Articles Posted in Insurance Issues

Florida law requires motorists to carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage to cover property damage and personal injuries that may result after an accident. In some situations, Florida injury victims are unable to recover for their losses because the at-fault driver cannot pay. To address this issue, lawmakers require Florida insurance companies to offer their policyholders optional uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects motorists, relatives they reside with, and people who occupy their vehicles. In most cases, insurance companies offer UIM coverage in the same amount that the policyholder has bodily injury coverage. This coverage is essential in instances where a driver is involved in an accident with a negligent driver that does not have enough insurance coverage to cover the victim’s injuries. This coverage typically covers damages related to medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitative or nursing care, medical devices, pain and suffering, and death.

This coverage is vital because, despite laws requiring insurance coverage, Florida has a high rate of uninsured drivers. Additionally, Florida has a very low minimum amount of necessary coverage. These two facts can have devastating financial and physical consequences for car accident victims. Injury victims who wish to evoke this coverage may face difficulties because insurance companies are often reluctant to pay out damages. When this happens, injury victims may incur a delay in obtaining appropriate medical treatment, which can contribute to additional serious health conditions.

A Florida appellate court recently issued an opinion in a lawsuit stemming from an insurance dispute between a Florida policyholder and her car insurance provider. For several years, the plaintiff exercised with the assistance of a personal trainer out of a mobile gym. The gym used the woman’s electricity to power various equipment and machinery. On one occasion, the woman suffered injuries during her workout. She filed a negligence lawsuit against the trainer and the mobile gym’s owner, ultimately settling the claim.

That settlement did not fully compensate the plaintiff for her injuries, however. Thus, to cover her remaining damages, she filed a claim with her insurance company under her uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) policy. The insurance company refused to pay the costs, claiming that the policy did not extend to the circumstances surrounding her injuries. She filed a claim against the Florida car insurance company. Although these facts are admittedly unusual, the case presents a common issue that arises when a policyholder attempts to collect compensation from an insurance company.

Florida insurance companies often take on an adversarial role, even with their own policyholders. Claims adjusters often receive training to negotiate settlements and deny claims in the insurance company’s favor. Several issues commonly arise when a policyholder tries to collect from an insurance company. First, there may be issues surrounding causation. Insurance companies often require motorists to provide evidence of what caused the accident. After establishing causation, they will usually need the party to prove fault. Adjusters will often deny claims based on who they find to be at fault for the accident. If a policyholder overcomes the initial hurdles, they will then need to claim their damages. Insurance companies may try and limit payouts by contending that the policyholder’s injuries were not as severe as they suggest.

Anyone who has ever tried to read a Florida car insurance policy knows that they are lengthy, complex, and do not clearly outline what coverage is provided. Most Florida motorists end up purchasing insurance after answering a series of questions online about their vehicles, driving habits, and desired coverage amounts. However, few drivers truly know what their insurance policy covers.

After a Florida car accident, most injured motorists rely on insurance coverage to reimburse them for the expenses associated with the accident, including medical bills and lost wages. Florida car accident victims may have also endured significant pain and suffering as a result of the crash. Unfortunately, too often, the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate an accident victim. In this situation, the accident victim may need to file a claim with their own insurance company under the underinsured/uninsured motorist (UIM) clause.

A UIM clause provides motorists with additional insurance coverage in the event that the at-fault driver does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate them for their injuries. This is especially important in Florida, where it is estimated that approximately 23 percent of drivers are uninsured. Due to the importance of UIM insurance, Florida lawmakers determined that an insurance company most provide UIM coverage in the same amount as bodily injury coverage unless the insured specifically waives UIM coverage. The burden rests with the insurance company to ensure that they obtain a valid waiver of coverage; otherwise, the insurance company may still be on the hook for providing UIM coverage.

Earlier this month, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a case discussing a crucial issue that arises in many Florida personal injury cases. The case required the court to determine if the defendant insurance company could be named as a responsible party.

The facts of the case are not complicated, but the relationships between the parties are a little confusing. According to the court’s opinion, a girl was visiting a resort while at a Bible camp. The church leased several conference rooms from the resort. The resort had various other amenities, including a zip-line. The lease between the church and the resort did not mention the zip-line.

The young girl and a few friends decided to go zip-lining during some downtime. The girls had to sign release waivers and pay an additional fee. Unfortunately, while the girl was on the course, a resort employee forgot to clip the girl’s carabiner to the line, and she fell 50 feet. The girl and her family filed a personal injury case against the resort.

While insurance is supposed to provide a motorist with peace of mind after a Florida car accident, in reality, the opposite is often true. Because insurance companies are for-profit corporations, they rely on taking in more money each month in premiums than they pay out in claims. Thus, insurance companies approach each claim with the same goal: expending as little money as possible to resolve the claim.

