Can I have a personal injury case (a case other than workers’ compensation) when I am injured at work?

A common question that is asked at Drucker Law Offices by people that are injured at work is if they can sue someone other than their employer.  So the question is:  can I have a personal injury case, other than a workers’ compensation case) when I am injured at work?

To start, the liability of an employer to its employee is codified in 440.10 Florida statutes and is below.  In 440.11, it refers to this compensation as “exclusive” and from this is derived what is known as workers’ comensation immunity.  This immunity generally means that you cannot sue your employer in any way other than for workers’ compensation when you are injured at work and the employer provides the workers’ compensation benefits.  There are certain exceptions to this rule which are beyond the scope of this article.  Obviously, every case has to be based on the facts and if you have a case you should consult an attorney regarding your rights.

If you have been in an accident where you believe the other car or the place where you were injured is at fault, please call Drucker Law Offices for a free consultation at 561-483-9199 (Boca Raton Main office) or 954-755-2120 (Coral Springs satellite office) or 305-981-1561 (Miami satellite office).

One clear exception to the immunity would be suing someone OTHER THAN you employer.  So for example, if you boss sends you to a store to buy something for work and you do this while you are “on the clock,” then you would generally qualify for workers’ compensation but you also might have a personal injury case against the store owner if they did something negligent.  Another common example would be someone working and part of their job involes driving from one work site to another while the person is “on the clock.”  To the extent that another driver, who is not working for the same employer, is at fault, generally there would be a case against that other driver.

Every case is different and must be judged on its merits. It is a good start to get a complementary consultation regarding an accident case in case this happens to you. The advice contained in this blog is intended to be of general matter and not as to a specific situation, so please call a licensed Florida attorney, like the lawyer at Drucker Law Offices, to determine if and how Florida law applies to your case.

So in these cases where someone is working but is injured as a result of someone else that does not work for his same employer, there may be a personal injury case against that person or the company where the accident happened.  These are called “third party” workers’ compensation cases and often times people do not realize that in addition to the workers’ compensation case there is another case and for this reason you may want to consult an attorney about your rights when you are in an accident at work and you believe someone else is at fault.  For a free consultation, please call Drucker Law Offices at 561-483-9199 to speak with the Boca Raton accident lawyer (with satellite offices)(Jupiter injury lawyer, North Lake injury attorney, West Palm Beach injury attorney, Loxahatchee accident lawyer, Wellington accident attorney, Boynton Beach injury lawyer, Delray Beach personal injury lawyer, Lake Worth injury lawyer, Palm Springs accident lawyer, Palm Beach injury attorney).

Every case is unique and should be judged based on the specific facts of the case. The advice in this blog is intended to be general and should not to be construed as specific advice for a case or your case. A minor difference in the facts of the case in a fact pattern such as above could change the result. Also, this blog is, as the web site suggests, based on Florida law and the laws of any other states could vary from Florida.

The statutes referenced in the blog are below:

440.39, Florida Statutes discusses the rights and obligations of a worker when the are making a third party claim against someone other than the employee when someone is injured at work.  You must seek to collect, as part of your claim or lawsuit, the medical bills that are paid by the workers’ comensation insurance company and then repay that money to the insurance company.  You also must seek to collect your full lost wages and then reimburse workers’ compensation pursuant to a formula

440.10  Liability for compensation.—

(1)(a)  Every employer coming within the provisions of this chapter shall be liable for, and shall secure, the payment to his or her employees, or any physician, surgeon, or pharmacist providing services under the provisions of s. 440.13, of the compensation payable under ss. 440.13, 440.15, and 440.16. Any contractor or subcontractor who engages in any public or private construction in the state shall secure and maintain compensation for his or her employees under this chapter as provided in s. 440.38.

(b)  In case a contractor sublets any part or parts of his or her contract work to a subcontractor or subcontractors, all of the employees of such contractor and subcontractor or subcontractors engaged on such contract work shall be deemed to be employed in one and the same business or establishment, and the contractor shall be liable for, and shall secure, the payment of compensation to all such employees, except to employees of a subcontractor who has secured such payment.

(c)  A contractor shall require a subcontractor to provide evidence of workers’ compensation insurance. A subcontractor who is a corporation and has an officer who elects to be exempt as permitted under this chapter shall provide a copy of his or her certificate of exemption to the contractor.

(d)1.  If a contractor becomes liable for the payment of compensation to the employees of a subcontractor who has failed to secure such payment in violation of s. 440.38, the contractor or other third-party payor shall be entitled to recover from the subcontractor all benefits paid or payable plus interest unless the contractor and subcontractor have agreed in writing that the contractor will provide coverage.

2.  If a contractor or third-party payor becomes liable for the payment of compensation to the corporate officer of a subcontractor who is engaged in the construction industry and has elected to be exempt from the provisions of this chapter, but whose election is invalid, the contractor or third-party payor may recover from the claimant or corporation all benefits paid or payable plus interest, unless the contractor and the subcontractor have agreed in writing that the contractor will provide coverage.

(e)  A subcontractor providing services in conjunction with a contractor on the same project or contract work is not liable for the payment of compensation to the employees of another subcontractor or the contractor on such contract work and is protected by the exclusiveness-of-liability provisions of s. 440.11 from any action at law or in admiralty on account of injury to an employee of another subcontractor, or of the contractor, provided that:

1.  The subcontractor has secured workers’ compensation insurance for its employees or the contractor has secured such insurance on behalf of the subcontractor and its employees in accordance with paragraph (b); and

2.  The subcontractor’s own gross negligence was not the major contributing cause of the injury.

(f)  If an employer fails to secure compensation as required by this chapter, the department shall assess against the employer a penalty not to exceed $5,000 for each employee of that employer who is classified by the employer as an independent contractor but who is found by the department to not meet the criteria for an independent contractor that are set forth in s. 440.02. The department shall adopt rules to administer the provisions of this paragraph.

