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A Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation and Defense Base Act Law Firm Fighting for the Injured.

Articles Posted in motor vehicle accidents

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You’re driving home from work and stop for yet another red light when suddenly the car behind you slams right into your vehicle. You just want to get home, so you agree to exchange phone numbers and be on your way. You can deal with this later, right? NO. You must protect yourself after a car accident, starting immediately. The following steps explain what to do – and what not to do – after a car crash.

  1. At the scene of the crash.

Call the police! Yes, you should. Getting a police report helps you begin documenting what happened most accurately. It will also make sure you have all the necessary information about the driver who hit you, their vehicle, and the vehicle’s insurance. Most police agencies now require their officers to wear body cameras, which may capture valuable information about the scene as well.

Check for injuries! If you or your passengers need to go to the hospital, the officer can call for an ambulance if you haven’t already. Document your pain by telling officers and paramedics what you are feeling.

Take pictures! You can take an unlimited number of pictures on your phone, so take multiple pictures of your vehicle, the vehicle that hit you, and anything else on scene that may be helpful. Take pictures from far away to show the entire scene and closeups to show details of any damage. The police can help get your vehicle towed if necessary.

Stay calm! This is not the time to argue about what happened or apologize for anything you feel you could have done differently. Anything you say can later be used against you, so don’t put yourself in that position.

Locate witnesses! If anyone saw the crash happen, be sure to get their information. If a dispute arises, it will help you to have an independent witness explain what they saw.michael-jin-ipHlSSaC3vk-unsplash-300x200

  1. Hiring an attorney.

Don’t delay hiring an attorney! An experienced personal injury attorney will help you through the claims process, present the strongest demand to the insurance company, and fight for you to achieve the highest possible compensation. Even minor crashes are best handled with competent legal representation.

  1. Reporting the crash.

Report the crash to your insurance company either over the phone or online. They will give you a claim number and help start the process. If you have already hired your attorney, they will help you with this too.

The other driver’s insurance company may call you and ask for a statement. Do not agree to this until you have discussed it with your lawyer. Again, anything you say can later be used against you, so remember that less is more. This statement may not be necessary at all, but if it is your attorney will have the opportunity to advise you. Continue reading →

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Florida Law Requires Car Insurance BUT not Bodily Injured Liability insurance 

There is a minimum amount of insurance coverage that drivers in Florida must purchase. Florida law requires a driver to be insured for, at a minimum: 

  • PIP or personal injury protection in the amount of $10,000 per person. 
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Tourists, visitors to Florida, and city pedestrians: Please realize there is a high incidence of pedestrians knockdown accidents and bicyclists being struck by cars in Florida. As a City, Fort Lauderdale is ranked last in terms of safety. These are reasons to look all ways and be super careful when crossing a street even if you have the right of way.  You can be dead right in Florida and often the person who hit you has no insurance to pay for your injuries. Florida has more uninsured drivers than any other state.

FullSizeRender_4-1-300x257Why is this? Well Florida has no upper age limit on drivers and it has a lot of elderly people who drive to get around.  Florida also has many tourists who drive and are unfamiliar with Florida traffic and laws.  Consider that all rental cars are only required to provide $10,000 in Bodily Injury Liability Insurance.  Worse yet Florida does not require drivers to carry ANY Bodily Injury Liability Insurance. That is correct only Property Damage Liability and PIP are required by Statute.  Unless the driver caused prior injuries in which case he is required to have Bodily Injury liability insurance which the driver can’t afford so they drive with no insurance.

People with multiple accidents, drug or alcohol addiction or serious illnesses may not be able to buy affordable auto insurance and thus will drive with no insurance. Only uninsured motorist coverage will protect you and your family member for these injuries. Uninsured motorist coverage is construed broadly and covers your entire family household.

PIP which is also called Florida’s No-Fault law provides $10,000 in payment of medical bills and lost wages for injuries caused by a car accident where the person is a pedestrian or a bicyclist. The Florida Law recently required that the injured person obtain medical treatment within 14 days of the accident for PIP to pay. When the doctor opines there is a emergency medical condition, the full $10,000  in PIP can be paid. Most people don’t realize their PIP or medical payments coverage will pay for their injuries in Florida when they live out of state, out of country or are just visiting.

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Far too many times I hear, “it hurts and I need to stop”.  DO NOT … I REPEAT … DO NOT STOP.  Physical therapy is a necessary evil and YES it hurts but as they say, NO PAIN NO GAIN.

Physical therapy, also known as physical rehabilitation, requires a lot of time, a lot of hard work, and of course a knowledgeable physical therapist. Physical therapists are highly educated and are licensed health care professionals, licensed under Florida Statutes, Ch. 486.  Their job is to examine, evaluate, and treat patients whose conditions limit their ability to move and function in daily life.  A therapist’s overall goal is to maintain, restore, and/or improve mobility and help reduce pain.  In some cases, physical therapists are instrumental in helping a patient avoid surgery or the long-term use of prescription medications and associated side effects. IMG_0284 Continue reading →

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I just returned from London, England where I had my client sign her release.  There was a notary requirement on the original release, but in London, a notary charges £100 pounds, which is equivalent today to $130.00.