In some cases, insurance adjusters will offer low-ball settlement agreements knowing the claim is worth much more in hopes of catching an accident victim in a moment of desperation. In other situations, insurance companies will outright deny a claim based on their interpretation of the policy language. For this reason, it is critical that Florida motorists take care to ensure that they understand their insurance coverage and that it meets their needs. A recent opinion issued by a state appellate court illustrates just one type of issue that may arise after a Florida car accident.

According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff was killed in a traffic accident when he was struck while riding a moped. The moped was powered by a small 49cc motor, similar to that which would power a scooter. The motorist’s family initially filed a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. However, because that policy only provided $100,000 in benefits, the family then filed a claim with their insurance company under the underinsured motorist (UIM) provision of the policy.

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida car accident case discussing whether the plaintiff’s claim that her insurance company acted in bad faith should be permitted to proceed towards trial. Ultimately, the court held that although the insurance company eventually made payment under the plaintiff’s policy, the payment was too late. Thus, the court permitted the plaintiff’s case to proceed.

Bad-Faith Claims Against Insurance Companies

Under Florida law, insurance companies must provide timely payment to policyholders. If an insurance company does not make payment on an insured’s claim, the insured can pursue a bad-faith claim against the insurer. However, before this type of claim can be pursued, the insured must file a civil remedy notice (CRN), giving the insurance company 60 days to respond and cure the bad faith.

The Facts

In its opinion, the court explained that the plaintiff and another driver was involved in a Florida car accident in the summer of 2013. For the purposes of this opinion, it was agreed that the plaintiff was not at fault. Both the plaintiff and the at-fault driver were insured by the same insurance company. Because the plaintiff’s injuries were serious and exceeded the coverage limits of the at-fault driver’s policy, the plaintiff filed a claim under the at-fault driver’s policy as well as her own underinsured motorist (UIM) policy.

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In Florida car accident cases, one of the first issues the parties may argue over is where the case will be heard. Of course, most plaintiffs would prefer to file the case in a venue that is convenient for them. However, as a general rule venue is appropriate where the defendant resides. That being said, a plaintiff can choose where to initially file a case, and may have some say in where a case is heard.

A recent case discusses a somewhat complicated venue issue that arose after an uninsured motorist collision. The case involved a named and an unnamed defendant, and required the court to determine whether the named defendant should be able to transfer the case to his home county. Finding that the case could be heard in either of the defendant’s home venues, the court determined that the named defendant was not entitled to transfer the case.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were involved in a three-car accident after an unnamed driver swerved in front of their vehicle, requiring them to quickly apply the brakes. The named defendant, who was traveling directly behind the plaintiffs, slammed into the back of their car. The plaintiffs claimed the named defendant was following too closely.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing whether a car accident that was caused by an intoxicated employee was covered under the employer’s insurance policy. Specifically, the case required the court to determine if the employee was considered a “permissive user” under the company’s insurance policy. Ultimately, the court concluded that the employee was a permissive user, and therefore the accident was covered under the employer’s insurance policy.

The case presents a valuable lesson for Florida car accident victims in that it illustrates the importance of discovering all available potential avenues for recovery in a personal injury lawsuit. By naming multiple responsible parties, a plaintiff increases their chance of recovery in the event that one named defendant is insolvent or found not to be liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured in a car accident when the defendant rear-ended him. At the time of the accident, the defendant was traveling for work and operating a company vehicle. It was later determined that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

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A state appellate court recently issued an opinion in an interesting car accident case. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss whether a plaintiff’s signed rejection of uninsured motorist (UIM) protection was valid under state law. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s rejection of UIM coverage was valid and the defendant insurance company was not required to cover the plaintiff’s claim.The case is important for Florida car accident victims because it illustrates the benefits of UIM coverage and the potential problems accident victims can encounter if they do not obtain sufficient UIM coverage.

The Facts of the Case

The opinion was issued as a result of two consolidated cases that presented similar issues. In both cases, the plaintiffs had obtained auto insurance coverage through the defendant insurance company. As is required by state law, the insurance company included UIM coverage as a default coverage. However, the company allowed for customers to opt out of coverage by signing a UIM rejection form.

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In most Florida car accident cases, one or more of the parties involved will file a claim with an insurance company, seeking compensation for the injuries they sustained in the accident. In many cases, after an accident, it is an at-fault driver’s insurance company – rather than the driver themselves – that ends up compensating the accident victim for their injuries.An insurance policy is essentially just a contract between the insurance company and the insured, whereby the insurance company agrees to cover certain costs that are incurred in the event of an accident. As with all contracts, both parties have certain obligations and rights. For example, the insured’s main obligation is to pay the monthly premium, and in exchange, the insurance company agrees to provide the insurance contained in the policy.

There are often, however, terms that give rise to additional obligations on the insured’s part. For example, most insurance policies require that notice be given to the company in the event of an accident that may result in a claim being filed against the policy. In a recent case, a court had to determine whether a plaintiff’s failure to provide immediate notice violated a term of the contract and, if so, whether her claim should be dismissed as a result.

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