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FAQ

 

Cruise Injuries

Cruise Passenger Injury Frequently Asked Questions

I WAS INJURED ON A CRUISE. WHAT DO I DO NOW?
In answering this question, we will confine ourselves to what you should do to help protect your legal rights.

The first thing you should do is check your cruise ticket and see what the ticket requires you to do for your cruise ship accident.

Typically, the cruise ship ticket or contract requires you to notify the cruise line of your cruise injury within six months of the date of your accident on the cruise ship. The ticket probably also will say that if you fail to so notify the cruise line of your cruise injury, you will be forever barred from collecting damages for your injury. If you do choose to go forward on your own in notifying the cruise line of your cruise injury, you should do this in such a way as to provide you with good proof that you did in fact alert the cruise line of your cruise injury. You should send the notice of your cruise injury in such a way as to provide you with proof of your having sent it and proof that the cruise line received it. Be sure to check your ticket carefully to familiarize yourself with the exact requirements of your particular voyage.

The ticket/contract with the cruise line also very likely has a provision requiring you to bring a lawsuit on your cruise ship injury claim within at most one year from the date on which you sustained your cruise ship injury. Again, be sure to check your ticket carefully to make sure that you fully understand exactly what it requires of you with respect to any and all deadlines for filing your cruise ship injury claim.

Because the failure to abide by the time limitations set forth in your cruise ticket/contract can preclude you from ever recovering for your cruise ship injury, it is imperative that you act quickly and it really does make sense for you to retain experienced cruise ship injury attorneys to assist you with your claim.

SHOULD I TRY TO SETTLE MY CRUISE INJURY CLAIM WITH THE CRUISE LINE BEFORE BRINGING IN A CRUISE LAW ATTORNEY?
Typically not, because the deck is stacked against you. To get paid anything you have to abide by the contract you entered with the cruise line when you purchased your ticket from them and any failure to rigorously follow the terms of that contract can lead to your getting nothing. We know of attorneys who do not regularly practice cruise ship injury law who themselves were unable to follow the requirements of their injured client’s cruise contracts and ended up getting nothing for their clients.

We are also aware of many instances where the cruise lines appear to act towards their injured passengers as though settlement is possible, all the while knowing that the clock is ticking on the injured cruise ship passenger’s ability to file a cruise injury lawsuit in time to beat the too short statutes of limitations imposed on passengers by the cruise lines themselves.

Though we are aware of cruise lines offering a free cruise to individuals injured on one of their cruise vessels, we are not aware of a single instance where a cruise line has settled with a party not represented by an attorney for anything we consider close to what that party was entitled to for their cruise ship injury.

Cruise ship litigation is often difficult and time consuming, but if you want full and fair compensation for the injury you sustained on your cruise voyage, we strongly urge you to retain experienced cruise ship injury counsel.

WHERE CAN I FILE MY LAWSUIT AGAINST THE CRUISE LINE FOR MY CRUISE SHIP INJURY?
Your cruise ticket almost certainly will require you to file suit in the city in which the cruise line is based.

Holland America generally requires you to file suit in Seattle, Washington. Royal Caribbean generally requires you to file your cruise ship injury cases in Miami, Florida.

Defense Base Act

Are there any payment provisions that are specific to aliens and non-U.S. residents?
Yes. There are two such provisions:

a) Cases involving aliens and non-U.S. residents can be resolved by commuting benefits paid for permanent disability and death. In such cases, a one-time lump sum payment may be issued by the employer/carrier representing half of the present value of future compensation as determined by the OWCP district director. Medical benefits may not be commuted.

b) Death benefits may be paid only to the surviving spouse or child or children, or if no surviving spouse or child or children, to dependent parents.