(g)  Subject to s. 440.38, any employer who has employees engaged in work in this state shall obtain a Florida policy or endorsement for such employees which utilizes Florida class codes, rates, rules, and manuals that are in compliance with and approved under the provisions of this chapter and the Florida Insurance Code. Failure to comply with this paragraph is a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. The department shall adopt rules for construction industry and nonconstruction-industry employers with regard to the activities that define what constitutes being “engaged in work” in this state, using the following standards:

1.  For employees of nonconstruction-industry employers who have their headquarters outside of Florida and also operate in Florida and who are routinely crossing state lines, but usually return to their homes each night, the employee shall be assigned to the headquarters’ state. However, the construction industry employees performing new construction or alterations in Florida shall be assigned to Florida even if the employees return to their home state each night.

2.  The payroll of executive supervisors who may visit a Florida location but who are not in direct charge of a Florida location shall be assigned to the state in which the headquarters is located.

3.  For construction contractors who maintain a permanent staff of employees and superintendents, if any of these employees or superintendents are assigned to a job that is located in Florida, either for the duration of the job or any portion thereof, their payroll shall be assigned to Florida rather than the headquarters’ state.

4.  Employees who are hired for a specific project in Florida shall be assigned to Florida.

(2)  Compensation shall be payable irrespective of fault as a cause for the injury, except as provided in s. 440.09(3).

440.11  Exclusiveness of liability.—

(1)  The liability of an employer prescribed in s. 440.10 shall be exclusive and in place of all other liability, including vicarious liability, of such employer to any third-party tortfeasor and to the employee, the legal representative thereof, husband or wife, parents, dependents, next of kin, and anyone otherwise entitled to recover damages from such employer at law or in admiralty on account of such injury or death, except as follows:

(a)  If an employer fails to secure payment of compensation as required by this chapter, an injured employee, or the legal representative thereof in case death results from the injury, may elect to claim compensation under this chapter or to maintain an action at law or in admiralty for damages on account of such injury or death. In such action the defendant may not plead as a defense that the injury was caused by negligence of a fellow employee, that the employee assumed the risk of the employment, or that the injury was due to the comparative negligence of the employee.

(b)  When an employer commits an intentional tort that causes the injury or death of the employee. For purposes of this paragraph, an employer’s actions shall be deemed to constitute an intentional tort and not an accident only when the employee proves, by clear and convincing evidence, that:

1.  The employer deliberately intended to injure the employee; or

2.  The employer engaged in conduct that the employer knew, based on prior similar accidents or on explicit warnings specifically identifying a known danger, was virtually certain to result in injury or death to the employee, and the employee was not aware of the risk because the danger was not apparent and the employer deliberately concealed or misrepresented the danger so as to prevent the employee from exercising informed judgment about whether to perform the work.

The same immunities from liability enjoyed by an employer shall extend as well to each employee of the employer when such employee is acting in furtherance of the employer’s business and the injured employee is entitled to receive benefits under this chapter. Such fellow-employee immunities shall not be applicable to an employee who acts, with respect to a fellow employee, with willful and wanton disregard or unprovoked physical aggression or with gross negligence when such acts result in injury or death or such acts proximately cause such injury or death, nor shall such immunities be applicable to employees of the same employer when each is operating in the furtherance of the employer’s business but they are assigned primarily to unrelated works within private or public employment. The same immunity provisions enjoyed by an employer shall also apply to any sole proprietor, partner, corporate officer or director, supervisor, or other person who in the course and scope of his or her duties acts in a managerial or policymaking capacity and the conduct which caused the alleged injury arose within the course and scope of said managerial or policymaking duties and was not a violation of a law, whether or not a violation was charged, for which the maximum penalty which may be imposed does not exceed 60 days’ imprisonment as set forth in s. 775.082. The immunity from liability provided in this subsection extends to county governments with respect to employees of county constitutional officers whose offices are funded by the board of county commissioners.

(2)  The immunity from liability described in subsection (1) shall extend to an employer and to each employee of the employer which utilizes the services of the employees of a help supply services company, as set forth in Standard Industry Code Industry Number 7363, when such employees, whether management or staff, are acting in furtherance of the employer’s business. An employee so engaged by the employer shall be considered a borrowed employee of the employer, and, for the purposes of this section, shall be treated as any other employee of the employer. The employer shall be liable for and shall secure the payment of compensation to all such borrowed employees as required in s. 440.10, except when such payment has been secured by the help supply services company.

(3)  An employer’s workers’ compensation carrier, service agent, or safety consultant shall not be liable as a third-party tortfeasor to employees of the employer or employees of its subcontractors for assisting the employer and its subcontractors, if any, in carrying out the employer’s rights and responsibilities under this chapter by furnishing any safety inspection, safety consultative service, or other safety service incidental to the workers’ compensation or employers’ liability coverage or to the workers’ compensation or employer’s liability servicing contract. Without limitation, a safety consultant may include an owner, as defined in chapter 713, or an owner’s related, affiliated, or subsidiary companies and the employees of each. The exclusion from liability under this subsection shall not apply in any case in which injury or death is proximately caused by the willful and unprovoked physical aggression, or by the negligent operation of a motor vehicle, by employees, officers, or directors of the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier, service agent, or safety consultant.

(4)  Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 624.155, the liability of a carrier to an employee or to anyone entitled to bring suit in the name of the employee shall be as provided in this chapter, which shall be exclusive and in place of all other liability.

