Articles Posted in Insurance

Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky has seen with his own eyes a small silver lining in the ongoing pandemic, a significant drop in serious car accidents across Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches over the past few months. The recent reduction in car accidents and truck accidents is certainly due to the findings from recent studies by Florida Atlantic University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Louisiana State University, and the University of Hawaii all of whom analyzed information from the State of Florida Department of Transportation. Those studies confirmed a year over year drop of nearly forty-eight percent of motor vehicle traffic on Florida’s roads and highways.

As most of us know, vehicle traffic dropped once the State and most counties, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe ordered business to close or reduce capacity in hopes of slowing the spread of Covid-19.  According to the Director of Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions, the significant decrease in roadway traffic is either attributed to those closures or a general overall fear many Floridians have related to the virus.

Researchers noted a variance between vehicle traffic on roads in and around cities as compared to roads considered to be rural.  The study determined that around one million vehicles traveling each day along rural roadways showed a drop commencing in mid-March. Then comparing the number of that traffic to that along so-called city or urban roadways, the researches noticed approximately 5 million vehicles daily in the beginning of March, surging to a height of 7 million as the month progressed and dropping down to 3 million daily vehicles by the end of the month.

Miami car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky has seen an increase in the number of car accidents across Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach over the past year. Now it appears those rising number of car accidents and the personal injuries they cause are the reason of South Florida drivers paying some of the highest care insurance premiums in the United States. In fact, contrary to the promises made by insurance companies in their ever present advertising, car insurance rates across Florida have actually increased by fourteen percent over the last year and a half.

According to the state’s insurance commissioner, the insurance companies are steadily raising their rates because the number of drivers on the road is steadily increasing. The increase in drivers is certainly due to lower gas prices and less unemployment. Regulators blame the steady rise in personal injury protection, or PIP, claims as a major cause of the premium increases. PIP, generally referred to as no fault insurance, requires all drivers to have $10,000 of PIP to pay for their own medical bills and lost wages in the event they are involved in an accident. Each person is required to use their own insurance, not that of the at fault party, to pay the first $10,000.00 of their medical bills/lost wages. The portion of car insurance attributed to PIP is responsible for approximately 25% of all car insurance premiums.

Florida remains one of the only states with such a no-fault/PIP system. Most other states have mandatory liability insurance which makes the at fault party responsible for the damages they cause. But because such a change would require mandatory liability insurance, most insurance companies are opposed to changing the law. Also, most hospitals, which seemingly overbill accident victims, are also opposed to abolishing PIP, which they look upon as a cash cow given its higher reimbursement rates, when compared to Medicare and health insurance.

One of the most important pieces of advice that Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney Joseph Lipsky gives to everyone he meets is, make sure to add uninsured motorist coverage to your car insurance policy. For a number of reasons, many drivers in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches choose not to have any liability insurance. As Florida does not require drivers to have liability insurance, when those drivers cause an accident and badly injure someone, having uninsured motorist coverage is the only way to insure that there is a source of money to pay medical bills, lost wages and compensate injured victims for their pain and suffering.

A recent study by the Insurance Research Institute confirms Miami car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky’s advice, as the study found that approximately 14% of drivers are not insured. In addition to being unable to pay for the damages they cause to others, those uninsured motorist cause drivers who actually have insurance, to pay significantly higher premiums.

While some states are trying to enforce mandatory insurance requirements, by means such as authorizing police officers to remove license plates from accident involved cars which are uninsured, many drivers still disregard their state’s laws. Other states are now penalizing uninsured drivers by prohibiting them from brining a claim for their own pain and suffering, even if they are injured due to someone else’s fault. As a personal injury attorney with over 20 years of experience, Joseph Lipsky does not believe a state has a right to restrict an innocent accident victim from pursuing compensation if they are hurt by someone else’s negligence, regardless of whether they themselves have insurance.

Florida’s First District Court of Appeals just overturned a challenge to Florida’s new personal injury protection, or PIP, law. Because the new PIP law is now unchallenged, there are numerous restrictions of which Florida car accident victims need to be aware. Fort Lauderdale based car accident lawyer Joseph Lipsky reminds all Florida car accident injured victims of the new law’s limitations which apply to all Florida car insurance policies as of January 1, 2013.

First, you need to be evaluated by a doctor, or at a hospital/urgent care center, within 14 days of your car accident. If you delay seeking initial medical care by more than 14 days, hoping that your pain subsides, your car insurance company will NOT pay any future accident related medical bills.

Secondly, you must complain about all of your injuries, no matter how minor you think they are, at your first evaluation. If you fail to mention some injury at your initial visit, and then bring it up to your doctor later, that “new” complaint will not be covered by your car insurance company.

As personal injury lawyers representing victims of car accidents throughout the State of Florida, we strongly urge our clients and friends to buy uninsured motorist coverage. Our comments are buoyed by a recent study release by the Insurance Research Council which confirms that one out of every seven drivers have no car insurance.

The study, not surprisingly, found that the financial hardship of the current economy is the primary reason why many drivers have not renewed their car insurance. The study confirmed a correlation between unemployment and the number of drivers with no insurance.

Drivers who comply with their state’s law, by having insurance, cover the losses caused by uninsured driver, to the annual tune of almost 11 billion dollars. However, as attorneys representing accident victims for more than 20 years, we have seen too many clients who are unable to recover for their medical bills, lost wages and permanent injuries because they did not have uninsured motorist coverage.

The Florida Legislature, acting upon the wishes of the insurance industry, one of their biggest contributors, passed a bill which will allow those insurance companies to remove sinkhole coverage from their policies. The bill then permits the insurance companies to re-sell the coverage back to home and business owners at a much higher premiums.

This bill, along with many others working their way through the Florida Legislature, place insurance companies’ rights and profits ahead of the interests of homeowners. Even some Republican Senators agree that this bill will allow insurance companies to make a financial killing at the expense of homeowners.

Too often, homeowners fail to notify their state representatives and senators of their displeasure with pending legislation; that is, until after a bill, such as this one, becomes law. We urge all homeowners, especially those who are also registered voters, to immediately contact their representative and senator and let them know that their jobs as legislators are in jeopardy, should they continue to pass laws which place insurance company profits above the rights of the individuals who voted them into office.

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