Can an employer voluntarily provide DBA benefits even if a waiver is in place?
Yes. There is no prohibition against providing DBA coverage for waived employees.
Does the Department of Labor regulate DBA insurance premium rates?
The Department of Labor has no authority to regulate insurance premium rates. All authorized carriers are regulated by the states in which they operate.
How do I contact the OWCP district office?
The DBA jurisdictional boundaries and the corresponding district office contact information can be viewed athttp://www.dol.gov/esa/owcp/dlhwc/dbajurisdictions.htm. The contact information for other Longshore district offices can be viewed athttp://www.dol.gov/esa/owcp/dlhwc/lscontac.htm.
How do I file a claim for compensation based on my injury?
File a written claim for compensation with the OWCP district office having jurisdiction of your claim on Form LS-203 (Employee’s Claim for Compensation) within one year after the date of injury or last payment of compensation, whichever is later. The time for filing claims in certain occupational disease cases has been extended to two years.
How do I give notice of my injury to my employer?
Give written notice of your injury to your employer on Form LS-201 (Notice of Employee’s Injury or Death) within 30 days. Additional time is provided for certain hearing loss and occupational disease claims.
How do I obtain compensation for my disability?
If you are disabled more than 3 days, contact your employer or the insurance company for payment of compensation, which is payable 14 days after your employer has knowledge of injury.
How do I obtain death benefits?
Give written notice of the employee’s death to the employer on Form LS-201 (Notice of Employee’s Injury or Death) within 30 days. File a written claim for compensation on Form LS-262 (Claim for Death Benefits) with the OWCP district office having jurisdiction of your claim within one year after the date of the employee’s death.
How do I obtain medical treatment for my injuries?
If you need medical treatment for your work injury, ask your employer to authorize treatment by a doctor of your choice. If it is an emergency or if you are unable to contact your employer, go to the nearest hospital or physician, but be sure to let your employer know as soon as possible.
How does one obtain a waiver?
The request for waiver must be made in writing on Form BEC 565, Request for Waiver-Defense Base Act, by the head of a department or agency of the United States government. The Form BEC 565 and other pertinent information should be submitted to the Director, OWCP, U.S. Department of Labor, ESA/OWCP, Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Rm C-4315, Washington, DC 20210.

Copies of the Form BEC 565 may be obtained in writing from the Director, Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation, at the same address, by email DLHWC-Public@dol.gov, or by calling the Longshore National Office at (202) 693-0038.

Is work performed pursuant to a grant covered under the DBA?
Although this issue has been addressed by a court of law in only one instance, the Department of Labor has adopted a position consistent with the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in University of Rochester v. Hartman (Vishniac), 618 F.2d 170 (2nd Cir. 1980), that work performed pursuant to a grant is not covered under the DBA.
Must an employer acquire DBA coverage for foreign nationals?
Yes. Benefits under the DBA are payable regardless of nationality. Therefore, employers should secure insurance coverage for all of their employees working outside the United States under a U.S. government contract, including U.S. citizens and residents, host country nationals (local hires), and third country nationals (hired from another country to perform work in the host country).
What are the insurance requirements under the DBA?
The insurance requirements under the DBA are identical to those found in the LHWCA. The Longshore Act requires every employer (including contractors and subcontractors) either to secure insurance for the payment of workers’ compensation benefits provided under the Act or to be permissibly self-insured. If a subcontractor fails to secure the payment of compensation, the contractor will be liable and will be required to secure the payment of such benefits.
What does “public work” mean?
“Public work” is defined in the Act as any fixed improvement or any project, whether or not fixed, involving construction, alteration, removal or repair for the public use of the United States or its allies. However, “public work” is not limited to construction. It includes any project or operation under service contracts and projects in connection with the national defense or with war activities.
What if an employer fails to secure payment of compensation as required by the DBA?
If an employer fails to secure payment of compensation, an injured employee, or his/her survivors in case of death, may elect to sue the employer for tort 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 the negligence of a fellow servant, or that the employee assumed the risk of his employment, or that the injury was due to the contributory negligence of the employee.

In addition, an employer who fails to secure the payment of compensation when required shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. If the employer is a corporation, the president, secretary, and treasurer shall also be severally liable for such fine and imprisonment. These three corporate officers shall also be personally liable, jointly and severally with the corporation, for any compensation or other benefit payable under the Act with respect to the injury or death of any of its employees.

