Personal Injury Protection: Its Benefits made Hard to be Earned

Posted by on Sep 19, 2015 in PIP, Vehicle Accidents | 0 comments

Where driving is the issue, then all US states require drivers to have the financial capability, whether through auto liability insurance, a bond, or any other state-approved means, to pay for any damages they may cause to another individual and/or his/her property in the event of an automobile accident.

Auto liability insurance, which is mandated in 48 states have different types. Two of these are the full tort car insurance and the no-fault or personal injury protection (PIP). In full tort car liability insurance package, the drivers involved in an accident can sue each other, first, for the purpose of determining whose fault the accident was and, second, to seek compensation from the liable party for all (physical and/or property) damages the innocent driver was made to, and will still, suffer. Full tort coverage also allows for compensation for pain and suffering.

No-fault insurance or PIP is a type of insurance coverage wherein the policy holder is paid by his/her own insurance provider in the event of an accident regardless of whose fault the accident was. PIP, however, limits the right of the victim to sue the person at fault – a condition that many consider advantageous to both victim and driver at fault for such reasons as: both will be paid by their insurance providers; there is no more need to file a lawsuit for the victim to prove the fault of the other driver (the basis of tort coverage) and, upon determining fault, for the victim to claim damages; and, the cost of the premiums, compared to tort coverage, is lower since filing a lawsuit is no longer necessary.

Besides covering medical cost for bodily injuries, PIP may also cover other losses or damages (legally called economic damages) like lost wages due to inability to report to work (this is not an automatic guarantee, however, since some states have not approved coverage of lost wages).

The no-fault car insurance coverage is mandated in these nine states: Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, and Utah. Three other states: Kentucky, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, allow drivers to choose which insurance coverage they will want to carry either the full tort or the no-fault coverage.

According to the website of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., it is quite common for many insurance providers to deny claims, delay payments on claims, or underpay them. As a result, injured victims are further made to suffer by these insurance firms which put them in financial difficulties.

Injured victims, though, are not the only ones affected by the disloyalty of insurance firms. Even health care providers (who have provided the needed medical attention) end up not getting compensated for the services that they have already rendered.

Insurance providers, a lot of these, have been known to employ tactics which will keep them from making payouts in order to keep their profits. As a result, the ones in the losing end are the injured victims, their families, and all those who have rendered them services, especially health care providers. Auto insurance liability coverage policies are legal documents; there are times when it would take legal counsels to fight for the right of policy holders and to remind insurance firms of their obligations in compensating their clients who are eligible to make claims.

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Failure to Observe “No Zone” Areas: One of the Major Causes of Truck Accidents

Posted by on Sep 17, 2015 in Vehicle Accidents | 0 comments

In 1986, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act was passed into law, requiring truck drivers to undergo training which will enable them to possess the skills necessary in operating a truck, and to pass a test prepared by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), before obtaining a commercial vehicle license. This is partly to make sure that truck drivers will always be up to whatever challenging tasks their driving duties will require of them, such as driving for 11 hours with very short rest periods.

There are many other laws which have been passed, of course, all aimed at ensuring that only trained and qualified drivers are allowed to operate trucks and, once behind the wheel, will be kept kept from feeling drowsy and fatigued. And then there are also laws that strictly require trucking firms to conduct regular maintenance checks on their vehicles to make sure that these are always in good operating condition and free from defective parts or manufacturing defects. Thus, besides the licensing requirements enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are also laws that specify the allowed maximum number of hours of service (HOS) or driving hours, federal standards on truck tires and brakes, prohibition on the use of a cell phone while driving, and on the use of a bluetooth headset, among others.

Truck accidents and the threats presented by trucks on the road are common knowledge to hundreds of lawyers and law firms all across the United States. According to the website of Williams Kherkher one major reason trucks are so dangerous is the presence of multiple blind spots (around the truck) known as “no-zones”.

“No zones” are areas or spots around trucks (and buses) where crashes are most likely to occur; some are actually blind spots because smaller vehicles, especially cars, disappear from the view of the truck driver. There are four blind spots identified around trucks: the (left and right) side no-zone; the rear no-zone; and, the front no-zone.

  • Front no-zone: cutting in front of a truck immediately after passing it and, likewise, immediately slowing down can result to being rear-ended which, in turn, can lead to an accident and severe injuries.
  • Rear no-zone: due to the length and width of a truck, as well as the fact that this does not have rear view mirrors, smaller vehicles that tailgate it are usually never noticed by the driver; the driver of the smaller vehicle will likewise be deprived of a view of the road ahead. Thus, in the event that the truck suddenly stops, the smaller vehicle can very likely run into it.
  • Side no-zone: if there is one thing that drivers of smaller vehicles should totally avoid doing, this is driving along either side of trucks or buses as these are their big no-zone areas. A driver obviously does not see you if you, in turn, does not see his/her face in the side-view mirror; likewise, if the truck driver suddenly needs to change lanes or swerve, that can only mean very big trouble . . . for you.

Smaller vehicles that squeeze between (the right side of) trucks and curbs are also inviting disaster. Many smaller vehicles have been crushed beyond recognition due to this fatal mistake either by drivers of smaller vehicles or by truck drivers who fail to first make safety checks before making a right turn.

Iowa car accident attorneys would probably tell you that even cars have blind spots, though these are much smaller compared to trucks and buses. To make all motorists aware of this blind spot or no-zone issue, the concept was introduced in the early 1990s, for the dual aim of teaching drivers to stay out of no-zone areas and calling on truck drivers to pay extra attention to smaller vehicles that may happen to end up in these areas.

Some studies show that majority of road accidents that involve cars and trucks are actually faults of drivers of smaller vehicles – due to their failure to observe the no-zone areas. If this is totally true, then it would not matter whether the truck driver was actually extra careful or not with his/her driving.

Well, there definitely is more that needs to be proven; but while some accidents clearly show who is at fault, there are many more that will require the analysis and probing of a truly skilled lawyer in order to determine who or how much negligent each driver has been.

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