Automobile Accidents

By retaining a personal injury attorney, such as the Frank Law Firm, you will have a professional to guide you through the choppy waters of Florida’s auto insurance laws.

Are Cars Safer Today?

There is no doubt that technological advances have made cars and trucks safer over time. But the advancement of technology has also brought us smart phones, texting, and social media. These advances have actually made driving more dangerous, not less. It’s not just cell phones, GPS systems and loud music can distract drivers and take their eyes off the road ahead of them. It does not take a huge impact to inflict serious injuries.

Even Minor Impact Rear End Collisions Can Cause Serious Injuries

Low speed rear end collisions can cause persistent and permanent injuries to the neck and back, and can cause devastating closed head (brain) injuries, even where the occupant does not actually strike his head on the vehicle.

In their 2005 study, “Correlating crash severity with injury risk, injury severity, and long-term symptoms in low velocity motor vehicle collisions,” two leading scientists in the field of auto injury threshold analysis, Michael Freeman and Arthur Croft, concluded that motor vehicle collisions with structural damage of under 40 km/h (25 mph), that: “A limited correlation between crash severity and injury claims was found. We could not determine, however, whether this relationship held across all crash severities. Other studies provided conflicting results with regard to acute injury risk, but both found no statistically significant correlation between crash severity and long-term outcome. A substantial number of injuries are reported in crashes of little or no property damage. Property damage is an unreliable predictor of injury risk or outcome in low velocity crashes.”

Do I Need an Attorney?

It would be nice if insurance companies responded to claims by covering the losses of their customers without fighting or haggling. But that is not the reality of auto accidents in America. You cannot even be sure that your own insurance company will treat you fairly if you file an uninsured motorist claim.

The nice person who rear ended you will not be in charge of processing your injury claim. He will have a million, sometimes billion, dollar corporation with professional “adjusters” on his side, looking out for his interests. These professionals are trained to use every angle possible to reduce the compensation paid to accident victims. They will use their experience and training to settle claims for unreasonably low dollar amounts by taking advantage of the inexperience and lack of knowledge of individuals who are injured in automobile crashes. By hiring an experienced attorney, victims of automobile negligence can have their own professional to make sure things are done properly and fairly for them, rather than the insurance company and the at fault driver.

A 2007 CNN article described the situation well. The article is “Auto insurers play hardball in minor-crash claims,” posted: 11:23 p.m. EST, February 9, 2007, by Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston. The basic environment described in the piece remains the same today. The authors discuss the results of an 18 month investigation, including the following conclusions: “If you are injured in a minor car crash, chances are good that you will be in the fight of your life to get the insurance company to pay all the medical costs you incur — even if the accident was no fault of your own. … Since the mid-1990s, most of the major insurance companies — led by the two largest, Allstate and State Farm — have adopted a tough take-it-or-leave-it strategy when dealing with such cases.”

Handling Insurance Matters

Florida’s “No-Fault” auto laws, referred to as Personal Injury protection (PIP), were originally adopted in 1972, but recently underwent a troubling overhaul.

The new law limits the amount of time that individuals have to receive PIP benefits following an accident. After an accident, unless you seek treatment within 14 days, you will forfeit your right for medical treatment under PIP. For the full $10,000.00 in PIP benefits you will have to have an “EMC.” An EMC is an emergency medical condition defined as a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in any of the following: Serious jeopardy to patient health, Serious impairment to bodily functions, or Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part. If you are not diagnosed with an EMC, your maximum PIP medical benefit will be $2,500.

The 14 day provision can be a real problem. There is often a lag in the onset of symptoms following a motor vehicle crash, but you must seek medical care as soon as possible to ensure you will have the PIP benefits you need.

By retaining a personal injury attorney, such as the Frank Law Firm, you will have a professional to guide you through the choppy waters of Florida’s auto insurance laws.

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