Florida Statutes 440.39 – Compensation for injuries when third persons are liable

 § 440.39 – Compensation for injuries when third persons are liable

   (1) If an employee, subject to the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Law, is injured or killed in the course of his or her employment by the negligence or wrongful act of a third-party tortfeasor, such injured employee or, in the case of his or her death, the employee’s dependents may accept compensation benefits under the provisions of this law, and at the same time such injured employee or his or her dependents or personal representatives may pursue his or her remedy by action at law or otherwise against such third-party tortfeasor.

   (2) If the employee or his or her dependents accept compensation or other benefits under this law or begin proceedings therefor, the employer or, in the event the employer is insured against liability hereunder, the insurer shall be subrogated to the rights of the employee or his or her dependents against such third-party tortfeasor, to the extent of the amount of compensation benefits paid or to be paid as provided by subsection (3). If the injured employee or his or her dependents recovers from a third-party tortfeasor by judgment or settlement, either before or after the filing of suit, before the employee has accepted compensation or other benefits under this chapter or before the employee has filed a written claim for compensation benefits, the amount recovered from the tortfeasor shall be set off against any compensation benefits other than for remedial care, treatment and attendance as well as rehabilitative services payable under this chapter. The amount of such offset shall be reduced by the amount of all court costs expended in the prosecution of the third-party suit or claim, including reasonable attorney fees for the plaintiff’s attorney. In no event shall the setoff provided in this section in lieu of payment of compensation benefits diminish the period for filing a claim for benefits as provided in s. 440.19.

   (3)(a) In all claims or actions at law against a third-party tortfeasor, the employee, or his or her dependents or those entitled by law to sue in the event he or she is deceased, shall sue for the employee individually and for the use and benefit of the employer, if a self-insurer, or employer’s insurance carrier, in the event compensation benefits are claimed or paid; and such suit may be brought in the name of the employee, or his or her dependents or those entitled by law to sue in the event he or she is deceased, as plaintiff or, at the option of such plaintiff, may be brought in the name of such plaintiff and for the use and benefit of the employer or insurance carrier, as the case may be. Upon suit being filed, the employer or the insurance carrier, as the case may be, may file in the suit a notice of payment of compensation and medical benefits to the employee or his or her dependents, which notice shall constitute a lien upon any judgment or settlement recovered to the extent that the court may determine to be their pro rata share for compensation and medical benefits paid or to be paid under the provisions of this law, less their pro rata share of all court costs expended by the plaintiff in the prosecution of the suit including reasonable attorney’s fees for the plaintiff’s attorney. In determining the employer’s or carrier’s pro rata share of those costs and attorney’s fees, the employer or carrier shall have deducted from its recovery a percentage amount equal to the percentage of the judgment or settlement which is for costs and attorney’s fees. Subject to this deduction, the employer or carrier shall recover from the judgment or settlement, after costs and attorney’s fees incurred by the employee or dependent in that suit have been deducted, 100 percent of what it has paid and future benefits to be paid, except, if the employee or dependent can demonstrate to the court that he or she did not recover the full value of damages sustained, the employer or carrier shall recover from the judgment or settlement, after costs and attorney’s fees incurred by the employee or dependent in that suit have been deducted, a percentage of what it has paid and future benefits to be paid equal to the percentage that the employee’s net recovery is of the full value of the employee’s damages; provided, the failure by the employer or carrier to comply with the duty to cooperate imposed by subsection (7) may be taken into account by the trial court in determining the amount of the employer’s or carrier’s recovery, and such recovery may be reduced, as the court deems equitable and appropriate under the circumstances, including as a mitigating factor whether a claim or potential claim against a third party is likely to impose liability upon the party whose cooperation is sought, if it finds such a failure has occurred. The burden of proof will be upon the employee. The determination of the amount of the employer’s or carrier’s recovery shall be made by the judge of the trial court upon application therefor and notice to the adverse party. Notice of suit being filed shall be served upon the employer and compensation carrier and upon all parties to the suit or their attorneys of record by the employee. Notice of payment of compensation benefits shall be served upon the employee and upon all parties to the suit or their attorneys of record by the employer and compensation carrier. However, if a migrant worker prevails under a private cause of action under the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (AWPA) 96 Stat. 2583, as amended, 29 U.S.C. ss. 1801 et seq. (1962 ed. and Supp. V), any recovery by the migrant worker under this act shall be offset 100 percent against any recovery under AWPA.

   (b)() If the employer or insurance carrier has given written notice of his or her rights of subrogation to the third-party tortfeasor, and, thereafter, settlement of any such claim or action at law is made, either before or after suit is filed, and the parties fail to agree on the proportion to be paid to each, the circuit court of the county in which the cause of action arose shall determine the amount to be paid to each by such third-party tortfeasor in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (a).

   (4)(a) If the injured employee or his or her dependents, as the case may be, fail to bring suit against such third-party tortfeasor within 1 year after the cause of action thereof has accrued, the employer, if a self-insurer, and if not, the insurance carrier, may, after giving 30 days’ notice to the injured employee or his or her dependents and the injured employee’s attorney, if represented by counsel, institute suit against such third-party tortfeasor, either in his or her own name or as provided by subsection (3), and, in the event suit is so instituted, shall be subrogated to and entitled to retain from any judgment recovered against, or settlement made with, such third party, the following: All amounts paid as compensation and medical benefits under the provisions of this law and the present value of all future compensation benefits payable, to be reduced to its present value, and to be retained as a trust fund from which future payments of compensation are to be made, together with all court costs, including attorney’s fees expended in the prosecution of such suit, to be prorated as provided by subsection (3). The remainder of the moneys derived from such judgment or settlement shall be paid to the employee or his or her dependents, as the case may be.