What if the parties to the claim are unable to resolve their dispute(s) informally?
If the parties are unable to resolve their dispute(s) informally, they may request referral of the claim to the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) for formal hearing. Decisions rendered by the administrative law judge may be appealed to the Benefits Review Board and thereafter, depending on where the claim is administered, to the U.S. District Court or to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
What is a waiver?
The Secretary of Labor may waive application of the Defense Base Act with respect to any contract, work location, or class of employees upon the written request of the head of any department or other agency of the United States. It is Department of Labor policy that waivers do not apply to citizens or legal residents of the U.S. or to employees hired in the U.S. In addition, once granted, the waiver is only valid if alternative workers’ compensation benefits are provided to the waived employees pursuant to applicable local law. If there are no local workers’ compensation laws, the waiver has no effect and local and foreign nationals working under a U.S. contract are covered under the DBA.
What is the Defense Base Act (DBA)?
The Defense Base act or DBA is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) which provides disability compensation and medical benefits to employees and death benefits to eligible survivors of employees of U.S. government contractors who perform work overseas. With a few exceptions, the DBA incorporates the provisions of the LHWCA.
What is the employer’s posting requirement under the DBA?
The DBA incorporates the LHWCA’s provision that every employer who has secured compensation under the Act must keep posted in a conspicuous place in and about its place of business typewritten or printed notice on Forms LS-241 (Notice to Employees) or LS-242 (Notice to Employees for Self-Insured Employers). Such notice must also contain the name and address of the employer representative to whom notice of injury is given, and the carrier, if any, with whom the employer has secured payment of compensation and the date of the expiration of the policy.
What services do the OWCP district offices provide?
The OWCP district office monitors the payment of compensation and medical care to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act. The district office staff also provides technical assistance to employers, insurance carriers, and claimants for the prompt delivery of benefits. In case of claim disputes, district office claims examiners conduct informal conferences to help the parties resolve their disputes by way of mutual agreement or compromise without formal litigation. The district director has authority to approve settlements and issue compensation awards in undisputed claims.
What should an employer do upon notice of an employee’s injury?
The employer should notify its insurance carrier or, if it is self insured, its claims administrator, as soon as it has knowledge of an injury. Medical treatment, if needed, should be authorized immediately. An Employer’s First Report of Injury, Form LS-202, must be filed with the OWCP district office having jurisdiction within 10 days of the injury if it causes loss of one or more work shifts. The Form LS-202 may be filed electronically. For information and instructions, go here. Additional forms and notices, as well as medical reports, should be filed with the OWCP as regulations require.
What should I do if I get injured at work?
You should notify your employer immediately. If you need medical treatment, ask your employer to authorize treatment by a doctor of your choice.
What types of benefits are available under the DBA?
The Defense Base Act provides disability and medical benefits to covered employees injured in the course of employment and death benefits to eligible survivors of employees killed in the course of employment. Compensation for total disability is two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly earnings, up to a current maximum of $1,047.16 per week. Compensation is also payable for partial loss of earnings.

Death benefits are paid at the rate of one-half of the employee’s average weekly earnings to a surviving spouse or one child, or two-thirds of average weekly earnings for two or more eligible survivors up to the current maximum rate of $1,047.16 per week. The Defense Base Act also incorporates the LHWCA’s provision for payment of reasonable funeral expenses not exceeding $3,000.00.

Permanent total disability and death benefits may be payable for life, and are subject to annual cost of living adjustments. The LHWCA minimum benefits rate, however, does not apply to DBA claims.

The injured employee is also entitled to medical treatment by a physician of his/her choice, as the injury may require

Where should new Defense Base Act claims be filed?
Defense Base Act claims should be filed in the Longshore District Office responsible for the geographic area where the injury or death occurred. The geographic boundaries of the District Offices can be viewed here.
Who administers the DBA?
The U. S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC), administers the Defense Base Act through eleven district offices located throughout the United States.
Who is authorized to write DBA coverage?
The OWCP is responsible for the authorization of insurance carriers and self-insurance of employers. Over one hundred insurance carriers have been authorized to write Defense Base Act coverage. For a list of the currently authorized insurance carriers, seehttp://www.dol.gov/esa/owcp/dlhwc/lscarrier.htm.

