of your injuries, the PIP coverage you have on your insurance will reimburse 60% of your lost income. For example, say you were injured in an accident that caused you to be out of work for a certain amount of time, resulting in an income loss of $3,000. The benefit amount you could receive would be $1,800, which is 60% of $3,000.

To recover lost wages benefits, your employer must complete an earnings verification form that lists your pay rate and the dates you missed work. Your physician must also provide documentation confirming that your injuries kept you from going back to work.

Reimbursement for Medical Expenses

In addition to lost wages, PIP benefits also cover up to 80% of your accident-related medical expenses. For example, if the treatment you underwent or medications you paid for totaled $2,000, you may be entitled to receive reimbursement for $1,600. The benefits also cover your travel to doctor’s appointments. It is essential to keep all prescription receipts and mileage tracking forms to ensure you get compensated for costs.

Schedule a Free Evaluation with The Fran Haasch Law Group

Our attorneys are committed to helping accident victims recover the benefits they need for damages resulting from a collision. When you work with us, we will get all the required paperwork and forms sent to your insurance company on your behalf, allowing you to focus on your recovery. In the event you do not have PIP coverage, we will thoroughly review your circumstances to see if other reimbursement options might be available.

For the personalized attention you need, call us at (727) 784-8191 or contact us online.

What About My Rental Car?

Was your vehicle severely damaged in an automobile accident? Are you wondering who is going to pay for your rental car?

If you require a rental car after an accident, you may be able to be reimbursed by the at-fault party’s insurance company. This reimbursement will likely occur if there is no dispute as to who was at fault in the accident. However, if you have rental car coverage with your auto insurance company, you may be entitled to reimbursement directly from your own insurance company.

Although the at-fault party’s insurer or your own insurance company are supposed to reimburse you for a rental car, they might try to deny your claim and leave you with the bill. If you encounter issues with your insurance company regarding reimbursement for your rental car, you should get in touch with an experienced lawyer to get assistance with your case. A skilled lawyer can review your policy and use their knowledge of the law to enforce its terms.

Speak to a Car Accident Lawyer Today

Have you been involved in a car accident? Do you need help recovering all of the compensation you are entitled to? At The Fran Haasch Law Group, our team of lawyers is committed to helping clients with their accident cases, and we are prepared to put our skills and resources to work for you today. We will file your claim, deal with the insurance adjusters on your behalf, and guide you through the entire legal process to ensure that your interests are protected.

Call us today at (727) 784-8191 to schedule your free case evaluation with a member of our law firm. We are available 24/7 to take your call!

5 Tips for Taking Effective Photos of a Vehicle Accident

One of the most commonly recommended tips for what to do following a car accident (after any medical and safety concerns) is to make sure to take photos of the damage. Photos of an accident provide substantial evidence in your case, and can show attorneys and insurance companies exactly what took place.

What should be included in these photos, and how should the scene be photographed to ensure the pictures are effective in providing that evidence?

Below are some car accident photo tips to follow:

#1: Be comprehensive, with numerous photos showcasing the whole scene and close-up details. Include everything!

When photographing an accident scene, there’s no such thing as too many pictures or being over-detailed. Remember, you are trying to provide complete evidence of the incident and build your case. You should take wide shots of the entire area, along with close-up pictures of the damage to all vehicles, and any unsafe road conditions that contributed to the accident. Incorporating objects into your photos that can exhibit the size of any damage will be helpful.

#2: Photograph the people who were involved, and their injuries.

To establish a complete portrait of the accident, you should include photos of everyone who was present. If you are able to do so, take pictures of the police officers, emergency responders, and the other drivers and passengers, as well as their injuries.

#3: Photograph your own injuries as they progress.

If you were hurt in the accident, you should track the development of your injuries. Once you receive necessary medical attention and can safely take pictures, start documenting the healing process. Again, you can never be too detailed, so frequent, detailed photography of your injuries will help your case.

#4: Make sure the time stamps on your photos are accurate.

Timing is key in accident cases, so check that your camera is correctly time stamping your pictures.

#5: Go back to photograph anything you may have missed.

The aftermath of any motor vehicle accident is extremely chaotic, and it may be difficult to get the comprehensive photographic evidence you need immediately following the incident. By returning to the scene of the accident, you can capture contributing factors you may have missed. If your injuries prevent you from taking pictures after the accident, ask a friend or family member to help.Have you been injured in a car accident? Contact The Fran Haasch Law Groupthrough our message form, or call us at (727) 784-8191 24/7 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident?

If you have been involved in a car accident in Florida, you may need to hire a personal injury attorney. However, it generally depends on the circumstances of the collision and the severity of your injuries.

For example, if you have not been injured, then you most likely won’t need legal services. On the other hand, if you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury that results in missing time from work to recover, having a lawyer on your side can help you obtain your entitled compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering.