   (b)() If the carrier or employer does not bring suit within 2 years following the accrual of the cause of action against a third-party tortfeasor, the right of action shall revert to the employee or, in the case of the employee’s death, those entitled by law to sue, and in such event the provisions of subsection (3) shall apply.

   (5) In all cases under subsection (4) involving third-party tortfeasors in which compensation benefits under this law are paid or are to be paid, settlement may not be made either before or after suit is instituted except upon agreement of the injured employee or his or her dependents and the employer or his or her insurance carrier, as the case may be.

   (6) Any amounts recovered under this section by the employer or his or her insurance carrier shall be credited against the loss experience of such employer.

   (7) The employee, employer, and carrier have a duty to cooperate with each other in investigating and prosecuting claims and potential claims against third-party tortfeasors by producing nonprivileged documents and allowing inspection of premises, but only to the extent necessary for such purpose. Such documents and the results of such inspections are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1), and shall not be used or disclosed for any other purpose.

s. 39, ch. 17481, 1935; CGL 1936 Supp. 5966(38); s. 14,

Am i entitled to the time I missed from work when i am in an accident?

A common question that the lawyer receives is “am I entitled to the time if missed from work when i am in an accident?”  The injury lawyer in Boca Raton (accident lawyer in Delray Beach, accident attorney in Deerfield Beach, injury lawyer in Boynton Beach, injury attorney in Pompano, accident lawyer in Lake Worth, accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale, personal injury attorney in West Palm Beach, accident lawyer in Hallendale, injury attorney in Palm Beach, injury lawyer in North Lake, accident attorney in Hollywood) will give a straightforward answer to this question.

Generally, if someone else causes an injury to another person and is negligent, they would owe damages.  One of the items of damages that one can claim is for lost wages or loss of income or loss of earnings.

Simply, if you cannot work due to an injury that was someone else’s fault, then that person should owe you them money for the time you missed from work.  So, by example, Mary hits John from behind in her car.  John goes to the hospital and the emergency room physician advises John not to work for a week due to his lower back pain.  John reports to his physician thereafter who keeps him out of work for another week.  John goes back to work.  If john earns $500.00 per week, then John would have a claim for $1,000.00 of wage loss against Mary.

Similarly, Mark is walking in a store.  The store has a leak from the ceiling that it knows about but has not had the time to fix. They put no warnings of the leak or the build up of water.  Mark falls and breaks his arm.  He is unable to work for 10 weeks, as his job requires use of his arm.  Mark eans $800.00 per week.  John’s claim against the store is for $8,000.00. 

Many other factors play into when an injured person can get their money.  In a worker’s compensation case, in other words when someone is injured at work, you can receive 66 and 2/3 percent of your wages from the worker’s compensation insurance.  In a car accident case, as referenced above, an injured person can collect 60 percent of their wages from their own PIP carrier (without regard to fault; so even someone at fault can collect wages from their own injured; the person not at fault would also have a claim for the 40 percent unpaid wages from the other person or their insurer).  Sometimes people can collect from their sick leave if they have that at work or they can collect wages from any short term of long term disability insurance provided by their employers or purchased by the injured person prior to the loss.

Every case is different and must be judged on its merits and on the facts of the specific situation. It is a good start to get a complementary consultation regarding an accident case in case this happens to you. The advice contained in this blog is intended to be of general matter and not as to a specific situation or your specific case, so please call a licensed Florida attorney, like the lawyer at Drucker Law Offices, to determine if and how Florida law applies to your case.

If you have any questions regarding an injury case, please call Drucker Law Offices at 561-483-9199 in the principal office, 954-755-2120 in the satellite Coral Springs office, 305-981-1561 at the satellite Miami office, 561-265-1976 at the Boynton Beach office or 561-686-7070 at the West Palm Beach office.

The statutes pertaining to lost wages in a car accident are posted below:

627.736(1)(b)  Disability benefits.—Sixty percent of any loss of gross income
and loss of earning capacity per individual from inability to work proximately
caused by the injury sustained by the injured person, plus all expenses
reasonably incurred in obtaining from others ordinary and necessary services in
lieu of those that, but for the injury, the injured person would have performed
without income for the benefit of his or her household. All disability benefits
payable under this provision shall be paid not less than every 2 weeks.

(10)(b)3.  To the extent applicable, the name of any medical provider who
rendered to an insured the treatment, services, accommodations, or supplies that
form the basis of such claim; and an itemized statement specifying each exact
amount, the date of treatment, service, or accommodation, and the type of
benefit claimed to be due. A completed form satisfying the requirements of
paragraph (5)(d) or the lost-wage statement previously submitted may be used as
the itemized statement. To the extent that the demand involves an insurer's
withdrawal of payment under paragraph (7)(a) for future treatment not yet
rendered, the claimant shall attach a copy of the insurer's notice withdrawing
such payment and an itemized statement of the type, frequency, and duration of
future treatment claimed to be reasonable and medically necessary.

Is a property owner or occupier of a property automatically responsible when someone falls or is injured on the property

Probably one of the most common misconceptions that clients or people calling the injury office has is that they believe they are owed money solely because they fell or were injured on someone’s property.  The law is clear that there must be a showing of negligence before the landowner or occupier of a property is responsible.  Please accept this blog entry as a brief overview of this area of law from the accident lawyer in Boca Raton (with satellite offices in Miami, Coral Springs, Boynton Beach, and West Palm Beach).  The injury lawyer is also a personal injury lawyer in Miami, accident attorney in Kendall, accident lawyer in Cutler Ridge, injury lawyer in HOmestead, accident lawyer in Hialeah, accident attorney in Opa Locka, injury lawyer in North Miami, injury attorney in Aventura, personal injury lawyer in Coral Gables, accident attorney in Westchester, accident lawyer in Doral.