 

Currently three major insurance carriers provide most of the Defense Base Act insurance coverage. They are ACE USA Companies, American International Group (AIG) Companies, and CNA.

Who is covered under the DBA?
The Defense Base Act covers the following employment activities:

– Work for private employers on U.S. military bases or on any lands used by the U.S. for military purposes outside of the United States, including those in U.S. Territories and possessions;

– Work on public work contracts with any U.S. government agency, including construction and service contracts in connection with national defense or with war activities outside the United States;

– Work on contracts approved and funded by the U.S. under the Foreign Assistance Act, which among other things provides for cash sale of military equipment, materials, and services to its allies, if the contract is performed outside of the United States;

– Work for American employers providing welfare or similar services outside the United States for the benefit of the Armed Services, e.g. the United Service Organizations (USO).

If any one of the above criteria is met, all employees engaged in such employment, regardless of nationality (including U.S. citizens and residents, host country nationals (local hires), and third country nationals (individuals hired from another country to work in the host country)), are covered under the Act.

Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation

Are there any payment provisions that apply only to aliens and non-U.S. residents?
Yes.

  • Cases involving aliens and non-U.S. residents can be settled by a lump sum for benefits for permanent disability and death. In such cases, a one-time lump sum payment may be issued by the employer/carrier representing half of the present value of future compensation as determined by the OWCP district director. Medical benefits may not be settled by this lump sum.
  • Death benefits may be paid only to the surviving spouse or child or children, or if no surviving spouse or child or children, to dependent parents.

 

Do I have any control over my medical care?
As mentioned above, you are entitled to be treated by a physician of your own selection.  It is important that you stick with a physician that will handle your case appropriately and not be at the whim of the Employer/Carrier.  DO NOT sign any forms which waive your right to or designate a physician as your choice of physician.  Occasionally, these forms are given to you by a port doctor at the time of a drug test.  Read any forms that the Employer/Carrier or physician gives you to sign.  If you have a doubt, do not sign it and consult an attorney.
Does my employer have to carry insurance?
Yes. The Longshore Act and DBA require every employer (including contractors and subcontractors) either to secure insurance for the payment of workers’ compensation benefits provided under the Act or to be approved to self-insure. If a subcontractor fails to pay ordered compensation, the contractor will be liable and will be required to pay such benefits. Currently three major insurance carriers provide most of the Defense Base Act insurance coverage. They are ACE USA, American International Group (AIG), and CNA.
How do I obtain compensation for my disability?
If you are disabled more than 3 days, contact your employer or the insurance company for payment of compensation, which must be paid 14 days after your employer has knowledge of the injury and claim for benefits. If payments are contested or withheld call  our firm at 305-373-9091.
How do I obtain death benefits?
A written notice of the employee’s death is given to the employer within 30 days. A claim for compensation must be filed with the OWCP office having jurisdiction of your claim within one year after the date of the employee’s death.
How long do I have to file a claim for compensation based on my injury?
The carrier must be given Notice of Injury within 30 days of the date of accident or  the time in which you new that an injury had occurred.  A written claim for compensation must be filed  with the Department of Labor, OWCP district office having jurisdiction of your claim within one year after the date of injury or last payment of compensation, whichever is later.  For instance, if your are receiving compensation and the Employer terminates payment of  compensation, you have one year to file a Claim from the date that you last received compensation.   The time for filing claims in certain occupational disease cases is two years.  However, as to medical benefits, typically there is no Statute of Limitations.
What if my lawyer or I cannot resolve my claim with the Employer or Insurance Carrier directly?
The initial part of your claim is handled informally with the Department of Labor serving as a mediator.  If an issue arises, your case will be set for an informal conference with a representative of the Department of Labor, the Employer/Carrier, the Claimant, and  Claimant’s attorney.  Claims that cannot be resolved informally, will be referred to  the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) for formal hearing.  This is an actual trial in front of a Judge.  Here you will be asked to testify with other possible witnesses and doctors’ medical evidence will be offered.   The Judge alone will decide your case. Decisions by an administrative law judge may be appealed to the Benefits Review Board and to the federal courts.
What is the Defense Base Act (DBA)?
The DBA is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) and provides compensation and medical benefits to employees and death benefits to eligible survivors of civilian employees of U.S. government contractors who perform work overseas. The DBA generally follows the provisions of the LHWCA.
What should I do if I get injured on the job?
You should notify your employer immediately within thirty days once you think you have a work injury. Additional time for reporting may be given for hearing loss injuries.  Generally,  a Notice of Injury must be completed within thirty days of the date of accident.  If you need medical treatment, ask your employer to authorize treatment by a doctor of your own choice. You are entitled to choose your treating physician.  Initially, your employer or the insurance carrier may send you to a  physician for an initial examination or for a drug test.  It is important that you do not sign any forms which might designate any physician as your own choice of physician.  Furthermore, you should not agree to give a statement or a taped interview to anyone.

