Auto Accidents: January 2009 Archives

January 26, 2009

Florida Car Accident Victims Seeing Large Insurers Tighten Pursestrings

People injured in

Florida automobile accidents are seeing smaller offers from some of the bigger insurance carriers these days. Personal injury settlement offers from certain insurance companies here in Florida are way down, whereas several other insurance carriers continue to be fair and reasonable in their settlement offers.

As insurance companies decrease their offers for permanent injuries and pain and suffering sustained by Florida residents, lawsuits for personal injuries as a necessary corollary will increase. The biggest culprits (lowest payers) are amongst the largest insurance carriers in the country, and include Allstate, Progressive, and GEICO. The "Good Hands" people do not usually come in with "Good Hands" when it comes to payouts. Progressive is notoriously bad on "soft tissue" "whiplash"

claims, and GEICO is potentially the worst.

While an insurance carrier who pays reasonably might, for example, in the typical "soft tissue" case offer $15,000.00 as a final settlement, these 'Big Three' may offer anywhere from two to six thousand on a similar claim.

This can force a lawyer's hand and require the lawyer to file a lawsuit in a case that should be settled out of court. Particularly in a case where a person has a herniated disc (also known as a ruptured disc, and sometimes referred to as a bulging disc), and other cases where victims of car crashes lose wages or incur significant medical bills, it becomes more important to make sure that such a person is fully compensated and protected. That decision may force the victim's hand and require the filing of a lawsuit to insure full compensation.

Results in lawsuits vary greatly, and there's no question that when both the victim and the insurance company go to trial, they are rolling the dice, however, juries usually do the right thing if the accident victim has

competent representation. Certainly, board certification in a particular field guarantees somewhat more than adequate representation.

So, the pendulum swings every few years with these insurance companies, from good and reasonable payouts, to inadequate settlement offers. We list here the

worst insurance companies in Florida with #1 being the worst payer:

1. United Automobile

2. GEICO

3. Progressive

4. Allstate

5. Mercury

Our own list of insurance carrier ratings, good, and bad, is also available for review.

So what to do if you're in an accident in Florida and you're negotiating the case on your own? First, consult a board certified civil trial lawyer to see if you're getting a fair offer. Second, if you've got one of these insurers as your insurance carrier, consider switching to one of the better paying insurance carriers.

And last and most important, do your best to

avoid the accident in the first place:
  • Drive cautiously, drive sober, and drive attentively.
  • Don't text and drive.
  • Don't talk on your cellphone and drive.
  • Watch for drivers at intersections--many drivers tend to try to beat oncoming traffic
  • If you see somebody is about to rear-end you, you may be able to prevent it from happening by blasting your horn and perhaps alerting them
  • Be alert at all times when driving a motor vehicle
  • If you feel tired, don't drive; if you must drive, pull over and take a short nap
  • Read everything you can about
safe driving and accident avoidence.

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January 24, 2009

Uninsured Motorist Coverage For Florida Automobile Accidents More Important Than Ever

More automobile accidents are occuring in Florida involving drivers without uninsured motorist coverage, in large part, because of the downturn in the economy.

In Dade County, the number of uninsured motorist automobiles has been estimated to be as high as sixty-three percent, and although in Broward County, the number is not as high, it is higher than most of Florida, and has a higher percentage of uninsured motorists than most states in the U.S.

The Insurance Research Council recently reported that we can expect an increase in uninsured motorists by the year 2010 here in Florida, and that Florida had the fifth highest number of uninsured motorists in the U.S. 23%.

Why Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage Important?

Uninsured motorist coverage in Florida covers you and your household family members if you or they are involved in a vehicle collision with an uninsured motorist. The coverage can include payments for medical bills, lost wages, and intangible damages such as compensation for pain and suffering. In addition, it also covers you if you're involved in a collision and the other person does not have enough insurance coverage. Many people purchase bodily injury insurance coverage, which protects them to that extent if they are negligent in an accident, but little, and sometimes nothing, to protect themselves. This makes no sense.

We suggest that at minimum, everybody should have at least the same amount of uninsured motorist coverage as their bodily injury liability coverage. In addition, that uninsured motorist coverage can be "stacked" so that the amount of coverage can be increased to exceed what would otherwise be allowable by law by "stacking" the coverage on every vehicle. Finally, if you have a large enough amount of coverage, usually $100,000.00, on your home and your vehicles, then you can actually purchase an umbrella uninsured motorist policy usually offered by companies in increments of even up to $1 million or more.

The morale of the story: Make sure you and your loved ones are adequately covered in these times of economic stress. The last thing anyone needs is an uninsured motorist causing a severe accident, turning someone's life upside down, with little or no recourse.

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