Generally, premises liability law states that an owner or occupier of property is liable to the extent that it creates a hazard, or if it knew about or should have known about a hazard and failed to warn the invitees of the hazard.  Obviously, if a business creates a hazardous condition (leaves oil on floor to make it slippery) and someone falls as a result of it, then liability may attach.  Similarly, if a business knows about a hazardous condition but fails to warn about it, then again liaiblity may attach.  Lastly, if there is a hazardous condition, that has been there for a sufficient period of time that the business should have know about it, liability may attach.

In many of these cases, the substance that has caused the injured person to fall is a “transitory substance” that was not put there by the business.  For example, a baby spills formula on the floor, or another patron spills some coffee or soda on the floor would be examples of transitory substances.  These cases have become so common that the legislature has passed a specific statute dealing with these cases.  Section 768.0755 states:

   (1) If a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it. Constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence showing that:

   (a)() The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or

   (b)() The condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.

   (2) This section does not affect any common-law duty of care owed by a person or entity in possession or control of a business premises.

Every case is different and must be judged on its merits. It is a good start to get a complementary consultation regarding an accident case in case this happens to you. The advice contained in this blog is intended to be of general matter and not as to a specific situation, so please call a licensed Florida attorney, like the lawyer at Drucker Law Offices, to determine if and how Florida law applies to your case.

At Drucker Law Offices, clients are helped with all types of injury cases including slip and fall cases.  If you have any questions or have been injured in an accident and believe someone else is at fault, please call for a free consultation.  The phone number is 561-483-9199 in Palm Beach or 954-755-2120 in Broward or 305-981-1561 in Miami-Dade County.  A free consultation is offered to clients and fees are only charged if money is recovered for you.

Considerations in hiring a physician (chiropractor, medical doctor, orthopedist, neurologist, neurosurgeon)

There are many considerations in hiring a physician after you have been in an accident. The Boca Raton personal injury lawyer (also Coral Springs accident attorney, Tamarac injury lawyer, Pembroke Pines accident lawyer, Miramar injury attorney, Plantation personal injury lawyer, Weston accidetn attorney, Coral springs injury attorney, Parkland accident lawyer, Fort Lauderdale, accident attorney, Lauderhille injury lawyer, North lauderdale accident lawyer, Oakland Park injury attorney, Wilton Manors accident attorney, Pompano personal injury attorney) regularly gets questions about how to hire a doctor and which one and in this blog entry I am going to discuss some of those considerations.

The first primary consideration would deal with getting the physician paid.  Thus, does the doctor accept your health insurance or is he or she a contracted provider on your health insurance plan.  Not all doctors are on every insurance plan.  So clearly this is one consideration. 

If not, will the doctor accept a letter of protection.  A letter of protection is an agreement where the doctor agrees to forgo collection of the bill for an agreement where the doctor will get paid from the proceeds of the injury settlement, if any.  Many doctors accept these agreement but many do not.

Another important consideration is the proximity to your work or house.  In many injuries, a patient is required to go on therapy or to see the doctor on a regular basis and sometimes this may be three or more times per week for a prolonged period of time.  Thus, getting a doctor 30 miles away where you have to go 3 times per week is going to make the treatment very difficult to go to.  I generally recommend going to a doctor whose office is fairly close to your work or house.

A recommendation from a friend tends to generally be a good basis for going to a doctor.   If you have had a friend that has had a positive experience with both their injury and the result of an injury case at a certain doctor’s office, that certainly would be a persuasive basis to go to a physician.

A recommendation from your lawyer also would be a good basis for going to a doctor.  The injury lawyer tends to have more information about different doctor offices as the lawyer likely has dealt with the doctor in the past and would have a lot of information in making the recommendation. 

Clearly the type of injury will play some part in which doctor you go to.  If you are complaining pain from a broken arm, then you clearly would want to see an orthopedic surgeon, a physician that specializes in bones, muscles and joints.  Similarly, if you are complaining of neck or back pain, you would want to see a chiropractor, an orthopedist, an neurologist, or a neurosurgeon.  Someone with a unique foot injury likely would want to see a podiatrist or an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in feet.  This is an important consideration in choosing a doctors office.

Every case is different and must be judged on its merits. It is a good start to get a complementary consultation regarding an accident case in case this happens to you. The advice contained in this blog is intended to be of general matter and not as to a specific situation, so please call a licensed Florida attorney, like the lawyer at Drucker Law Offices, to determine if and how Florida law applies to your case.

While all of these considerations needs to be taken into account when you choosing a physican, if you have any questions regarding this topic or any other topic, please call the accident lawyer in Boca Raton (injury attorney in Delray, accident attorney in Wellington, personal injury lawyer in Boynton Beach, injury attorney in Lake Park, accident lawyer in West Palm Beach, accident attorney in Riviera Beach, injury lawyer in Royal Palm Beach, injury attorney in Loxahatchee, personal injury attorney in North Palm Beach, accident lawyer in Forrest Hill) for a free consultation regarding your accident case.  The phone number is 561-483-9199.

Different types of automobile insurance coverage under Florida law per the injury and accident lawyer

People are constantly asking the injury lawyer from Boca (also accident lawyer from Delray, personal injury lawyer from Boynton Beach, injury attorney from Wellington, accident lawyer from Miami, injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale) about the different types of car insurance that are offered and which are required by law.

Generally, in Florida, owners of vehicles are required to have PIP coverage and property damage insurance.   PIP coverage pays for 80 percent of your medical bills in an accident and 60 percent of lost wages, regardless of fault.  This coverage generally caps at $10,000.00. 