What types of benefits are available under the LHWCA or DBA?
The LHWCA and Defense Base Act provide disability and medical benefits to covered employees injured in the course of employment and death benefits to eligible survivors of employees killed in the course of employment. Compensation for total disability is two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly earnings, up to a current maximum weekly benefit which is usually inflated annually. Compensation is also payable for partial loss of earnings or a loss of earning capacity for certain types of injuries. Impairment Benefits are also available for injuries to your upper or lower extremities.

Death benefits are paid at the rate of one-half of the employee’s average weekly earnings to a surviving spouse or one child, or two-thirds of average weekly earnings for two or more eligible survivors up to the current maximum rate of $1,047.16 per week. The Defense Base Act also incorporates the LHWCA’s provision for payment of reasonable funeral expenses.

Permanent total disability and death benefits may be payable for life, and are subject to annual cost of living adjustments. The LHWCA minimum benefits rate, however, does not apply to DBA claims.

After an injury is at maximum medical improvement the worker is entitled to ongoing permanent or partial benefits or a schedule award for the body part or hearing loss as determined by the Act. These determinations can be complex and a competent attorney must advise you on this aspect.

The injured employee is also entitled to medical treatment by a physician of his/her choice, as the injury may require.

Where should your Longshore or Defense Base Act claim be filed?
Longshore or Defense Base Act claims should be filed in the Longshore District Office responsible for the geographic area where the injured employee resides or the injury or death occurred in the case of U.S. Longshore cases.
Who enforces the DBA?
The U. S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC), administers the DBA through eleven district offices located throughout the United States. A federal law judge hears claims that cannot be resolved in a hearing intended to be near the claimant’s place of residence in the U.S.
Who is covered by the Longshore, Harbor Workers Compensation Act?
The LHWCA covers work injuries that occur in maritime work on navigable waters of the United States or in adjoining waterfront areas close to harbors, rivers, or other waters. Employees covered by this Act work in maritime work and include shipbuilders, longshoremen, harbor workers, barge operators, dock repair workers, and any workers performing covered work in a marine terminal. Other civilian workers on military bases inside and outside the U.S. or assisting the U.S. military operations abroad may also be covered by Longshore Act related federal statutes.
Who is covered under the DBA?
The Defense Base Act covers civilian workers who:

  • Work for private employers on U.S. military bases or on any lands used by the U.S. for military purposes outside of the United States
  • Work on public work contracts with any U.S. government agency, including construction and service contracts in connection with national defense or with war activities outside the United States
  • Work on contracts approved and funded by the U.S. under the Foreign Assistance Act, which among other things provides for cash sale of military equipment, materials, and services to its allies, if the contract is performed outside of the United States
  • Work for American employers providing welfare or similar services outside the United States for the benefit of the Armed Services, e.g. the United Service Organizations (USO)

If any one of the above criteria is met, all employees engaged in such employment, regardless of nationality are covered under the Act.

Will I have to pay my attorney?
The Longshore and Defense Base Act laws are complicated. An attorney that is a specialist in this area will help you figure out the benefits that you are eligible for and assist with finding doctors or medical providers if that is an issue. When the insurer does not pay voluntarily and the lawyer wins benefits for you, the attorney should be paid by the insurer not you.   Always look for attorneys that are experienced with Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation matters.

