Category: Automobile Accidents

Accidents Involving Rental Cars

Car Accident Lawyer Delray Beach FL

If you have been the victim of an accident involving a rental car, you need a car accident lawyer Delray Beach FL trusts who can help. Florida is a mecca for tourists who often rent cars. Unfamiliarity with the vehicle and the local roads sometimes results in these tourists causing accidents. If this occurs, recovery from the rental car company may be limited or nonexistent.

Generally speaking, when the owner of a motor vehicle allows someone else to use their vehicle, the owner is responsible for the negligence of the driver of the vehicle. This principle is called “vicarious liability.” The idea behind this legal theory is that a motor vehicle can be extremely dangerous if operated by someone who is an irresponsible driver, and by holding the owner responsible hopefully the owner will use good judgment in deciding who to allow to use their vehicle. When I first started practicing law over 30 years ago, this principle applied to rental car companies and rental car companies could be held responsible for the negligence of the driver of one of its vehicles. A free consultation with a car accident lawyer Delray Beach FL relies on can help you learn your rights if you have been injured by a rental car.

This all changed, however, in 2005 when a law known as the “Graves Amendment” was passed by Congress. In a nutshell, this law did away with vicarious liability for rental cars. Lawyers representing injury victims in Florida raised challenges to the new law Florida, claiming that it conflicted with existing Florida law. When the dust finally settled, after about eight years of litigation, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that rental car companies were entitled to the benefit of the Graves Amendment. Thus, anyone injured in Florida by a negligent driver of a rental car and needing a car accident lawyer Delray Beach FL counts on can no longer effectively pursue the claim against the rental car company and is often left with a claim against an uninsured or underinsured driver. Rental car companies will usually provide some minimal level of coverage, usually $10,000, which is often all that can be recovered unless the driver has a personal policy with additional coverage, or the driver has significant assets which makes the case worthwhile to pursue against the driver. The Graves Amendment is another reason why you should have adequate uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage under your own automobile vehicle policy. This coverage allows you to pursue a claim under your own policy for your injuries if the coverage available from the rental car company or the driver of the rental car is insufficient to fully satisfy your claim. The cost to add uninsured/underinsured motorist to a policy is modest and well worth the few extra dollars. An experienced car accident lawyer Delray Beach FL residents acclaim can help you determine whether you have a valid claim.

Eric Luckman is a Florida Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer. Less than 2% of lawyers in the state of Florida are recognized with this prestigious certification.

Board certification recognizes attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice.

Feel free to call our office to discuss your case. The initial consultation is free, and you will speak directly with Eric Luckman, about your claim and your rights.

An experienced car accident lawyer Delray Beach FL respects can help you determine whether you have a valid claim.

“I was in a car accident. Who pays for my medical bills and lost wages?”

Car Accident Lawyer Delray Beach FL

As your car accident lawyer Delray Beach FL residents trust from the law office of Eric H. Luckman, P.A., every car registered in Florida must carry No-Fault insurance. This coverage is also known as PIP, or personal injury protection coverage. No-fault pays 80% of your reasonable medical expenses and it also pays 60% of your lost wages if you are unable to work due to injuries suffered in the accident. The maximum amount payable, for both medical bills and lost wages, is $10,000.

Florida’s No-Fault Law
A few years ago the legislature made substantial changes to Florida’s No-fault law. Most significantly, in order to be eligible for No-fault benefits, you now must receive medical care within 14 days from the accident or you are ineligible for benefits. In addition, if you do not have an “emergency medical condition,” you will not be able to receive more than $2,500 of the $10,000 in benefits. If you have not visited a doctor for an exam and treament of your accident injuries, then a car accident lawyer Delray Beach FL clients depend on recommends doing so as soon as possible.

Florida law defines “emergency medical condition” as a medical condition that requires immediate medical attention and could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to the patient’s health. Another change made by the legislature to the No-fault law was to exclude coverage for acupuncture and massage therapy. These services used to be covered by PIP.

The good thing about No-fault is that (as the name implies) it doesn’t matter who was at fault in causing the auto accident. Your own insurer is responsible for paying your medical bills and lost wages, even if the other driver caused the accident. Certain conditions must be met, but generally speaking, the medical bills and lost wages must be paid within 30 days of the insurer’s receipt of the bills or documents substantiating the wage loss. Most medical providers have patients sign paperwork authorizing and directing the insurer to pay the medical provider directly, as opposed to sending a check to the patient.