Property damage insurance pays to fix the other person’s car if you cause an accident.  The law requires you to carry $10,000.00 of this coverage although you obviously can purchase additional coverage.

Bodily injury is not required, although if you drive without it and cause an accident you are required to do certain things like posting money or else your license will be suspended as well as other administrative penalties.   The smallest bodily injury police is for $10,000.00 per person and $20,000.00 per accident and this coverage pays the other person for medical bills that are unpaid, lost wages over and above what PIP pays, as well as pain and suffering if certain proof is made.  This is generally indemnity insurance which means the insurance company indemnifies its insured, up to the coverage limits, against a judgment for bodily injury entered by someone who was injured as the result of the negligence of the insured or someone driving the insured vehicle.  Indeed, the reason that indemnity insurance companies “settle” or resolve cases is that when a case resolves, the insurance company requires a release to be signed by the injured person and the release states that the injured person cannot sue the insured.  Thus, this process is the proverbial “nipping in the bud” by preventing the injured person from suing in exchange for the monetary settlement.

Collision coverage is also not required although if you lease or purchase a car by loan, those companies likely will require you to have this coverage.   Collision coverage fixes your car when you are in an accident, regardless of fault.  It usually has a deductible so if it costs $5,000.00 to fix your car and you have a $500 deductible, then your insurance company pays $4500.00 towards your repair.

Comprehensive coverage basically fixes your car when it is damages by anything other than a car accident.  Thus, it would fix your car if damage by hurricane, theft, vandalism, and so forth.  This coverage, like collision, is not required by law but commonly required by contract (lease, loan, etc.).  This also usually has a deductible.

Uninsured motorist is also not required.  Uninsured motorist coverage, which is also underinsured motorist coverage, pays you money when you are injured in an accident that is not your fault and the other person does not have any insurance, does not have bodily injury coverage, does not have enough bodily injury coverage, or in a hit and run situation.  This pays, like bodily injury coverage to for the other person but when they do not have that coverage.  Interestingly, if someone purchases bodily injury coverage the law requires the insurance company to offer you the uninsured motorist coverage and if you choose to reject it, you are to sign a rejection form stating that you are not electing this coverage and that you understand you are giving up important coverage.  If the insurance company does not explain to you what you are giving up and you do not sign that form, then in the event of an accident, the insurance company may have to provide you with that coverage, even though you did not purchase it.

There is a lot of information here.  Obviously, before you purchase insurance you should speak with your agent and/or lawyer to make sure you understand in full the insurance that you are purchasing and the insurance that you are not purchasing.  You should get as much insurance and as large of policy limits as you can affort but we are in tough economic times and many people are limiting the coverage that they purchase.  So long as you have an understanding of what you are getting, you can make an educated decision for you and your family.

It is important to remember that these insurance coverages are covered by contract and there could be exclusions in the policy and further there could be differences in coverage between insurance companies depending on the wording of the contract/policy.

Every case is different and must be judged on its merits. It is a good start to get a free consultation regarding an accident case in case this happens to you. The advice contained in this blog is intended to be of general matter and not as to a specific situation, so please call a licensed Florida attorney, like the lawyer at Drucker Law Offices, to determine if and how Florida law applies to your injury case.

At Drucker Law Offices, clients are helped when they are in an automobile accidents.  One of the first things the lawyer does is obtain the insurance policies, so that clients can get their cars fixed/totaled out and so that the lawyer can advise the clients of the applicable insurances.  The lawyer also answers questions from clients about their insurance coverage so they can make educated decisions about what insurance to get.  If you have been in an accident, feel free to call the accident lawyer in Boca Raton (Miramar injury lawyer, Pembroke Pines personal injury lawyer, Weston accident attorney, Plantation accident lawyer, Coral Springs personal injury lawyer, Tamara injury attorney) for a free consultation.  The phone number is 561-483-9199 in Boca Raton (principal office), 954-755-2120 in Coral Springs (satellite office) and 305-981-1561 in Miami (satellite office).

What are a driver’s rights in an accident – both the at fault driver and the driver who is not at fault

Common questions are about what rights someone has when they are in an accident.  Sometimes drivers are at fault and sometimes drivers are not at fault.  Please accept this blog post as a brief summary of this issue, but of course every case has to be based on the specific facts of that case.

At Drucker law offices, the personal injury lawyer in Boca Raton (also, Miami accident lawyer, North Miami injury attorney, Pembroke Pines accident attorney, Miramar injury lawyer, Plantation lawyer, Tamarac injury lawyer, Coral Springs attorney, Fort Lauderdale injury attorney), helps clients who were involved in an accident.  If you have question, please call the Boca office – 561-483-9199 (principal office); Coral Springs office (954-755-2120) or the Miami office 305-981-1561.

Here is an example.  Mary and Joseph are in an accident.  Mary is stopped at a red light. Joseph crashes into her car from behind.  Joseph acknowledges fault.  Joseph receives a ticket.  They both go to the hospital.   They both miss a week of work.  They both go to doctors and are found to have sustained permanent injuries (required by law to be entitled to pain and suffering per earlier blogs). What are their rights and what are the differences between them?

As to the car, Mary can make a claim against Joseph’s property damage coverage.  Since Joseph is at fault, his insurance company should fix Mary’s car.  There would be no deductible and Mary would not owe anything out of pocket through Joseph’s insurance.  Joseph on the other hand cannot get his car fixed through Mary’s insurance.  If Joseph has collision coverage, then he could get his car fixed through his own insurance but there likely would be a deductible, somewhere between $250 and $1,000. If Joseph does not have collision coverage, then he would have to fix his car and pay for it in full.

