Do you really need to hire a lawyer after a Florida car accident? I get asked that question a lot. And the answer is; yes, regardless of the circumstances. Here are five reasons why:
1. It may not be as simple as it looks.
All car accidents and injuries are different; but In order to fully evaluate each specific case, you need to consult with a lawyer. As a Miami lawyer that sues for car accident insurance settlements I recommend that if you are seriously hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident to hire a lawyer before talking with an insurance claims adjuster.
2. You get the benefits not some clinic.
In South Florida, I hear radio advertisements constantly trying to lure crash victims to some “accident clinic” promising benefits of up to $10,000. These ads are misleading and geared to accessing just PIP medical benefits rather than reimbursing claimants for lost wages. Even in small damage car crashes, those insured with PIP are eligible for lost income reimbursement. Most people simply do not know about this.
The definition of Florida’s PIP requirements are buried deep in Florida’s Insurance Statute §627.736. Most are unaware that PIP pays sixty percent of any loss of gross income and loss of earning capacity. PIP’s lost wage benefits pay those who cannot work after a car, truck or motorcycle accident. The statute defines lost wage benefits as “disability benefits” and insurance companies are required to make payments every two week up to $10,000 or the remaining balance of PIP.
3. Death Benefits for the Family.
Florida’s PIP law also requires the insurance to pay $5,000 in death benefits per person killed in a car accident, regardless of fault. PIP death benefits are paid to blood relatives, adopted relatives or the spouse. Sometimes, an estate has to be opened in probate court to process the disbursement.
4. PIP is a maze on top of a minefield.
Florida’s PIP statute is a legal maze requiring strict compliance for full benefits to be paid. Car insurance companies count on people failing to follow the statute so that they can deny the claim. Insurance companies routinely defend PIP cases and blame their own customers for not meeting the rigid notice requirements.
Insurance companies are always happy to deny coverage. However, a simple denial does not always mean that there is no coverage. Especially, in a Florida car accident with a drunk driver; one should have an experienced lawyer review the policies and investigate the accident to verify coverage from other sources such as a restaurant, bar or liquor retailer.
In 2012 Florida’s legislature reformed the PIP Law. Now people hurt in car accidents have to receive medical treatment within 14 days from qualified and licensed medical providers to qualify for PIP benefits. Massage therapist and acupuncture treatments are no longer covered by PIP.
Under the new law, policy holders are obliged to appear for sworn statements and physical examinations. These new obstacles are all designed by the insurance industry to make it as difficult and inconvenient as possible for anyone trying to obtain PIP benefits.
5. Insurance companies profit when they do not pay claims.
Most Florida drivers have no bodily injury insurance. Our South Florida truck accident lawyers always recommend that our clients buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage. Without Uninsured Motorist coverage most Florida accident victims will never receive adequate compensation for their claims.
Therefore, when medical care, hospitalization or surgery is required you should consult with an experienced Dade County accident attorney; because insurance companies are designed to minimize the amount of compensation the victim receives. Simply put, the less insurance companies pay out in claims the more they keep as profits.
The Insurance Research Council holds itself out as an independent, not-for-profit organization that conducts research for the insurance industry. It recently published a report outlining the growing use of chiropractic treatment and magnetic resonance imaging MRIs in Florida car and truck accident insurance claims. It found that whenever attorneys are hired for car accident claims; the insurance companies paid more per claim.
Since car and truck accident insurance companies hire experienced lawyers, licensed claims adjusters and are able to get insurance laws changed in their favor, I believe you should be represented and protected by your own lawyer too.