Like she had on many other mornings, 65-year-old Sylvia was on her way to her job as an administrative assistant for a local engineering company. She was a passenger in her daughter’s car as they were traveling on Westmont Boulevard in Altamonte Springs. As they entered the intersection on a green light, a young man driving a pickup truck for a local company ran the red light and slammed into the passenger side of Sylvia’s daughter’s Honda where Sylvia was seated. These photographs were taken by a co-worker of Sylvia’s who came upon the scene. Unfortunately, the accident caused extraordinary injury to Sylvia including a closed-head injury with cerebral concussion, right humerus fracture, left eye palsy, and a complex fracture of the right wrist tendons as a result of severe lacerations. Sylvia never returned to work. Luckily, the corporate vehicle was insured for $500,000.00 which we recovered to help Sylvia during her early retirement.
Major Spinal Surgery
Michelle was driving her car eastbound on Highway 50 in east Orlando when a gentleman pulled out from an apartment complex on Michelle’s right side and struck the passenger side of her car forcing her off the road and into the median. The two cars involved in the accident were totally destroyed. Michelle’s condition steadily declined. She eventually needed surgery on her cervical and lumbar spine. I negotiated a settlement with the corporation that owned the vehicle driven by the salesman that caused the accident. Michelle was wise and purchased an annuity to help provide income for her and her children.
Biased Insurance Doctors
Michelle was involved in an auto accident and sought medical attention from a chiropractor that she trusted. During the course of the treatment, Michelle’s auto insurer insisted that she be evaluated by doctors chosen by the insurance company. Naturally, those doctors were biased against Michelle, and wrote reports claiming she did not need any further treatment. As a result, they began to deny reimbursement for Michelle’s expenses. Each time the bills were denied, my firm filed a lawsuit against the insurance company. At the conclusion of each lawsuit, the insurance company agreed to pay the full amount of Michelle’s outstanding medical bills and reimburse her for mileage and other domestic expenses. This case illustrates the bias that doctors have when they are hired by an insurance company.
Brandon was only five years old when he was attending a daycare in Fern Park, Florida. The daycare was understaffed, and Brandon was allowed to run inside the building without proper supervision. He tripped while running and as he fell his face hit the corner of a table knocking out some of his front teeth and causing permanent injury. We successfully negotiated a settlement with the insurer of the daycare company and established an annuity which provided Brandon with money on each of his birthdays and then a substantial amount of money each year after reaching the age of eighteen to pay for his college education.
“You’re Out of Luck”
Norris grew up in Apopka and is a central Florida native. He had recently purchased a used Buick and went to his auto agent to renew his policy and insure his new car. Days later, he was involved in an accident and the car was severely damaged. When he went back to the agency to report the accident, they literally told him, “You’re out of luck.” The agency claimed that the insurer cancelled his policy and provided him proper notice. Norris had kept accurate records which convinced me that he was right and the insurance company was wrong. We filed suit against his insurer. During the litigation, Norris incurred additional storage expenses due to the insurer’s delay. We ultimately prevailed getting the insurer to pay for the full repairs and the additional damages for loss of use and storage due to the additional delay caused by the insurance company failing to accept responsibility for paying for the repairs.
Family Nightmare Auto Accident
Kim and her teenage daughter were passengers in a friend’s Chevrolet minivan traveling on Highway 50, when a man driving a pick up truck ran a stop sign and from a side street and plowed into the van. Since the accident occurred at highway speeds, both vehicles were totally destroyed, and the negligent driver’s pick-up truck burst into flames. Kim lost consciousness, and was severely injured. When she awoke, she saw the pickup in flames next to their van. Luckily, she was able to get out of the van, save her daughter’s life, and escape additional injury. The driver of the pick-up truck was intoxicated and had no insurance. Luckily, Kim and her friend who owned the Chevy van had uninsured motorist protection on their individual policies to provide them with benefits when involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. We were able to obtain substantial settlements for Kim her daughter, and the van owner who all suffered significant injury and loss of income as a result of the accident. This case illustrates the importance of having uninsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Saved the Day
I previously represented Mike in a relatively small auto accident and encouraged him to get uninsured motorist on his policy to protect him if he was ever in an accident again. Luckily, he followed my advice and purchased $100,000/$300,000 uninsured motorist policy with Florida Farm Bureau. Sometime later, Mike was working for a cable company and was parked in his work van on a quiet street in Clermont. Of all the dangerous streets in the world, this residential street appeared to be completely safe. However, Mike’s life was about to change.