To save my client that money, we spoke with the supervisor at the insurance company and received approval for her signature to be witnessed by two people in London, which was done instead of having a notary.  This saved the client $130.00 and we did not charge the client for our travel expenses, as we frequently do business in London.IMG_3377

We receive calls from all over the United States from people injured while providing services to our troops stationed throughout the world.  Their injuries are covered under the Defense Base Act, which is a Federal Statute, providing workers compensation benefits.

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This discussion will center on Federal Liens which you need to be aware of and handle with common sense.  So put the Federal lienholder on notice of a third party claim and settlement as you can pay them back a portion of money they paid for the related medical treatment and Federal compensation benefits when the case settles.


Federal liens include:

The US Dept of Labor under the Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) §8131 provides for a lien if the Federal employee received Federal compensation for lost wages that are an element of the damages in a personal injury case.  The Statute states: Continue reading →

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In Florida, following the Supreme Court decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), you must object to an expert, such as a doctor, when his testimony does not comply with Fla. Stat. 90.702.  Your specific objection under Daubert is 1) the expert’s testimony is based on insufficient facts, 2) is not based on reliable principles, or 3) that the witness has not applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.

IMG_0284The Daubert case establishes that the judge is the gatekeeper pursuant to Fla. Stat. 90.702 to only allow scientific expert testimony at trial.  Toward that end, the attorney must lodge specific objections so that the other side is aware of the defect and will thus have the opportunity to cure it during the expert’s or doctor’s deposition.

However, that is only the first part of the requirement to successfully disqualify the doctor or part of his testimony. The next part is that the attorney must file a Motion to Strike the doctor as a witness or a Motion in Limine to limit the doctor’s testimony to areas that comply with the requirements under Fla. Stat. 90.702.  This means an expert’s testimony is dismissed if it is pure opinion.  Virtually every expert’s opinion is subject to a Daubert analysis.  The proponent of the expert opinion has the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the opinion is admissible. Continue reading →

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Many car accident victims assume that in order to be able to pursue benefits from their insurance company, they actually have to be driving their own car or riding in their car as a passenger.  When it comes to getting your insurance company to pay for your injuries, this is not always true!

outsidecarLet’s say you’re helping your friend move.  As you’re unloading furniture and packages from the back of your friend’s truck, the truck starts rolling backwards and knocks you over, causing an injury. Most people in that situation wouldn’t even think of pursuing benefits from their uninsured motorist coverage, but in this case, the law is on your side!  If you are injured by another car in motion, even if you’re not in the car, you could be entitled to UM benefits where the car that hurt you is underinsured or has no insurance.

You can also pursue uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist benefits if you are in an accident while riding in someone else’s car.  If you are riding somewhere with your friend in your friend’s vehicle and you are involved in a hit-and-run accident where the other car flees the scene, your UM coverage will pay for your injuries. Continue reading →

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This firm maintains that it is critical to know if you have to repay a worker’s compensation lien from uninsured or underinsured motorist proceeds.  Per the case of Volk V. Gallopo, 585 So. 2d 1163.(Fla. 1st DCA 1991), a workers’ compensation lien is only payable from the liability proceeds, not the uninsured motorist proceeds.  See also Florida Statutes, Sections 440.39 (3)(a) and 627.727(1).  The only exception is where the UM paid its money to replace the liability proceeds so it can subrogate against the tortfeasor.  See Metrix South v. Rose, 758 So. 2d 1259 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000).  The applicable statutes presently in effect are included for ready reference.   Continue reading →

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justice2The State of Florida’s personal injury protection laws recently underwent a change effective January 1, 2014, and it is important to understand how these new regulations affect your rights. This coverage is also known as PIP coverage. The new PIP law, effective January 1, 2014, requires victims who are involved in motor vehicle accidents to seek medical treatment within fourteen (14) days in order to receive personal injury protection benefits.  If you do not receive initial medical services and care within fourteen (14) days after your motor vehicle accident, you will not be entitled to any PIP benefits.  What this means is that the $10,000.00 in coverage that you pay for with your insurance company will not be paid for at all if you do not obtain initial medical treatment or care within fourteen (14) days following a motor vehicle accident.


The new law also created two different amounts that can be reimbursed to an individual seeking PIP benefits depending on whether that person has been diagnosed with an emergency medical condition. If a physician, osteopathic physician, dentist, physician’s assistant, or advanced registered nurse practitioner has determined that the injured person has an emergency medical condition, then that person will be allowed to obtain the full $10,000.00 in PIP benefits. An emergency medical condition, or “EMC” for shorthand, is defined as a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to patient health, serious impairment to bodily functions, or serious dysfunction of a body organ or part. An injured person who is not diagnosed with an emergency medical condition (EMC) will be limited to $2,500.00 in PIP benefits even though the injured persons pays for $10,000.00 in benefits through their insurance policy.

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is of vital importance to obtain medical treatment within fourteen (14) days and also contact a personal injury attorney such as Attorneys Jo Ann Hoffman & Vance B. Moore, P.A., within fourteen (14) days of your motor vehicle accident so that we can help protect your entitlement to PIP benefits.

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