Articles Posted in Insurance

For nearly the last 50 years, Florida followed the no-fault insurance law framework. Under this system, Florida motor vehicle accident victims often had to pursue compensation through their insurance company rather than the at-fault driver. Proponents of the system purported that no-fault insurance laws provided injury victims with an efficient way to recover compensation. However, critics claim that the system underestimated and limited the damages that injury victims could claim after an accident. Although there have been several reforms, insurance costs have been increasing without providing significant additional coverage to policyholders. In response to these growing concerns, the Florida House voted to repeal its longstanding insurance laws.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill (SB 54) that will do away with the requirement that motorists maintain personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Instead, SB 54 mandates that policyholders carry bodily injury (BI) coverage. Similarly, the Florida Senate is working to pass SB 150, which will repeal mandatory PIP coverage and require Florida motorists to purchase BI coverage at $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident, $10,000 for property damage and $5,000 medical coverage. Supporters of the bill cite a recent study that found that Floridians could save over $80 per vehicle, or nearly $1 billion collectively.

Additionally, the bill reduces coverage limits for low-income individuals and students. However, some question the change because the bill does not require proof of eligibility to qualify for the lower-income plan. Further, the plan may potentially allow drivers to pay deductibles for windshield repairs. The windshield addition came after insurance companies criticized vehicle-glass businesses for offering incentives to get their windshields replaced. At the moment, motorists do not have to pay to get their windshields repaired. The proposal would require insurance companies to offer plans with deductibles up to $200 for windshield repairs.

The state’s high court recently issued an opinion in a case that arose out of a fatal Florida motorcycle accident. In this case, the motorcycle driver’s estate filed a claim with his uninsured motorist (UM) benefits under his home insurance company policy issued on a collector vehicle. The insurance company denied coverage, arguing that the policy contained a provision that limited the UM benefits to accidents involving the collector vehicle. The family appealed the ruling to Florida’s Supreme Court, arguing that the insurance policy did not comply with section 627.727, Florida Statutes, which prohibits insurance companies from placing limitations on UM coverage, such as the one at issue.

The insurance company argued that the Florida statute does not apply to specialty insurance policies. However, the plaintiffs contended that the statute provides that insurers may offer non-stacking coverage if the insurer notifies the policyholder of the limitations and executes an approved form expressly electing non-stacking coverage. Further, although the statute provides certain exceptions to the statutory limit, the law states explicitly that, “no motor vehicle liability insurance policy shall be delivered in this state unless UM vehicle coverage is provided.” Moreover, the statute allows for limited UM coverage if the policyholder did not purchase it.

Here, the court found that nothing in the statute excludes collector or antique vehicles, the limiting language in the collector vehicle policy violates the law, and the plaintiff did not reject the UM coverage, and he instead selected stacking UM coverage. Ultimately, because the insurance policy did not comply with Florida’s statutory requirements regarding UM limitations, the court found in favor of the plaintiff.

Car accidents are the leading cause of death and serious injuries in Florida. Unfortunately, these accidents are commonplace and can happen to anyone at any time. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a car accident, you need to speak to a skilled Miami auto accident attorney who can analyze your case. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we can examine what happened at the time of your accident and figure out all of your options, including which insurance claims you may be able to make.

During the upcoming legislative session, the Florida senate will determine the merits of repealing Florida’s requirement for drivers to carry personal-injury-protection (PIP) insurance. For a long time, PIP has been mandatory for Florida drivers and is a facet of car insurance that covers medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Every driver is required to carry at least $10,000 in coverage. The policy is designed to limit lawsuits from auto accidents. Florida is one of 10 states to require drivers to carry PIP insurance.

When you get into a car accident in Florida, you have to file a claim with your own PIP insurance for your injuries resulting from the accident. However, if the injuries are severe and permanent, you can file a claim against the other driver and, in some cases, a lawsuit. Auto accident lawsuits are rooted in the theory of negligence. Negligence occurs when a person causes an accident and resulting injuries due to carelessness, recklessness, or misconduct behind the wheel. Put simply, when a driver causes an accident because he or she failed to act as a reasonably prudent driver would have acted in the same or similar circumstances, that driver will likely be liable.

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When accidents take place, the risk of being injured is quite high. While some injuries are minor, and individuals can make a full and speedy recovery, in other cases, injuries stemming from auto accidents can result in life-changing disabilities. If you or someone close to you has been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can recover compensation for your harm. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we are here to guide you through the legal process. We understand that this is a stressful and difficult time for you and your family, which is why we will handle your case with the utmost compassion.

Under Florida’s personal injury liability law, you are not liable for another person’s bodily injuries even if you caused the car accident unless those injuries meet a certain threshold. If the injuries do not meet the legal threshold, the injured party cannot recover compensation for any pain and suffering or non-economic damages associated with those injuries. This is because Florida drivers must carry $10,000 in personal injury protection coverage, and the idea is that this policy will pay for medical expenses, lost wages, travel expenses, and other out-of-pocket costs that may arise from auto accidents. This coverage kicks in first, irrespective of who caused the accident.

Under Fla. Stat. Ann. Section 627.737, if a person sustains one of the following types of injuries in a motor vehicle accident, the “threshold” standard will be met:

There are many factors that can cause accidents on the road in Florida and throughout the United States. Collisions with animals and wildlife can have catastrophic, even deadly consequences. If you or someone close to you has been injured in an accident involving an animal on the road, it is important to reach out to a skilled Miami car crash attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we are available to analyze the facts of your case and help you understand your legal rights and options.

Car accidents involving wildlife are more common than you may think. According to the Defenders of Wildlife’s fact sheet that there are approximately 725,000 to 1.5 million wildlife-vehicle collisions each year in the United States. Some of these accidents occur in Florida, which is why it is important for drivers to know their rights in the aftermath of such crashes.