Compensation For Lost Wages
In order to receive benefits for lost wages, most insurers require that a “Wage & Salary Verification” form be completed by the injury victim’s employer. The form asks the employer a number of questions related to the victim’s employment and also asks the employer to verify the employee’s salary for the 13 weeks preceding the accident. The form then is submitted to the insurer, who calculates the victim’s average weekly wage for the 13 weeks before the accident and benefits are paid at 60% of the average weekly wage. The insurer will also require documentation from the injury victim’s treating doctor verifying that the victim is unable to work due to injuries suffered in the accident.

Other Types of Damages

When a car driver causes a serious accident because they were being negligent, the injured victim may be able to recover various types of damages. Whether these damages may be recovered depends on the severity of the injuries and what other losses were endured. Since damages are dependent on facts, it is important that victims speak with a car accident lawyer Delray Beach FL clients trust about what their rights are, legal options, and value of their claim. Other types of damages aside from medical bills can include:

  • Income Loss: accident victims who are not able to work, temporarily or permanently, may recover damages for their wage loss. Your lawyer can calculate how much you have lost in earnings by reviewing statements from your employer regarding used PTO or vacation hours, past paychecks or automatic deposits, etc. If you are now permanently disabled, then your lawyer can include approximations for future anticipated income loss or a reduction in your capacity to earn, through using certain formulas.

  • Pain and Suffering: victims who experienced immense pain and suffering due to their injuries may receive compensation for this type of damages. The law permits recovery of pain and suffering and depending on the diagnosis, the restitution can be substantial. While determining a pain and suffering award is less straightforward to calculate an amount for, it is worth talking about with your car accident lawyer Delray Beach FL injured residents rely on.

  • Loss of Quality of Life: your injuries may have left you with permanent physical damage and disabilities that reduce the quality of your life. Perhaps you have not been able to participate in the same hobbies you used to, or you now have more trouble getting around on a daily basis. Additionally, if you are struggling mentally and need support through counseling or have seen a therapist, then please do not forget to share this with your car accident lawyer Delray Beach FL residents trust so it can be factored into your case.

  • Loss of Consortium: victims who are suffering from a condition that prevents them from enjoying their relationship with their spouse, the spouse may be entitled to damages for loss of consortium. But, the spouse may only be able to receive compensation if the victim is also successful in seeking damages. The spouse’s claim is a component of the victim’s personal injury claim.

  • Scarring or Disfigurement: accidents can result in permanent scarring or disfigurement. The victim may be awarded a significant amount in disfigurement damages, especially if their scarring is clearly visable (such as on their face, neck, or hands).

  • Property Loss: the car accident may have caused your vehicle to be damaged and needed repairs, or was considered totalled and now you must purchase a new automobile altogether. Victims can pursue property loss compensation so they can replace the personal items that were lost.

Insurance Coverage
If you have additional coverage under your automobile insurance policy (usually called “Medical Payments,” “Med Pay” or “Extended PIP”), your insurer will pay 100% of your medical bills. This additional coverage will sometimes cover 100% of your lost wages, depending on the policy language. Different insurers offer different limits of coverage, but you can usually buy at least another $5,000 or $10,000 in coverage above the $10,000 in No-fault coverage. If you do not have this optional coverage, the 20% of your medical bills and the 40% of your lost wages that are not covered by your own PIP are recoverable from the driver and/or owner of the vehicle that caused the crash.

Call Eric H. Luckman, P.A. Right Now
If you have been involved in an auto accident and you need help with your claim, please feel free to contact a car accident lawyer Delray Beach FL clients trust with their case from the law office of Eric H. Luckman, P.A. at (561) 867-6010 right now. 