In Florida, PIP pays for 80 percent of medical bills and 60 percent of lost wages to a total of $10,000.00, without regard for fault.  Therefore, Mary and Joseph’s rights in terms of the PIP coverage are the same in that 80 percent of their medical bills and 60 percent of the time they missed from work will be the same.  However, Mary will have a claim against Joseph for the 20 percent out of pocket expenses and the 40 percent wages.  Joseph will not be able to make that claim against Mary or her insurance company.  If Joseph has health insurance, he can seek to have unpaid medical bills paid through his health insurance.  If Joseph has some for short term disability insurance like sick leave, then he can get additional monies from that source.

The last issue that would remain would be the issue of pain and suffering.   In Mary’s case, she would have a claim for pain and suffering to extent that she has permanent injury (or death; or permanent  disfigurement; or significiant scarring).  Joseph would not have a claim for pain and suffering.

Every case is different and must be judged on its merits and on the specific facts of the particular matter. It is a good start to get a consultation regarding an accident or injury case in case this happens to you. The advice contained in this blog is intended to be of general matter and not as to a specific situation, so please call a licensed Florida attorney, like the lawyer at the law offices of Gary J. Drucker, to determine if and how Florida law applies to your case.

As you can see, while the person who was at fault does have some rights, there are much more rights for someone who was not at fault.  The lawyer helps those people who are not at fault in an accident. A free consultation is offered, and the number is 561-483-9199 (principal office Boca Raton) or 954-755-2120 (Coral Springs satellite office or 305-981-1561 (Miami).

Accidents where a car is speeding

As written about in prior posts, Florida is an at fault state when it comes to fixing the cars that are damaged in an accident, and payment of monies for injuries (other than for certain medical bills and wages that are covered by the no-fault personal injury protection insurance).

And while there are general fault rules that go along with the rules of the road, there are also comparative laws.  Comparative fault basically means that while it is possible that only one car is at fault, it is also possible that two cars can be at fault, even in a two car accident.

There are many accidents in Florida where, after a jury hears the facts and reviews the evidence, they find both cars partly at fault in an accident.  The way this would work is that they jury would have to apportion fault, i.e. 20 percent to one car and 80 percent to the other, or 50 percent to one car and 50 percent to the other; they key of course is that the total fault has to total 100 percent. 

It is also important to understand that in Florida if you are suing the other person and if the jury finds you to be 50 percent at fault and the other car is 50 percent at fault, then you recover 50 percent of your damages from the at fault car.

What happens when an accident is caused in full or in part due to the speed of another car?  This would play into comparative fault.  If for example, a car is stopped at a stop sign and then proceeds forward and the other car is speeding but has the right of way, then the jury would have to decide whether the speed of the other car is fully or partly or not the cause of the accident.

This scenario is something that is seen a lot, where one person is wrong due to the rules of the road (failing to yield like above, etc.) and yet the car claims that the other car caused the accident due to excessive speeding.

Proving that the other car was speeding is usually a difficult thing to prove.  If there is some independent witness that will say the other car was going well in excess of the speed limit and otherwise traveing in a negligent way, that would really help the case.  If it is just the person who failed to yeild saying that the other car was going too fast, that clearly would be self-serving and more difficult to convince a jury of.

Other things could help to prove the speed, like the damages to the car.  If the accident took place in a low speed zone and yet the damages to the car are severe, then that could be evidence to show the car was traveling at excessive speed.

Every case is different and must be judged on its merits. It is a good start to get a complementary consultation regarding an accident case in case this happens to you. The advice contained in this blog is intended to be of general matter and not as to a specific situation, so pelase call a licensed Florida attorney, like the lawyer at Drucker Law Offices, to determine if and how Florida law applies to your case.

If you have been in an accident, please feel free to call Drucker Law Offices for a free consultation. The number is 561-483-9199.  The Boca Raton accident lawyer (also Boynton Beach injury lawyer, Delray Beach accident attorey, Wellington, injury attorney, Deerfield Beach accident lawyer, POmpano Beach, injury lawyer, Lake Wroth injury attorney, Loxahatchee accident attorney) only charges lawyer fees and costs if money is recovered for you.

Who pays for wages in a motor vehicle accident

In Florida, owners of cars are required to carry some amount of car insurance – Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property damage coverage.   PIP pays 80 percent of medical bills and 60 percent of wages to a total of $10,000.00.  Some people have a PIP deductible of up to $1,000.00.

Wages claims are generally presented as follows.  The injured person needs to get a disability note from their treating doctor stating they could not work for the pertinent period as a result of the accident.  The injured person needs to have their employer fill out a wage verifiation form showing the time they missed from work and showing the earning history for the last 13 weeks.  Once these documents are forwarded to the PIP insurance company, the insurance company has 30 days to pay the wages.

The timing of the presentation of the wage claim can be important.  If the wage claim is presented at the very beginning and if the person has a deductible, then the wages may not get paid as they might be applied to the deductible.  Similarly, if the wage claim is presented too late, then the PIP benefits may exhaust if the medical bills are large enough to exhaust the $10,000.00 of PIP benefits.

Every case is different and must be judged on its merits. It is a good start to get a complementary consultation regarding an accident case in case this happens to you. The advice contained in this blog is intended to be of general matter and not as to a specific situation, so pelase call a licensed Florida attorney, like the lawyer at Drucker Law Offices, to determine if and how Florida law applies to your case.

If you have been in an accident, please feel free to conact Drucker Law Offices regarding your wage claim to discuss how to best present same.  Clients are helped to process their wage claims, medical claims and claims for pain an suffering.  The injury lawyer is in Boca Raton (accident lawyer in Boynton Beach, injury attorney in Delray Beach, accident lawyer in Deerfield Beach, injury lawyer in Pompano Beach). Please call 561-483-9199.

