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.

A Look at Recent Motorcycle Crash Data

As a motorcycle rider, you already understand that riding can be statistically more dangerous than driving, especially when negligent motorists are on the road. What are the odds of getting into a motorcycle accident, though? Are they as high as people seem to assume? Taking a look at some recent motorcycle crash data statistics can shed some light on the situation.

Recent Data from the NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a federal entity tasked with tracking and reporting yearly motor vehicle accident statistics. They are a reliable source for information regarding motorcycle accident trends and interpreting what they mean. Since it takes some time to collect data and analyze it accurately, 2018 is the most recent year available for motorcycle crash data from the NHTSA.

According to the NHTSA’s recent findings:

  • 4,985 motorcyclists lost their lives in motorcycle accidents in 2018.
  • Motorcyclist deaths declined almost 5% from 2017, which was 3% lower than in 2016. This is an encouraging trend.
  • Approximately 25% of motorcyclists who lost their lives in crashes were drunk while riding.
  • 29% of motorcycle riders who lost their lives in 2018 did not use a Department of Transportation compliant helmet while riding, which dramatically increased their risk of death in a crash.

The quick takeaway from the NHTSA data is that more riders need to wear approved helmets while riding. It also reveals that there is a significant problem with intoxicated riding that must be addressed. Please always wear your DOT-compliant helmet and never drink and ride.

Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles Crash Data

What does the data show for Florida specifically? The Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) department has recently published 2018 crash data about all accident types in the state. Looking through their findings, we can learn a little more about trends in Florida motorcycle accidents.

Key notes from the FHSMV 2018 statistics:

  • 531 fatal motorcycle accidents were reported throughout Florida.
  • 7,849 motorcyclists reported being seriously injured in crashes.
  • 25 motorcycle passengers lost their lives in reported crashes.
  • 621 motorcycle passengers were injured in serious motorcycle accidents.
  • Only 1,225 motorcycle riders in crashes reported no injuries.
  • Roughly 50% of motorcycle accidents involved a motorcyclist with a no helmet or a non-DOT-compliant helmet.
  • Volusia County reported some of the highest numbers of motorcycle crashes in Florida with 503 reports in 2018 or one motorcycle accident every 18 hours or so.

Additional Data from the III

The Insurance Information Institute (III) is an independent safety organization that uses insurance claim information to compile crash data each year. Without direct ties to the federal government, the III sometimes takes a little longer to research data and release their findings. Currently, most of their information is reliant on 2016 data, but it is still quite useful when getting an understanding of motorcycle crash statistics in the country.

According to information gathered by the III:

  • Proper motorcycle helmet usage has actually increased by about 15% in the last 10 years. The lowest point on their records is a concerning dip to just 48% in 2005.
  • In 2016, the motorcyclist fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was 25.85, the highest it has ever been recorded by the III.
  • In 2015, approximately 88,000 motorcyclists were suffered nonfatal injuries in crashes. This amount is about 10% of all motorcycle riders with registered rides.
  • 21% of all fatal motorcycle accidents are reported between 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Another 20% occur between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM.

From the III provided information, we can readily see a couple of important notes. Firstly, learning that 10% of all motorcyclists are injured in a crash each year is concerning. Every rider must always be cautious and aware of their surroundings to stay off this high statistic. Secondly, it is clear that traffic complications caused by rush hour and the sunset spike the chances of a motorcycle accident. If you need to ride during these hours, then you should pay even extra attention to the road.

From all of us at The Fran Haasch Law Group, we wish all motorcyclists safe rides each and every day. If you’re ever in an accident in or around Clearwater, we would like to see if we can help you pursue compensation. Call (727) 784-8191 to connect with our Florida motorcycle accident attorneys.

Useful Resources

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.

Can I Get a Cash Advance on My Settlement?

Personal injury lawsuits can take a substantial amount of time, even when a case is strong and backed by solid evidence. If your injuries are severe, you might be facing some hefty medical expenses and are unable to work until you recover, which can put you in a tight financial position. Many accident victims wonder if it is possible to get a cash advance on their settlement during this time, which they hope to pay back with their settlement award. However, law firms are legally and ethically prohibited from providing cash advances or loans on settlements. No matter who you choose to work with, the law does not allow your attorney to give you a cash advance on your settlement. In some cases, attorneys might refer you to companies who provide these services, but be cautious about pursuing this type of loan or cash advance. The interest rates are unconventionally high and often unfair to consumers.

