Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Cover Motorcyclists?

Motorcycle Accident Attorney St. Petersburg FL

In short, no. But see below for more information about PIP insurance coverage and what you can do to protect yourself in the event of a motorcycle accident.

What Is PIP Insurance?

First, let’s take a look at what PIP insurance is and what it isn’t. PIP insurance, which stands for Personal Injury Protection, is an extension of car insurance that covers medical expenses and, in some cases, lost wages. It is often referred to as “no-fault” coverage because it pays out claims to the policyholder without regard to whom is at fault in the accident. This is in contrast to standard liability insurance, in which the at-fault driver is responsible for paying the costs of damages and injuries to the other motorists.

Florida is one of the 13 states plus the District of Columbia that requires drivers to carry PIP insurance by law. Florida law requires drivers to carry both:

  • $10,000 of no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) insurance
  • $10,000 of property damage liability (PDL) insurance

In addition to covering your part of any medical expenses and income lost from a car accident, PIP insurance will also cover:

  • Your child and other members of your household
  • Your child (when riding on a school bus)
  • You (when you are a pedestrian or bicyclist involved in a car accident)
  • Passengers in your car who do not have their own PIP insurance and do not own a car

Those in your car with PIP car insurance will receive coverage from their own policies if you get in a car accident. Likewise, your PIP car insurance will cover you while you are a passenger in someone else’s car.

Motorcyclists Are Not Covered by Standard Pip Insurance

You may have noticed that PIP coverage applies when you are driving or riding in a car or when your child rides on a school bus. This excludes motorcyclists. Although many drivers assume that their standard auto insurance policy will cover their injuries in the event of motorcycle accidents, this is not the case.

In many states, car insurance laws and motorcycle insurance laws are the same, but there are significant differences between the two in Florida. Most importantly, Florida PIP insurance laws do not apply to motorcycles. Some insurance companies may offer PIP insurance for motorcycles that is similar to PIP insurance for cars, but that insurance is not regulated by Florida law. Also, after a motorcycle accident, a person does not need to show a permanent injury to recover money for pain and suffering, unlike an injury resulting from a car accident.

Ways to Protect Motorcyclists in Florida

To protect yourself and others from injuries arising from motorcycle accidents in Florida, you have three options:

  1. Buy motorcycle insurance from an insurance carrier.
  2. Get a self-insured certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility after you present evidence of net unencumbered capital.
  3. Secure a financial responsibility certificate. This requires posting a surety bond with a state licensed company and depositing cash or securities with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).

If you choose to obtain motorcycle insurance, it is recommended that you purchase enough coverage to comply with Florida’s minimum requirements for auto insurance policies.

Contact a St. Petersburg Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident or simply have questions regarding your rights and responsibilities as a motorcyclist in Florida, contact the attorneys at Berkowitz & Myer. We can help you with an insurance claim with the liable driver’s policy or with a personal injury lawsuit when needed. Schedule a free consultation by calling (727) 344-0123 today.

 

The Importance of a Proper Brain Injury Diagnosis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 1.7 million individuals sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year in the United States. However, these are only the brain injuries that are diagnosed by medical professionals. There may be thousands more TBI victims who never receive a proper diagnosis because they never visit an emergency department, urgent care, or doctor’s office after their injury. Getting a timely brain injury diagnosis is vitally important to make sure you receive the treatment you need. Without a diagnosis, many complications can develop and the following is some information about why you should always seek medical attention if you suspect you may have any degree of a brain injury.

How Brain Injuries Occur

The first step to knowing when you should seek medical care is to recognize when an accident or incident happened that may result in a TBI. First, anytime you hit your head or are hit in the head by an object, there is the potential that your brain tissue has been damaged. In addition, you don’t actually have to suffer a direct blow to the head to sustain a brain injury. In some situations, the brain can shake inside the skull and become damaged simply because your head snaps sharply on your neck or if you are near an explosion.

Some examples of incidents that may cause a TBI include:

  • Hits in contact sports
  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Assaults

If you were in any type of accident and your head was affected, you should be evaluated for a possible TBI.

Consequences of Delayed Diagnosis or No Diagnosis

All brain injuries – from concussions to severe TBIs – can have a variety of effects on your functioning. Depending on where the injury is located in the brain, it can hinder your cognitive, behavioral, emotional, or physical functioning. Many people who are not diagnosed may not have an explanation for their struggles with information processing, memory, balance, communication, emotional control, and other symptoms. This can be frustrating and can affect your work, school, and personal life.