How do you get liability insurance information when you are injured in an accident in Florida

When someone is injured, Florida law has rules about providing liability insurance policy information.

Basically, Florida Statute 627.4137 requires disclosure of an insurance policy as well as disclosure of other information regarding the insurance policy.  The law requires disclosure of this information from the insurer, the insurance agent or the insured within 30 days of request.

Commonly, in car accident cases, clients come in with the accident report and that accident report would list the insurance companies and policies.  In other types of cases, however, there is little to no information regarding the insurance.  For example, when someone slips and falls at a property, it is not possible, other than requesting the policy from the property owner or the property management company, to get that insurance information.  Similarly, when someone is injured at a neighbor’s house, this statute is used to request the insurance policy of the homeowner.

Every case is different and must be judged on its merits. A good start is to get a complementary consultation regarding your accident case. The advice contained in this blog is intended to be of general matter and not as to a specific situation, so please call a licensed Florida attorney, like the lawyer at Drucker Law Offices, to determine if and how Florida law applies to your case.

At Drucker Law Offices, Attorney Drucker endeavors to help all clients with with injury cases, which includes the prompt disclosure of insurance information.  A proper statutory letter seeking insurance information allows the retrieval of this critical information for our clients. Fortunately, due to Florida Statute 627.4137, the insurance information is available for the client.  If you have been injured in an accident, call Drucker Law Offices for a free consultation regarding your injuries at 561-483-9199. 

627.4137  Disclosure of certain information required.

(1)  Each insurer which does or may provide liability insurance coverage to pay all or a portion of any claim which might be made shall provide, within 30 days of the written request of the claimant, a statement, under oath, of a corporate officer or the insurer’s claims manager or superintendent setting forth the following information with regard to each known policy of insurance, including excess or umbrella insurance:

(a)  The name of the insurer.

(b)  The name of each insured.

(c)  The limits of the liability coverage.

(d)  A statement of any policy or coverage defense which such insurer reasonably believes is available to such insurer at the time of filing such statement.

(e)  A copy of the policy.

In addition, the insured, or her or his insurance agent, upon written request of the claimant or the claimant’s attorney, shall disclose the name and coverage of each known insurer to the claimant and shall forward such request for information as required by this subsection to all affected insurers. The insurer shall then supply the information required in this subsection to the claimant within 30 days of receipt of such request.

(2)  The statement required by subsection (1) shall be amended immediately upon discovery of facts calling for an amendment to such statement.

316.062 Duty to give information and render aid.—(1) The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person or damage to any vehicle or other property which is driven or attended by any person shall give his or her name, address, and the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving, and shall upon request and if available exhibit his or her license or permit to drive, to any person injured in such crash or to the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle or other property damaged in the crash and shall give such information and, upon request, exhibit such license or permit to any police officer at the scene of the crash or who is investigating the crash and shall render to any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance, including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.
(2) In the event none of the persons specified are in condition to receive the information to which they otherwise would be entitled under subsection (1), and no police officer is present, the driver of any vehicle involved in such crash, after fulfilling all other requirements of s. 316.027 and subsection (1), insofar as possible on his or her part to be performed, shall forthwith report the crash to the nearest office of a duly authorized police authority and submit thereto the information specified in subsection (1).
(3) The statutory duty of a person to make a report or give information to a law enforcement officer making a written report relating to a crash shall not be construed as extending to information which would violate the privilege of such person against self-incrimination.
(4) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
History.—s. 1, ch. 71-135; s. 13, ch. 91-255; s. 297, ch. 95-148; s. 84, ch. 99-248.

Rear end collision accidents – who is at fault?

At the law offices, there are so many questions about rear end collisions.  Who is at fault?  Is the Car from behind always at fault?  Can the fault be divided between the cars?

First, it is important to understand that every case is different and that ultimately, if the parties cannot agree as to fault, a judge or jury would have to decide, after listening to the facts from all the interested parties and the witnesses.

In Florida, there is a presumption in the law that the car from behind is at fault.  This presumption is rebuttable.  I will go over some common examples.

A car driven by Mary is stopped at a red light waiting for it to turn green.  Scott, driving a car, is not paying attention and accidentally slams into the rear of Mary’s car.  This case would likely present the scenario where Scott would agree that he was at fault.  Fault likely would be determined at 100 percent against Scott.  Again, every case is different.

Let’s try another scenario.  Mary is stopped at a light.  The light turns green but Mary is texting on her phone and is not paying attention.  She is sitting there for more than 30 second.  Scott is coming behind her and sees the light has turned green and assumes that Mary has started to drive forwawrd.  Unfortunately, before he realizes that she is stoped, he slams into the rear of Mary’s car.  Here Scott very well may argue that Mary was negligent for being stopped at a green light.  Mary of course will argue that Scott should have payed closer attention and the accident could have been prevented.  It is possible that the parties here, or their insurance companies, will not be able to agree on the fault issues.  It is possible that a judge or jury finds Scott fully or significantly at fault but it is also possible that a judge or jury find Mary significantly or partly at fault. 

While the presumption suggests fault from the car in the back, there are some scenarios where the car in front may be party or fully at fault.  In the next blog entries, I will discuss more scenarios where fault is not quite so clear.

Every case is different and must be judged on its merits. It is a good start to get a complementary consultation regarding an accident case in case this happens to you. The advice contained in this blog is intended to be of general matter and not as to a specific situation, so please call a licensed Florida attorney, like the lawyer at Drucker Law Offices, to determine if and how Florida law applies to your case.

If you have any questions for the injury lawyer at Drucker Law Offices, please call 561-483-9199.