The Disadvantages of Lawsuit Loans

As much as you might need the cash, getting a cash advance or a lawsuit loan on your settlement might not be in your best interests. Generally, when you pay back your lender, you will pay back a funding fee or interest payment, in addition to the principal amount you owe. You could potentially pay back triple the amount you borrowed for the lender. Keep in mind that lawsuit loans are not regulated like most loans. With fewer restrictions, lawsuit funding companies have more freedom to charge exorbitant fees for their services.

Additionally, because these services are not heavily regulated, finding a reputable lender will be challenging and you might not find a company that will treat you fairly. Even if you do manage to find a reputable lender, not all lawsuits qualify for loans. Since you will only have to pay the lender back if you win, lenders only provide loans when they are confident you will be able to recover compensation. If you win less than the lender anticipated, you will also not have to pay back the full amount, which is why it is often a difficult task in itself to find a reputable lending company.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney at The Fran Haasch Law Group Today!

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. At The Fran Haasch Law Group, our team is backed by more than two decades of experience and a history of proven success. We are also aware that this may be a financially difficult time for you, which is why we provide our services on a contingency fee basis, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries while we handle the rest. If we cannot win your case, you will not owe us any legal fees.

Call our law office today at (727) 784-8191 to learn more about your legal options. We offer free case evaluations. We are available 24/7 to take your call.

How Much Money Can I Get for My Personal Injury Case?

If you were involved in an accident that was caused by another person’s reckless actions or negligence, you might be able to pursue a personal injury claim to recover compensation for damages that include, but are not limited to, medical expenses, pain/suffering, and lost wages. Because some may be non-economic, such as loss of companionship, there isn’t an exact number that can be placed on these harms. Determining award amounts depends on the circumstances of each individual case, and various factors affect how much you can get.

Valuing Damages

Before submitting a demand for compensation to the insurance company, your attorney will thoroughly evaluate your case. This review includes assessing both economic and non-economic losses. Typically, determining how much to request for such things as medical bills and lost wages is straightforward, as you will have a receipt or pay stub that shows the cost of the treatment or your earnings.

Valuing non-economic losses become a bit more challenging because they are not based on actual amounts as medical expenses are. When valuing these types of damages, your lawyer will look at the severity of your injuries or losses to determine the amount to demand from the insurance company.

Making a Demand

After your attorney examines the facts of your case and decides how much to request for damages you suffered, they will discuss the matter with you. If you don’t feel the amount is fair, a higher compensation amount can be demanded. However, asking for more money does not mean the insurance company will comply. Not only will it have its own assessment of what your damages are worth, but it will generally only pay out settlements that are within the responsible party’s policy limits.

Negotiating a Settlement

The first request your lawyer makes is not the amount you should expect to receive for your claim; instead, it is a base for which negotiations can begin. You, your lawyer, and the insurance company will discuss compensation until deciding on a fair amount, which could increase or decrease from the initial demand. When negotiating a claim, your attorney will notify you of the offers made and what your next steps are.

Contact The Fran Haasch Law Group So One of Our Attorneys Can Evaluate Your Potential Case

Understanding the emotional and financial impacts an accident can have on your life, our lawyers provide compassionate and focused representation to work toward getting just compensation. We will examine all receipts and bills for accident-related expenses, as well as value non-economic damages, to make a demand to the insurance company. Backed by over 18 years of legal experience, we have the skills to build a solid case on your behalf and negotiate a fair settlement.

To get started on your case, call us at (727) 784-8191 or contact us onlinetoday.

How Long Does It Take to Get My Compensation?

The amount of time it takes to recover compensation varies because each case is handled on an individual basis. Because personal injury cases involve meticulous facts, injury reports, and negotiations with insurers, the process can be lengthy. The average injury case can take between 12-14 months to complete. On the other hand, some cases do not settle at all. Cases usually do not settle because the insurance company does not offer enough compensation or because the injured party seeks too much compensation.

Since we are making a claim for your injuries, the case value is greatly determined based upon the extent of your injuries and treatment. In order for the attorney, insurance company, or a jury to properly evaluate your case, the full extent of your injuries needs to be documented in a final report from your treating physician.

After we receive that final report, we can then assemble the comprehensive demand package which summarizes your case and injuries. The demand package will be sent to the insurance company and you will receive a copy.