The following are the circumstances when you need to hire a lawyer after a car accident:

  • Serious injury – As we mentioned above, you want to hire an attorney if you suffered serious or catastrophic injuries stemming from a car accident. Not only will you need compensation to pay for past and current medical bills, but also future medical costs. Your lawyer can ensure both past and future medical expenses are taken care of.
  • Death – If a loved one passes away in a car accident, you need to hire a lawyer for the case to recover funeral and burial expenses, past and future medical costs before the death, and other damages related to the loss.
  • Fault – If the at-fault driver blames you for the collision, then you need to hire a lawyer to hold the other party liable for their negligent actions. Keep in mind, Florida is a “pure comparative fault” state, meaning your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
  • More than one party – If there are additional parties, such as multiple drivers or pedestrians, your car accident claim will be more complex. To protect your rights and best interests, having a lawyer on your side can make a difference.
  • Police report – If the police report fails to accurately describe the accident and places you at fault, a lawyer will fight your case.

You want a lawyer who is well-versed in car accident claims and personal injury lawsuits. With nearly two decades of legal experience, our legal team at The Fran Haasch Law Group has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients by providing them with compassionate and customized legal solutions.

Contact us and schedule a free consultation for more information today.

3 Apps to Prevent Texting While Driving

In today’s society, cell phones have become an important part of our daily lives. From communicating and keeping up with current events to sharing our lives on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, we are constantly checking our phones—even when we are driving a motor vehicle.

Unfortunately, distracted driving injuries and kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, mainly due to cell phone use. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nine people are killed every day in the United States due to distracted driving.

Teenagers are considered the most at-risk age group—with the highest fatality rate caused by distracted driving. Not only are they less experienced than other motorists, but they are more likely to text while driving, drive over the speed limit, and are less likely to wear seatbelts.

In order to combat distracted driving, several app developers have created apps to help prevent it. So, instead of causing distracted driving accidents, your cell phone could be used to fight them.

The following are the most popular apps to help prevent texting while driving:

  • LifeSaver – This app blocks access to your cell phone while driving and alerts loved ones once you have safely arrived at your destination. In addition, commercial fleet managers can use LifeSaver to monitor the behavior of their drivers.
  • AT&T DriveMode – This app prevents you from calling, receiving calls, and texting while driving. Once you are driving more than 15 miles per hour, DriveMode can automatically start.
  • SafeDrive – Not only does this app disable texting while the vehicle is in motion, but it also has a reward system that enables users to earn discounts at various retailers. When you drive over six miles per hour, the app automatically begins awarding you points. But as soon as you use your phone, you will lose all the points gained during the drive.

If you have suffered a serious injury caused by a distracted driver in Clearwater, FL, contact our legal team at The Fran Haasch Law Group and schedule a free consultation today.

Who Is at Fault in a Single Vehicle Car Accident?

Typically, you will see news coverage of car accidents where multiple vehicles are involved and there are significant personal injuries. But a large number of accidents do not include multiple drivers. In some cases a single driver may be seriously injured without other vehicles involved and without it being the driver’s fault.

Not all single vehicle accidents are the result of a negligent driver. A collision causing personal injury can happen outside of a driver’s control. For example, there have been cases in which a brake failure results in a vehicle going down a hill and injuring an owner or a pedestrian. Or, it’s possible for a passenger’s seat to come loose and crush the vehicle’s occupant who can’t escape.

Today’s vehicles consist of more technical parts manufactured by different companies who use materials obtained from multiple countries. Any defective part could malfunction and cause a car accident. Few motor vehicle owners are familiar with maintaining their vehicle with all of its new technology. So we rely on professionals to maintain and repair our vehicles. If an accident occurs due to a mechanical failure, the mechanic who inadequately performed a repair could be found responsible for the crash leading to property damage and personal injury. In addition, the company who employs the mechanic could be held liable as well if they failed to properly supervise or train the employee. These cases are categorized as cases of negligence. Negligence is a legal term based on four points: duty, breach, causation and damages. This means that there is a duty or responsibility to care about public safety that should not be breached and cause damages or injuries.

Cases in which a particular mechanism or part failure results in a car accident or is attributed to causing damages are considered as product liability. In these situations, the manufacturer for the defective product could be held responsible. It is also possible for blame to be assigned to companies who distribute or sell the defective products if it can be shown that they knew the products were defective. Furthermore, since few vehicle owners perform maintenance on their own cars, it is possible for blame to be assigned to a professional who improperly installs the defective product or who fails to examine the part to ensure it doesn’t have a defect.

In these situations, the victims of a vehicle malfunction have a difficult time making their case and dealing with the insurance companies as this type of accident may involve multiple individuals and companies. Insurance companies will try to shift blame from the person or company they cover to some other company who may be located somewhere else outside the country. Therefore, due to the complexity of these situations you need to consult with the Clearwater car accident attorneys at The Fran Haasch Law Group who have the knowledge and experience to fight any defensive action made by an insurance company.

Professional Clearwater Car Accident Attorneys

At The Fran Haasch Law Group, we have the expertise and experience to provide Clearwater area residents with the most effective representation in all types of motor vehicle accident cases. Our Clearwater car accident attorney team is dedicated to fighting for justice and ensuring you receive the best representation possible. Our lawyers will be there at every step of the way to help you receive the compensation you are entitled to for any vehicle damages and personal injuries, or for wrongful arrest.

If you or a family member have been involved in a motor vehicle accident with property damage or injury, we strongly recommend you contact us to schedule a free consultation to understand your rights.