Delray Beach Automobile Accident Attorney

If you were involved in a car accident, of course you want to recover the maximum amount of compensation possible for your losses, injuries and expenses, including medical bills, lost income, automobile and property damage and more. Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance laws limit recovery to 80% of injuries and 60% of lost income, regardless of who was at fault. Continue reading “Delray Beach Automobile Accident Attorney”

Golf Cart Accident Leads to Lawsuit Over Lack of Warnings

Golf carts are a popular transportation device throughout the area. The convenience of being able to quickly load up supplies and visit the beach or a neighbor without getting into a car has lead more and more families to purchase a golf cart. Yet, while these machines do not travel as fast as cars, it is unwise to assume the risk of harm is lessened. Florida golf cart accidents strike all the time, and the results are sometimes serious. Continue reading “Golf Cart Accident Leads to Lawsuit Over Lack of Warnings”

Florida Police Pursuit Ends in Collision

Several were injured in a police pursuit that ended in a serious collision on Monday evening in St. Petersburg. According to an article in The Tampa Bay Times, the Gulfport police officers were chasing a stolen car into St. Petersburg, where the stolen car collided with a bus that then crashed into an apartment building. As our experienced Palm Beach accident attorney knows, the probability of the occurrence of automobile accidents is severely increased during dangerous police pursuits.

car side (chris meller).jpgMiraculously, there were no deaths resulting from this accident. However, at least two people from the stolen vehicle suffered injuries, as well as several bus passengers. According to Gulfport police Chief Robert Vincent, the incident started at 5:50 p.m. when Gulfport police Officer Jesse Kellington saw a 2012 silver Toyota Venza on the road during his routine patrol. Officer Kellington’s alerts were triggered after he checked the license plate of the vehicle and discovered that the vehicle was listed as stolen. The St. Petersburg police department revealed that the car was an Avis rental and had been stolen on Sunday after a woman had left her keys in the ignition. Continue reading “Florida Police Pursuit Ends in Collision”

Verdict Returned in Local Car Accident Injury Case

A terrible motor vehicle accident that occurred in 2009 was finally resolved this week. According to an article in The Palm Beach Post, Leslie Opper, the victim in the accident who suffered severe injuries, was awarded a $9.3 million verdict by an Indian River County civil court jury.

courthouse.jpgOur Palm Beach County personal injury attorney understands that several factors are taken into consideration when a jury determines the amount of compensation that should be given to the injured party in his/her recovery. For example, whether the injuries are permanent and whether the victim is unable to work due to the nature of the injuries sustained are a few of many different critical factors that the jury must consider in making its determination. While verdicts of this size garner headlines, it is important to remember that each case is decided on very specific individual factors. Continue reading “Verdict Returned in Local Car Accident Injury Case”

Automobile Crashes into Supermarket–Reminder of Ever-Present Car Accident Risks

Similar to the plane crash that was reported in our previous post, an unusual accident occurred at a Central Florida supermarket, injuring ten Palm Beach residents. Thelma Wagenhoffer, a 76-year-old woman, crashed into a Publix supermarket. According to an article in The Daytona Beach News-Journal, an investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol reveals that Wagenhoffer’s 2004 Toyota Camry “accelerated rapidly as it crossed the parking lot” and crashed into the Publix. After crashing through the glass doors, the vehicle continued to travel for at least another 40-50 feet. The incident occurred early in the afternoon on Saturday. Our Palm Beach County automobile crash attorney understands that these sorts of bizarre accidents happen more frequently than some might suspect. Innocent bystanders are often hurt in the process Continue reading “Automobile Crashes into Supermarket–Reminder of Ever-Present Car Accident Risks”

Watch For Falling Helicopters in Palm Beach

The Palm Beach Post reports that a helicopter fell from the sky, hit the roof of a West Palm Beach, Florida home before crushing part of a car and crashing into a yard, officials say. When the helicopter was finally hauled out of the unsuspecting homeowner’s yard a sliced palm tree remained in its place.

Nedra Obradovich’s roof had a run-in with a small, rented helicopter that landed in her front yard Saturday afternoon. Thankfully no one was seriously injured as a result of the West Palm Beach accident. Obradovich, the pilot and a passenger of the helicopter were able to walk away from the crash, although the pilot and passenger, whose names have not been released, were taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution. Continue reading “Watch For Falling Helicopters in Palm Beach”

Palm Beach County Battles Back Against Traffic Fatalities

Officials in Palm Beach County are hoping to see a decline in traffic accident deaths this year as they have begun a series of new and improved safety measures designed to make the roads safer for travelers. These measures include placing guardrails along State Road 80, where more than a dozen car accidents have resulted in drownings in nearby waters over the past decade. Local law enforcement officers have also been cracking down on drunk drivers, especially in locations that have historically had high crash rates. Also, high gas prices have contributed to fewer drivers on the road, which in turn has resulted in fewer crashes. Continue reading “Palm Beach County Battles Back Against Traffic Fatalities”