Florida Legal Topics

DeBary Legal News - Uninsured Motorist

The Law Office of Paul Bernardini

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Auto accident, car accident, automobile accident, collision, car wreck, car crash -
no matter what you call it, the end result can change your life forever.

We are more distracted than ever before when we drive; by our cell phones, texting, radios (most new cars display artist and song title), GPSs, and all the new technology at our fingertips. We’re so used to multi-tasking, we can’t even stop when we get behind the wheel!

The National Safety Council estimates that 38,300 people were killed and 4.4 million injured on U.S. roads in 2015, which is the largest one-year percentage increase in since 1965. Surprisingly, according to Newsweek* magazine, “One of the strongest correlations tends to be between the economy and traffic fatalities.” That makes perfect sense: more jobs, more cars on the road and more people hurrying to get to those jobs. Also, more jobs, more money for more vacation trips – on the road.Accident and death rates always increase over the summer months.

Please take your driving safety seriously. It’s a lot more risky than ever before. And since about 40% of accidents are caused by uninsured or underinsured motorists, make sure you have uninsured motorist coverage. But if you’ve been injured in a car accident, or if a loved one has been in a fatal motor vehicle accident, please call us at 386-258-3453 as soon as possible. We’ll make sure you receive the maximum compensation you’re entitled to. The consultation is always free.

*Newsweek, “2015 Brought Biggest Percent Increase in U.S. Traffic Deaths in 50 Years” by Stav Ziv, 2/17/16

Uninsured Motorist - Medical Exam

When is a compulsory medical exam not compulsory?

In State Farm v. Curran, 39 FLW S122 (March 13, 2014), the Supreme Court of Florida held that a refusal to go to a compulsory medical examination by an injured insured does not automatically forfeit uninsured motorist benefits unless the insurance company can plead and prove prejudice.

The above information is intended for general purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

Insurance - Uninsured Motorist Coverage

On November 22, 2013. The Second District Court of Appeals detailed that an injured insured may bring a direct action against his or her own uninsured motorist carrier without having first resolved the claim against the negligent party. Woodland v. Travelers Indem. Co., 699 So. 2d 1361, 1363 (Fla. 1997). However, injured insured must demonstrate that he or she is entitled to benefits on the basis that the negligent party is an uninsured or underinsured motorist. Allstate Ins. Co. v. Boyton, 486 So. 2d 552, 557 (Fla. 1986).

In this specific case, Ms. Neff acknowledges that the tortfeasor has $50,000 in liability coverage and that her damages are less than that amount. Because of this, Ms. Neff did not prove her damages exceeded the underinsured driver's policy limits of $50,000. Therefore she must resolve her claim with the negligent party before she can make a claim for her underinsured motorist coverage.

The Court's ruling is consistent with past rulings holding that uninsured motorist coverage is to compensate the injured insured over and above the negligent party's liability coverage. See State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Moher, 734 So. 2d 1088, 1088  (Fla. 2d DCA 1999).

The above information is intended for general purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

Automobile Accident - Uninsured Motorist Coverage

It is important to remember that 40% of the drivers in Florida are either under insured or uninsured. You can judge for yourself who causes the worst accidents, between the people who have no insurance and the people who are properly insured. It is very important to know that uninsured motorist coverage is the one type of insurance that protects you and your family from drivers who do not have insurance or who do not have adequate insurance.

Always be careful about what you sign at the insurance agent’s office. Surprisingly, when people understand what uninsured motorist coverage is, many people waive uninsured motorist coverage. A good example of what bad things can happen when uninsured motorists coverage is waived is the case of Horace Man Insurance v. Chase, determined September 26, 2013 by the First District. In that case, the named insured rejected uninsured motorist coverage equal to the bodily injury liability limits and that rejection was binding on a subsequent policyholder. The plaintiff's recovery was limited due to lack of uninsured motorist coverage.

With regard to unlicensed drivers, the Second District decided on September 18, 2013 that evidence that driver of the vehicle was unlicensed was admissible where the evidence was relevant to show the driver’s inexperience in handling an automobile which bore a causal connection to the accident in the wrongful death claim. Lopez v. Wink Stucco, Inc., 38 FLW 1976.

The above information is intended for general purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.