In response to the demand package, we will receive the insurance company’s response. The insurance company’s response may be a request for an extension, a request for additional information, or clarification of the previously submitted information. It also may be a denial of the claim (i.e. a failure to offer any money) or an offer. We will discuss all of this information with you and, after receiving your approval, we will negotiate your claim and attempt to resolve your case. Our goal is to recover maximum compensation on your behalf.

Do you have a question for our personal injury lawyers at The Fran Haasch Law Group? Then contact us today at (727) 784-8191 so one of our attorneys can evaluate your potential case.

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.

Should I Speak to the Insurance Company About My Injuries?

After being injured in an accident, one of the first calls you receive will come from the other party’s insurance company. Their job is to prevent you from obtaining compensation or to reduce the amount of compensation you receive and, to accomplish this, they will use numerous tactics to weaken your claim. One such tactic is to lure you into a conversation about your injuries. Unfortunately, you will not know much about your injuries this early on, especially if you did not even have a chance to seek medical treatment yet. Therefore, it is in your best interests not to discuss your injuries with the other party’s insurance company until your attorney advises you to do so. Generally, you will provide information about your injuries to the insurance company once you are ready to begin negotiating your claim.

Understanding How to Handle the Insurance Company

When speaking to an insurance adjuster, it is important to not discuss the details of your injuries, even after you seek treatment. The adjuster might try to convince you that you are obligated to provide your medical records regarding any treatment you received thus far, but you are under no such obligation and you should politely decline this request.

You and your attorney will be able to discuss your injuries once you begin to negotiate a settlement. Generally, this is done upon reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI does not necessarily mean you will be fully recovered, but rather that you have recovered as much as you can and your condition cannot improve any more than it already has. At this stage, you will have an understanding of any permanent damage or disabilities you might have as a result of your injuries, which will allow your attorney to calculate a more accurate estimate for the value of your claim. Waiting to reach MMI will help ensure that you do not accidentally set too low a value on your claim and end up footing the bill for any of the expenses and losses associated with your injuries.

The only details you are obligated to provide when speaking to the insurance adjuster are the basics, including when and where the accident took place, if there were any witnesses, and if the officers at the scene wrote up a police report. Anything beyond these basic details are not required. You can refer the insurance adjuster to your own insurance company or ask that they speak with your attorney.

Hire a Knowledgeable Personal Injury Attorney Today!

If you were injured in an accident due to someone’s negligence, you need to contact the personal injury team at The Fran Haasch Law Group for the skilled legal assistance you need to navigate this complex process. With almost two decades of experience on our side, you can feel confident in our team’s ability to represent you and fight on your behalf for the compensation you deserve for your losses and suffering.

Contact our law office today at (727) 784-8191 to request a complimentary case review with one of our compassionate personal injury attorneys to discuss your case and find out how we can help you.

How An Accident Can Affect Your Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and millions of Americans must face the reality of living with a mental illness every day. Mental illness can be triggered after a traumatic experience such as an unexpected accident or injury.

Shock and stress can trigger psychological injuries which significantly impact your quality of life for years to come. Recovering from an accident takes far more than hospital visits to treat your injuries and victims often face an avalanche of consequences, predominantly mental pain and suffering.

Psychological injuries can take many forms, including but not limited to the following:

  • PTSD – Post-traumatic stress disorder is common after a victim survives a life-threatening accident. Those suffering from PTSD often experience flashbacks, nightmares, memory loss, paranoia, and numbness.
  • Depression – Victims feel hopeless about the future or their ability to recover. A common reaction is seeking isolation and avoiding talking about the event.
  • Anxiety – Victims may experience feelings of fear or guilt in addition to always being on edge for potential dangers.

Compensation for psychological injuries may be complicated to calculate, but every injured individual has the right to damages for another’s negligence or recklessness.

Injured in Clearwater? Contact Our Qualified & Skilled Personal Injury Attorneys Today

The Fran Haasch Law Group is led by knowledgeable and tenacious lawyers committed to delivering the optimal results to our clients, no matter the obstacles in our way. Our Clearwater legal team’s primary focus is ensuring your case is as strong as possible. Our 18+ years of experience will be your greatest ally during this challenging time.

Would you like to schedule an initial case evaluation with a member of our firm? Contact us by calling (727) 784-8191.