More seriously, brain injury victims not treated and monitored can experience serious complications that if not identified and addressed, may be permanently disabling or deadly. Such complications can include:

  • Hemorrhaging
  • Excessive intracranial pressure
  • Second impact syndrome
  • Developing cognitive disorders after numerous concussions

Without a diagnosis, a person may not be aware of the risks they are taking when they continue to engage in activities that may result in subsequent brain injuries. They also may not have the proper monitoring to prevent treatable complications of their TBI.

Call Our St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorney for More Information

A proper medical diagnosis for any injury is also critical if you are able to seek compensation from a negligent party who caused your accident. At the law firm of Berkowitz & Myer, we advise clients in and around St. Petersburg regarding their legal rights after a personal injury and what they can do to protect those rights. If you have been injured, call today at 727-344-0123 for a free consultation.

Your Rights After a Slip and Fall Accident

Everyone has fallen down at some point in their lives. Slipping and falling can be embarrassing but it can also result in surprisingly serious injuries. Anytime you are injured and need to seek medical treatment, you can incur medical bills, lost income from missing work for medical appointments or during recovery, as well as other losses. It is always wise to discuss your possible right to compensation after a slip and fall accident with a personal injury attorney.

What Caused Your Accident?

In order to determine your rights after a slip and fall, it is important to identify the cause of your fall. In some cases, the cause may be obvious but in others, it may require investigation including reviewing surveillance tapes or witness accounts.

If you slipped and fell simply due to a moment of clumsiness, losing your balance, or another action that was your own fault, it is unfortunately unlikely that you have a right to seek compensation from another party. However, if your accident was caused by the negligence of another person, you have the right under the law to hold that party accountable for your losses.

Some examples of negligence that may cause a fall include:

  • Failure to inspect a premises for hazards
  • Failure to clean up spills in a timely manner
  • Not properly warning people of possible hazards that may cause a fall
  • Having defects in flooring, staircases, or other walkways
  • Allowing debris or objects to remain in walkways

If any type of negligent act led to your fall and your injuries, the property owner or party who was negligent should be held accountable for your medical bills, lost income, and any other losses you incurred.

Discuss What Happened with a Skilled St. Petersburg Slip and Fall Attorney

Knowing your rights after a slip and fall can be complicated as many factors must be evaluated. In addition, there are different ways to seek compensation including an insurance claim or a personal injury claim in court. At the law office of Berkowitz & Myer, our St. Petersburg slip and fall lawyers can evaluate your rights and help you seek the compensation you deserve. Please call us at 727-344-0123 today for a free consultation.

How does a Prior Injury or Accident Affect the Value of my Personal Injury Claim?

In this day and age, it is common for personal injury victims to have prior injuries and accidents that come into play when evaluating the value of a claim.  If you listen to the claims adjuster they will have you believe that a prior injury is the “end all be all” of a claim.  This is not true.  When dealing with “priors” it is important that your personal injury attorney not only understand your prior injury, but more importantly anticipate how to defeat the simple arguments often made by insurance carriers.

BASELINE

The first step when evaluating prior injuries is to get a proper “baseline” of a person’s health prior to crash or accident that caused the new injuries.  Baseline simply means: how was the person feeling prior injuries before the new injuries taking place?  The most important place to start is with medical records.  Personal injury attorneys that are trying to determine your baseline must get their hands on every possible prior medical record of any past injury and treatment.  If the medical treatment was 5 or ten years ago this may prove to be difficult, but even medical records of general checkups are critical.  If you sustained a neck or back injuries injury 8 years ago, it is common sense that time itself helped in healing the body and alleviated some or all of the injuries.  If the medical records are clear that 2 years after the initial neck or back injury took place you were back to 90% recovery, it is a great way to establish the baseline.  Most disc injuries do not heal on their own.  In fact, a large percentage of people walking around may have sustained disc injuries in the past yet show no symptoms.

This brings us to the next point:  Symptomatology.  Because injuries tend to heal with time, a prior disc herniation means little when properly generating a baseline of health.  If a disc injury was treated, and the patient took care of himself, then disc injury may still be present but present zero pain.  So if you sustained a prior injury 8 years ago and had zero complaints for the last 5 years, it is critical to obtain any medical records that show the “lack” of neck or back complaints.  This is often overlooked by attorneys, but the most powerful piece of evidence one can show a jury is a prior medical record that was created when there was no  reason to not be completely truthful to the treating physician.  I have been in trial where the insurance carriers are jumping up and down telling the jury that my client had a prior neck injury.  They will parade around the MRI films from 8 years ago, showing the offending disc and they say “See jury, this happened 8 years ago”!  This is where medical history is important.  What do we show the jury?  We show the jury 5 years of medical records where our client told the doctor that they had zero pain and zero discomfort prior to the new accident.  “Members of the jury, it’s not about the prior accident, what is important is that every time this person spoke to a doctor the records show that they had no pain.”

