Although it is now the “off-season” in Florida, we are a Mecca for tourists who often rent cars. Unfamiliarity with the vehicle and the local roads sometimes results in these tourists causing accidents. Unfortunately, if this occurs, recovery from the rental car company may be limited or nonexistent. Continue reading

Most standard homeowner’s policies provide coverage for damage to personal property. Personal property includes such things as clothing, furniture, artwork, jewelry, furs, firearms and electronic devices. However, this coverage is limited in scope and amount. Most policies limit the scope of coverage to losses caused by certain events. For example, coverage is usually extended for loss caused by fire, lightning, windstorm, hail, explosion, vandalism and accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic fire protective sprinkler system or from within a household appliance. Most policies also limit the amount of coverage available for certain losses. For example, dollar limits ranging from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars exists for damage or for loss to money, securities, jewelry, artwork, firearms, electronic devices and business property. Higher limits usually exist for damage to clothing, furniture and appliances.

A “personal articles floater” provides additional coverage for personal property, over the standard coverage provided most homeowner’s insurance policies. Continue reading

 

 

Back in November I wrote a blog post called “Insurance coverage for dog bites?” It discussed dog bite claims and the difficulty in getting the homeowner’s insurer for a dog owner to pay the claim. This difficulty arises from the fact that a number of years ago most homeowner’s insurers added exclusions to their policies that bar coverage for “animal liability,” including dog bites.

The focus of this blog post is to provide advice and guidance to dog owners on how to protect themselves from injury claims brought as a result of bad behavior by their dog. This includes not only dog bites, but any type of injury caused by a dog. Continue reading

Mold exists everywhere in Florida. Our state is a veritable paradise for mold, with its high levels of humidity, abundant food sources and temperate climate. Many homeowners become quite concerned when mold is found in their home. Fortunately, mold is usually harmless. However, it can be a problem for certain individuals who are sensitive to mold, especially when there are elevated levels of certain strains of mold.

When mold is found, it can be expensive to get rid of. The process of getting rid of the mold is called “remediation.” It is important to use a certified mold remediation contractor to eliminate the mold, as certain procedures and protocols must be followed in order to prevent the spread of the mold. Treating the mold with bleach, painting over the mold or cutting out walls, if not done properly, can actually make the mold problem worse. Continue reading

You were attacked and bitten by a dog, either while at someone’s home or off the dog owner’s property. Your injuries are serious and the dog owner tells you not to worry because their homeowner’s insurance will cover claim. Can you rest easy? Are all your bills and lost wages going to be taken care of? What about all your pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life? Are you going to be compensated for this?

The answers to these questions depend on a number of different factors. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

No one likes to spend money on insurance. It is something that you pay for, but unlike a new shirt or a delicious meal, you never really see it or even enjoy it, for that matter. There is no instant gratification when you write a check each month for your insurance premium. As a result, I believe many people buy insurance only when they are required to do so. For example, in Florida, you have to have insurance on your car in order to renew your vehicle tags each year. And now, with “Obamacare,” you have to have health insurance or suffer a penalty. Continue reading

Can you sue for pain and suffering in an accident or medical malpractice case in Florida? The short answer is yes. However, there are other factors that go into pain and suffering claims and the potential for monetary awards. These are things you need to take into consideration if you are thinking about bringing a pain and suffering lawsuit.

First of all, you need to understand what pain and suffering means in Florida. It is a type of monetary damage you can receive if you are in physical pain or emotional pain or both after being injured. Pain and suffering damages are separate from compensatory damages for medical bills incurred in your injury. This means that in some personal injury cases, you may be able to get two separate awards…one for your medical bills and lost wages, and one for pain and suffering. Sometimes, if your pain is considerable and ongoing or chronic and you have to take medication for it on a regular basis, your pain and suffering award may be more than your medical bills and lost wages award. The law in Florida recognizes how terrible it is to be in pain.

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Do insurers have a responsibility to pay for long term leaks in the house? The answer is usually no. Most homeowners’ insurance policies have an exclusion for long term leaks. The policies will pay for leaks that are discovered and attended to right away, and insurers do have a responsibility to pay for these leaks (after the deductible is met, of course). However, no insurer will pay for damage that could have been avoided by fixing the leak when it was first noticed.

Insurers will also contest paying for long term leaks that took a long time for a homeowner to notice. That is because there is a reasonable expectation that a homeowner would notice something that would indicate to them that a leak was going on and get it fixed before it became a larger problem.

If the homeowner only lives in the house part-time, or was away for several months for work or other reasons when the leak first occurred, there might be an argument that there was no way to avoid it turning into a long term leak, due to the absence of the homeowner. It will be an uphill battle to get a homeowners insurance policy to pay for leaks even in these circumstances, and the responsibility for them to pay for those leaks is questionable. However, if there is ever a chance to get a long term leak repaired by homeowners insurance, it is in this circumstance alone. Continue reading

 

The State of Florida is a bicycle rider’s paradise. With virtually year around sunshine and warm weather as well as miles and miles of incredibly beautiful coastline, it should come as no surprise that bicycles are a common sight in Florida. Unfortunately, despite efforts by advocacy groups and governmental agencies to making biking safer, riders remain at serious risk of being involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. Moreover, bicyclists who are involved in a collision often suffer catastrophic, even fatal, injuries. If you have been injured in a bicycle crash and another party caused, or contributed to, the collision you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

How Serious Is the Problem in Florida?

In an average year, over 700 bicyclists are killed and another 50,000 injured throughout the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA. In 2012, 122 cyclists were killed in the State of Florida alone, representing 17 percent of all fatalities in the U.S. and making Florida the second most dangerous state for cycling, behind only the State of California with 124 deaths that year. By comparison, the state with the third highest number of fatalities was Texas with 56, half the number of deaths Florida had that year. Continue reading