Earlier this year, a crash with an alligator sent a woman’s car into a wipeout on I-75. The driver of the car survived the deadly encounter, although the accident left her with a cut under her eye and some bruising. By the time she saw the alligator in front of her Ford Escape, there was no chance of avoiding it. She hit the gator, and her vehicle went into a counter-clockwise spin before overturning at least half a dozen times.

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If you have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our firm helps clients through every part of the legal process, including preparing clients for statements and Examinations Under Oath (EUO). Our firm has extensive experience in handling insurance cases for Florida clients. An EUO could have serious consequences for your case, which is why you should reach out to a seasoned Miami car accident attorney regarding the matter and even take that attorney with you to the proceeding.

After an automobile accident, if an insured party files a claim for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits under an automobile insurance policy or a policy for medical payment coverage or uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, that party is very likely going to have to attend an EUO. Similarly, if you were a passenger in someone’s car at the time of an accident and are seeking UM coverage, you will likely be required to give the insurance company a statement of EUO.

The EUO is a proceeding in which the insured is asked questions by the insurance company’s representative, typically an attorney, in the presence of a certified court reporter under oath. Put another way, after an automobile accident involving injuries, an EUO gives an opportunity for a representative of a car insurance carrier to get answers from the insured under oath. As a policyholder, you are required to comply as part of the auto insurance company’s accident claims investigation process.

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After an accident, the last thing anyone wants to deal with is a difficult insurance company. Florida’s bad faith law allows an individual to sue their insurer if they believe that the insurer engaged in fraud or “bad faith” activities when defending or settling a claim that resulted in additional damages or legal costs for the insured. These types of cases can be extremely complex, which is why it is imperative to seek the help of a qualified Miami injury attorney who is well-versed in this area of the law.

In Hayas v. GEICO General Insurance Co., a man named Hayas was involved in an automobile accident that caused the death of another person. When the accident took place, Hayas had liability insurance through GEICO General Insurance Co. and had a policy for up to $100,000 per person and $300,000 per incident.

After the wreck, the deceased individual’s estate filed a negligence lawsuit against Hayas, the at-fault driver, as well as his insurance company. While there was a chance for settlement, the insurance company supposedly refused to settle the matter. After a jury trial, the deceased individual’s estate secured a judgment in state court for the amount of $1.6 million against Hayas. Continue Reading ›

Unfortunately, workplace injuries happen every day in the state of Florida and throughout the United States. If you have been harmed on the job, you should seek the help of an experienced Miami personal injury attorney who can examine the facts of your case and help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Robert Dixon has years of experience handling a variety of personal injury claims, and he can help you as well.

In Fortune v. Gulf Coast Tree Care, Inc., a Florida appellate court ruled that an employer that had actual knowledge that its employee had been injured on the job was liable for the employee’s medical expenses even through the employee never formally asked the employer to pay for such expenses.

The facts of the case are as follows. The plaintiff worked as a landscaper and was going to a gated community to provide an estimate to a potential client. As he made his way to the client, an individual who lived in the community punched him through the window of his car. The plaintiff suffered a dislocated shoulder and had to be treated at a local emergency room at a nearby hospital. The treating physician advised the plaintiff to obtain follow-up care. Continue Reading ›

If you or someone close to you has been injured due to the negligence of another person, you can seek compensation for your injuries through a negligence claim. Issues of liability can be complex, and insurance companies can often be a nightmare to deal with. This is precisely where we come in. Robert Dixon is a highly skilled Miami personal injury lawyer who is well versed in this area of law and can help you get the compensation you deserve.

In Hubner v. Old Republic Insurance Co., the Fifth District held that a Boy Scouts of America Volunteer who was injured in a car crash when returning home from an Eagle Scout Project was deemed to be within the scope of his duties as a “registered volunteer” at the time of the accident for the purposes of insurance.

The facts of the case are as follows. Alan Norton was a registered volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America. He routinely participated in Boy Scout activities. Prior to the accident, Norton was helping a scout complete an Eagle Scout project. The project entailed cleaning up a cemetery that had become messy because of overgrown trees and debris. The cleanup effort took a few weeks in total. Continue Reading ›

Under Florida law, auto insurance companies must act in “good faith” when handling claims from people they insure. The term “good faith” is used in many areas of law to refer to honesty and a sincere intention to deal fairly with others. In the context of an insurance company, good faith would refer to the insurance company assessing the damage fairly and offering an adequate payout. An example of bad faith would be an insurance company defrauding the insured party. If an insurance company fails to act in good faith, the insured party can typically file a lawsuit alleging bad faith.

In Rodriguez v. Integon, Mr. Rodriguez was injured in a car accident when he got into a wreck with another vehicle. The other vehicle was owned by another couple who was insured by Integon. Mr. Rodriguez later received a letter from Integon offering a settlement in the amount of $100,000 to “Anthony Rodriguez,” which was not the correct name. The correct name was Alexander Rodríguez. In exchange for the money, the company asked Rodriguez to sign a release form that would release the couple and Integon from all claims arising from the accident. Mr. Rodriguez declined and later sued the couple and won more than $100,000. Mr. Rodriguez then sued Integon for bad faith.

The District Court dismissed the lawsuit, stating that Mr. Rodriguez had failed to allege with specificity a claim upon which relief could be granted. The court explained that a “bad faith” claim arises when the insurer has breached its duty of good faith, specifically the contractual duty to exercise ordinary care when dealing with claims so the insured is not exposed to excess judgments. In this case, Mr. Rodriguez stated that Integon breached the duty of good faith by offering a settlement to someone else, namely “Anthony Rodriguez,” and failed to settle the case in a timely manner. Continue Reading ›

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