Is it safe to drive in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a report on Florida Accidents, the answer is NO.
The Traffic Safety Report for 2005 was recently released, and the news is not good.
According to the report there were 3,543 car accident fatalities in Florida in 2005. That’s 19.9 deaths per 100,000 people in the state, which is well above the national average of 14.7 deaths per 100,000 people.
As the most populated sections in Florida, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Miami-Dade and Broward Counties have accounted for the most accidents and fatalities. Miami-Dade had 335 deaths and Broward County had 263.
The one positive thing that you can say about these numbers is that they pale in comparison to the number of non-fatal injuries caused by car accidents in our state. According to a report by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, our state had 252,902 car crashes in 2004, which caused over 227,192 non-fatal injuries. Admittedly, many of those injuries were minor, but keep in mind that paralysis, dismemberment, broken bones, or brain injuries are all considered “non-fatal.”
So if you have ever wondered why the insurance premiums here in South Florida are so high, it appears that the answers are in these numbers. But with so much daily, weekly and monthly revenue coming in from those premium checks, you would think that your insurance company would be able to quickly and efficiently handle an auto accident claim. If you’re paying some of the highest insurance premiums in the country then surely money isn’t an issue, right?
The truth is that insurance companies are not in the business of writing big checks. They have no problems with the cash flow coming in, but sending it out is a different story. They especially don’t like paying for extended hospital stays, severe injuries, or injuries that require long-term medical care due to car accidents and other injuries. And even though Florida has “No-Fault Laws” that require that your insurance company pays your claim regardless of whether or not the fault was yours, that’s still no guarantee that your insurance company will simply pay off your medical bills, property damage, or long-term care.
Insurance Company Tactics
Have you noticed how easy it is to get auto insurance these days? It’s impossible to turn on the television or read the newspaper without coming across a GEICO advertisement. And all you have to do is get online, or make a quick phone call. Within a few days you get a copy of your policy, which you don’t read because it’s loaded with dense legal jargon. But that shouldn’t matter, because according to the nice person at the call center, you know exactly how much you are insured for and what you can expect from your insurance company. It was so easy to get the policy, and there are so many easy ways to pay your premiums that filing a claim must be just as easy, right?
They do it this way on purpose. Insurers know that the less informed you are about your policy, and the less you know your options and your rights under the law, the easier it will be for them to deny your claim, or offer you a settlement that is wholly inadequate to cover your damages.
Insurers are usually in a rush to get you to accept payment as soon as possible. They know that injuries don’t have to be severe for the victim to receive compensation. They also know that with some injuries, it takes days for the symptoms to manifest themselves in the victim. If they can get you to accept a settlement quickly it will absolve them of any future responsibilities for compensation or medical care. If your injury does not fully develop until after you have already accepted a settlement check, what happens if you later find yourself unable to work? How do you pay your mortgage? Your electric bills? Your groceries?
When someone is able to walk away from a car accident with no broken bones or obvious injuries, they probably feel very fortunate. But you should always remember that just because you don’t have broken bones does not mean that you aren’t hurt.
In order to make sure that your needs are being met by your insurers after an auto accident, having an attorney that understands personal injury law and insurance company tactics is essential. It could be the difference between receiving a fair and adequate settlement for your injuries and having your needs utterly discarded.
David Benenfeld has been protecting the rights of the injured in South Florida for over ten years. He knows when accident victims are being treated fairly and when they aren’t. He also knows what constitutes a fair settlement and what constitutes a bad one.
Your rights and your future are too important to be left in the hands of a profit minded insurance company. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident and don’t feel that you are being treated fairly, contact David Benenfeld for a free legal consultation today.