Down the street, a twenty-year-old girl was pulling out of her driveway. She was distracted because and large insect was on her drivers side window. As she proceeded down the street in the direction in which Mike’s van was parked, she began rolling up and down her window hoping that the large bug would fly away. Unfortunately, the bug flew into her face causing her to lose control and drive directly into the rear of the van in which Mike was seated. Mike suffered severe injury resulting in complicated lumbar discectomy and fusion with instrumentation surgery. He was out of work for over a year.
If Mike had not had uninsured motorist coverage, he would have recovered nothing because this young girl was uninsured had no means to compensate Mike. We were able to recover the full $100,000.00 policy limit from his own insurance company to compensate him for his pain and suffering.
Monty was happily on his way to a barbeque get together on a Sunday morning when he walked out of a Publix Supermarket with a couple bags of sodas, hamburgers, hot dogs, and party accessories. A woman driving a large SUV stopped to allow another pedestrian cross and failed to see Monty who was crossing behind the first pedestrian. Apparently, this woman was distracted by four young children in her vehicle and accelerated hitting his right thigh, and running over his right ankle and top of his left foot with her left front tire. The impact shattered bones in his right foot causing reconstructive surgery, and a second surgery to remove an orthopaedic screw. Unfortunately, the woman who caused the accident was under insured, but her company did agree to pay its maximum policy limit to compensate Monty. Now, Monty is in the process of litigating his under insured motorist claim with his own insurance company that is legally obligated to provide him benefits for this accident even though he was a pedestrian.
Jim was in an auto accident, and was evaluated a few weeks later by a neurosurgeon who recommended spinal surgery. Jim was employed at the time, and was very conscientious about making sure that his auto insurance and heath insurance would be available to pay the hospital’s expensive bill. In fact, Jim got preapproval from his health insurance company, and presented his auto insurance and health insurance information to the hospital upon admission, and they agreed to bill both insurers. When the hospital found out that Jim was the victim of an auto accident, the hospital filed a “hospital lien” against his personal injury settlement and refused to bill his health insurer. If the hospital billed the health insurer, the hospital would have to accept a substantially discounted payment from the health insurer as payment in full and waive the large balance. Under the hospital’s flawed theory, they sought to recover the full amount of their bill (customary amount) against his personal injury settlement which would provide them with five times the reimbursement that they contracted to accept by the health insurer.
Naturally, the hospital lien severely interfered with Jim’s ability to settle his personal injury suit, and would have dramatically reduced the amount of money he would have received. Hence, we filed suit against the hospital for deceptive and unfair trade practices, violation of Florida’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and tortious interference of the contract that existed between the hospital and Jim’s health insurer. Eventually, after years of litigation, the hospital agreed to release Jim from all financial obligations to the hospital, and pay him damages in compensation. The terms of the settlement are confidential.
My Brand New Car!
Edgar was out one evening enjoying a drive in his three-week-old 2005 BMW 325i. Unfortunately a driver crashed into the rear of his new vehicle causing nearly $10,000.00 in damage. The negligent driver had $10,000.00 in property damage liability insurance which would have paid for the repairs. However, at my suggestion, Edgar had his insurance company pay for the repairs and Edgar paid his $250.00 deductible to the body shop. Why would I recommend to my client that he burden his own insurance company to pay for the repair caused by another insured driver? In this case, Edgar’s BMW has suffered a severe diminution in value, meaning his car is worth substantially less as a result of it being involved in a significant accident. We will make a claim for the full $10,000.00 in property damage liability to the insurer of the at-fault driver to compensate Edgar for his diminution in value and to reimburse him for his $250.00 deductible. This way, Edgar gets his car repaired, and significant cash money to compensate him for the loss in value suffered by his brand-new BMW.