Brandon Stein Personal Injury Lawyer Blog: PIP and Your Settlement

Brandon Stein

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was hurt or injured in an accident, contact our Fort Lauderdale car crash attorneys today.

As a personal injury lawyer in South Florida that helps those injured in car accidents, there is always one aspect to the case that my clients have a difficult time grasping. While laws surrounding automobile insurance coverage vary from state to state, in Florida, car accident attorneys must have a wealth of knowledge related to Personal Injury Protection or PIP for short.

Essentially, PIP coverage provides up to $10,000 of benefits to those injured in car accidents.  For those living in Florida, it is extremely difficult to listen to the radio or watch television without hearing an advertisement guaranteeing $10,000 if you are injured in a car accident.  Unfortunately, many Floridians take this type of advertisement at its word and fail to recognize that the entire story is not being told.

What Florida car drivers fail to recognize is that these attorney advertisements rarely inform the prospective clients that the $10,000 PIP benefits typically only applies to medical expenses, lost wages, and other limited reimbursable expenses.  Thus, if you are injured, you are not automatically entitled to $10,000 in your pocket.  In fact, when a North Miami Beach lawyer attempts to settle a car crash case, that $10,000 PIP benefit affects the personal injury claim as well.

When a person is injured in a car crash and retains a South Florida lawyer, the ultimate goal is maximizing the settlement and total recovery for the client.  However, those injured in car accidents rarely understand PIP law and how it affects their personal injury settlement.  In fact, most attorneys do not even understand PIP law due to its constant change.  And when it comes to a bodily injury settlement, insurance companies always take into account the $10,000 PIP “set-off.”

In essence, if a car accident claim is valued by a Florida lawyer to be worth $15,000, then it must be made clear to the client that the total bodily injury settlement will not be $15,000. After the $10,000 “set-off” is applied, the total bodily injury settlement that the client sees at the end of a case is a mere $5,000.  Yet, in reality, the settlement can be viewed as a $15,000 settlement assuming that the client received the necessary medical treatment which incurred bills up to $10,000.

This PIP “set-off” applies at any point in the litigation — whether it be at settlement before a lawsuit is filed by a Fort Myers personal injury lawyer, or upon reaching a verdict in a Miami, Florida courtroom.  The key is education.  A client injured in a car accident must be sufficiently educated in this area, so as to prevent skepticism and venom directed back from the client.  Ultimately, regardless as to the total bodily injury settlement reached in Florida, it is vital to tell your client that $10,000 must be added to the top to reach the true value of the claim.

Injured?  Contact our Pembroke Pines accident lawyers today!

 

Brandon Stein Law: Car Recalls in the Distant Past Can Injure You Today

Brandon Stein

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was injured in an accident involving a defective vehicle, then contact our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys today.

Being a lawyer in South Florida that helps those injured from defective cars, I find that it is not always the newly recalled vehicles that are responsible for hurting my clients.  Earlier this year Honda recalled approximately 750,000 defective vehicles, including the Honda Pilot and Honda Odyssey.  Nevertheless, it is frequently the vehicle owners, rather than the lessees, that have issues with defective functions of their purchased car.

In fact, as a North Miami car accident lawyer, I have come across many clients that are injured in crashes when they are at fault.  Typically, this is a very difficult case given the issue of liability.  However, if the cause of the person’s injury is primarily due to a defective functionality within his or her car, then the case turns against the auto manufacturer, rather than the other driver’s insurance.

Naturally, a key component when purchasing a vehicle is its safety features and reliability.Yet, purchasing a vehicle involves extreme stress, so the furthest thing from most people’s minds are inherent defects resulting from faulty manufacturing.

In general, it typically takes a tragic circumstance to warrant change or even to notice an issue.  The same can perhaps be said when it comes to car recalls — all it takes is one accident to put the manufacturer and public on notice of an inherent defect with the vehicle.  Once the vehicle manufacturer sends out word of a recall, and the media catches wind of this, it is undoubtedly the “hot” story that is being covered during that time — that is…until the next “hot” story comes along.

For a Fort Myers car accident attorney, a question that is invariably posed by a client is: “How do I know if I am driving around in a defective car?”  Unfortunately, unless a formal recall is announced by the manufacturer, there is no way of knowing absent conducting your own personal inspection of the vehicle, which is certainly not a reasonable task.  However, it is definitely smart to periodically check your vehicle website to see whether any recalls have been announced.

For example, Honda has an area of their website dedicated to vehicle recalls. Once logged into that site, all a car owner needs to do is input their VIN for the vehicle to check whether any recalls exist for that particular make and model.  If an owner’s vehicle does come up with any type of defect, then the remedy is to simply contact the dealership and advise them of the issue.

As a Florida lawyer that sues for persons injured from car defects, the most common type of defect causing injury from a car accident involves the seat belts and air bags.  Thus, the failure of an air bag to deploy in a serious car accident can be detrimental for a driver. Similarly, improper functionality of a seat belt can leave a driver seriously injured no matter how serious the car accident is.

Injured in a car accident involving a defective vehicle? Contact our North Miami Beach personal injury lawyers today.