Negligence Cases

Automobile Accident

How much is my auto accident case worth?
This question is difficult to answer as it depends on many factors:

· If someone else’s negligence caused the auto accident and resulted in injuries, one of our lawyers can help you obtain any payment you are entitled to for your medical bills plus compensation for pain and suffering. This would include past and future medical bills.
· If you were seriously injured and missed time from work, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages or loss of earning capacity in the future. Our proven Miami, Florida auto accident lawyers can help you retain such compensation.
There is no proven formula to determine exactly how much a case is worth. It will depend on how the evidence and testimony dictate the case. Because of our record of trying these types of cases, our firm is able to determine a general value for your claim. One of our Miami, Florida auto accident lawyers will obtain medical records and bills and will analyze the client’s condition since the injury in order to provide an estimated value.

Can I choose my own repair shop?
You have the absolute right to decide who will repair your vehicle, provided the repair shop is licensed, should the insurance company choose to repair the car. Many insurance companies will evaluate the cost of repairing your car separately and independently from any repair shop. The insurance company will then work with the repair shop of your choice, to get your car repaired.
Do I have to purchase any extra insurance on the rental car?
The insurance company will not pay for extra insurance you purchase from the car rental company. Your own insurance carrier should cover you while driving the rental car. Call your insurance agent to be sure you are covered while driving the rental car.

Does my auto insurance cover my motorcycle accident?
Many motorcycle owners believe that they will be covered by their automobile insurance if they are involved in a crash. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In Florida, insurance is not required for the owner and rider of a motorcycle. Furthermore, the PIP coverage a motorcycle owner may have on his car will not cover the owner if injured on a motorcycle. Our Miami, Florida auto accident lawyers can help answer more of your questions concerning motorcycle accidents.
Does my insurance company have to use new parts to repair my car?
The insurance company is obligated to restore your vehicle to the same condition it was in before the accident. Because your car was probably not new, the mechanic may use refurbished or reconditioned parts. Sometimes this requires the use of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts and sometimes after-market parts can be used. After-market parts are parts made by a manufacturer other than the original manufacturer. If your vehicle is being repaired with newer parts, your company doesn’t have to pay for this “betterment.” For example, if your vehicle’s transmission is five years old and is damaged due to a covered loss, your insurer would only have to replace it with a five-year-old transmission. If a five-year-old transmission can’t be found, the repair shop could use a new transmission but you’d have to pay the difference between the value of a five-year-old transmission and a new transmission.
How do I prove what damage was caused by the accident?
The first step if you have been involved in an automobile accident is to report the claim to the insurance company of the driver who caused the wreck. It is important to remember there are essential measures that must be taken next to promptly preserve evidence, and the accident must be investigated thoroughly and injuries evaluated.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of an automobile accident, call Silverstein & Silverstein now at 305-373-9091. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay. You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires. Below are some commonly asked questions.

The insurance company will sometimes claim that some damage to your car existed before the accident. Similarly, accidents often generate mechanical malfunctions. Determining if a mechanical problem was caused by the wreck or by normal wear and tear can be difficult. Therefore, it is important that you prove the connection between the auto accident and the damage you are claiming. Mechanics and body repair persons can help you determine the age of body damage or the cause of a mechanical failure, and they can help you convince the insurance company that the auto accident caused the damage.

How is the fair market value of my car calculated?
Insurance companies usually determine fair market value by referring to the “Blue Book” or a similar publication. Other sources of information are the local newspaper or the Auto Trader, which may list the for-sale price of cars of the same make, model and years as yours. Occasionally, an expert vehicle appraiser is used to help prove the value of your vehicle. You are entitled to recover the “fair market value” or the “actual cash value” of your vehicle immediately before the accident.

If you owe more money on the loan for the car than the fair market value of the car, you are “upside down” on the loan. Unfortunately, if your vehicle is a total loss, the insurance company will not pay more money to you simply because you are “upside down” with your car loan. They are only obligated to pay the “fair market value” of your car.