AGGRAVATION AND EXACERBATION

Florida jury instructions take in to account that people have been involved in prior accidents.  Let’s consider an accident where two people were riding in the same car.  One is a 22 year old man with no prior accidents, injuries, or complaints of any kind.  The other person is a 55 year old man with a medical history showing that he had several car accidents in his lifetime,  and one in particular he treated for 10 years ago.  It is logical to conclude that the 55 year-old man is more likely than the 22 year-old to sustain a neck or back injury if involved in the same accident.  The older we get, the more susceptible to injures we become.  This is where it is critical to understand what an aggravation is and how to deal with it in court.  The insurance companies will hire their “sweetheart” doctors to come in and say the injuries were from the prior accident.  But jury instructions are clear that if you cause an accident, you don’t get to pick and choose who you hit.   Meaning, if you hit the 55 year-old man and caused an aggravation to that prior injury, you are on the hook for the aggravation you caused.  Someone causing an accident may hit someone with a physical deformity or predisposition to be injured.  Even though your average person may not have sustained an injury in that particular accident, the at-fault person is on the hook for whatever injures they caused or “activate” as a result of their actions.   When hiring a personal injury attorney it is critical that they not only understand these jury instructions, but also how to present them to a jury in a clear and concise way.

When it comes down to value, all of these issues come into play.  If an attorney is not aggressive in meeting challenges of prior injuries head on, they may be undervaluing your case.  They will play into the hands of the insurance companies.  Again, it’s not only important to look at what medical records say, but it is even more critical so evaluate what medical records don’t say.  Every single personal injury claim has the same basic levels of defense by the insurance industry.  They always fall back on saying that the injury, or the problems that show up on the MRI films were not caused by “this” accident.  If you spend time in court trying to combat that theory, or arguing with the professional witnesses they hire and pay millions of dollars to, you might as well not walk into the courtroom.

Call our St. Petersburg Car Accident Attorneys to Discuss Your Rights Today

At the law office of Berkowitz & Myer, our St. Petersburg auto accident lawyers know how a drunk driver can impact your life and we will protect your rights to hold that driver liable for your losses. Call us for a free consultation today at 727-344-0123.

1http://www.visitstpeteclearwater.com/events-calendar/st-patricks-day-festival/6085

2http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.193.html

Liability in Commercial Truck Accidents

Commercial truck accidents can be terrifying events with devastating results. Afterward, victims are often left dealing with severe injuries and extensive financial losses for medical treatment, lost income, and more. It is only natural to want to know whether you can hold anyone accountable for your injuries.

As with any personal injury case, your rights and options depend on what – or who – caused the accident to occur. In some situations, determining liability can be a complex task that requires investigation and the gathering of evidence. The following are some examples of who may be held liable for your truck accident injuries.

  • Truck driver – According to a study published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the majority of truck accidents happen because the driver made an error. Truck drivers can be negligent in many different ways, including by driving while distracted or fatigued, drunk driving, violating traffic laws or FMCSA regulations, and many more. Drivers can be held accountable for their own negligent acts.
  • Trucking company – If a company employs a driver who was negligent, you can often hold the employer liable for the actions of the driver. In addition, management may act negligently on its own by hiring potentially dangerous drivers, failing to supervise drivers, allowing unqualified people to operate commercial trucks, violating FMCSA regulations, and other acts.
  • Third party – In some cases, the negligence that caused your truck accident will not stem from either the truck driver or company but instead another third party. Such parties may include maintenance and repair crews, independent contractors who load cargo, the manufacturer of the truck, or even the government if the crash happened because of dangerous road conditions.

When you discuss your case with our Florida truck accident attorneys, we will help you determine any and all parties who can be held liable for your losses.

Call a St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation Today

Commercial truck accident cases can be complicated, but the personal injury law firm of Berkowitz & Myer has the experience and skill to protect your rights as an accident victim. Call our office at 727-344-0123 to discuss your situation today.

1https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/research-and-analysis/research/large-truck-crash-causation-study

2https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations

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