How long can my insurance company take to settle my claim?
From the time your insurance company receives notice of the loss, they are allowed 30 calendar days to settle your first party claim. The time may be extended if you fail to cooperate with them or they need to conduct additional investigation, but the company must provide you with written notice explaining the reason if the claim settlement process takes longer than 30 days.

How long will it take to bring my auto accident case to a conclusion?
The complexity of the accident as well as the particular injuries sustained will determine the time frame of the outcome. We resolve our client’s cases based on an understanding of their current and future medical conditions. Once our law firm becomes involved, the average car or auto accident case is resolved within eight to 12 months.
I have full coverage, why am I not covered?
Full coverage, while it can mean a variety of things, does not automatically imply that bodily injury is covered. Contact your insurance company for clarification on your insurance coverage.

What are the MMI and permanent impairment rating?
At the conclusion of your treatment with a doctor, our Miami, Florida car and motorcycle accident lawyers will request a final narrative of your condition. Once a physician has decided you are at Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), some doctor’s assign, and insurance company’s request, a permanent impairment rating. It does not mean that you are back to the physical or mental condition you were at prior to the accident. It simply means your condition has stabilized and you have a loss. This is generally done pursuant to American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines. A permanent impairment rating technically is not called for as a basis at trial in an automobile case, but many automobile insurance companies like to have the impairment rating so they can evaluate the case.
What other damages can I expect the adjuster to pay?
You had to pay sales tax, a tag fee and registration fees in addition to the price of the vehicle. You are entitled to be reimbursed for the prorated amount of these costs that are unused. The insurance company should reimburse you for the tag transfer fees and in some cases a prorated amount of sales tax on the actual cash value of the car at the time of the accident.
What should I do if I am in a car, auto, or motorcycle accident?
Following a car, auto, or motorcycle accident, it is important to call the police and seek medical treatment. Keep in mind that the shock of being in a collision may hide any pain until hours or even days later. Our Miami, Florida motorcycle and car accident lawyers have compiled a complete list of what to do after a car or auto accident. Most importantly, before you speak to the at-fault driver’s insurance company about your injury, contact an attorney to discuss your accident.
Who decides whether my car is repaired or replaced?
The insurance company normally has the sole option to either repair, replace or reimburse you for your car’s actual cash value (ACV). The amount your vehicle would have sold for on the date of the accident is the actual cash value and is usually a question of cost efficiency. When the vehicle is economically impractical to repair, your insurance company will elect to replace your vehicle or reimburse you for the ACV. If the cost to repair the vehicle equals or exceeds the vehicle’s ACV on the date of the loss, the vehicle is considered economically impractical to repair, or a total loss. In many instances an insurance company will total a vehicle if the appraised damages equal 80% of the vehicle’s ACV because often, once repairs are begun, additional damages or “hidden damages” are found which would render the vehicle a total loss by definition.
Who is responsible for towing and storage fees?
The insurance company for the driver who caused the accident normally will pay the reasonable towing and storage costs of your car. While determining whether your car is a “total loss,” they will continue to pay the storage costs. They will move the car from the repair shop to a wrecking yard or a free storage area if the insurance company declares the car a “total loss.” Before your car is moved, you will be called. You will have to pay the storage costs from the day of your refusal forward if you refuse to allow the insurance company to move your car. You can pay to have it towed to your home if you want to keep the vehicle.
Who pays for a rental car while my car is being repaired?
If you caused the accident, most policies don’t provide coverage for a rental vehicle unless you buy this additional coverage. If another party was responsible for the accident, the insurance company for the person who caused the wreck is required to provide you with a rental car. If the other driver is at fault, we will demand that the insurance company for the person who caused the accident provide you with a rental car for the time needed to repair your vehicle. Sometimes, you must pay the rental car bill first, with reimbursement coming from the insurance company later.

  • Handling Case Nationwide

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News & Events

October 31, 2012
News & Events Post 1

Defense Base Act and Longshore Newsletter   Read the most recent DBA Injury Newsletter.   Silverstein and Silverstein 25...

October 31, 2012
News Post 2

Defense Base Act and Longshore News and Recent Case Rulings   Supreme Court Rules in Roberts v. Sea-Land Services,...