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WHO SHOULD PAY FOR YOUR CAR REPAIRS AFTER AN ACCIDENT?

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RLDProperty Damage resulting from an auto accident can be confusing and who should pay for the damages is even more confusing.

By: Renee Dial, Esquire

Property Damage to your vehicle should be covered by the at fault party’s insurance.  However, all too often the person does not have insurance or minimal property damage insurance after an auto accident.

Custody? Or Shared Responsibility?

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Jeff NuckolsCustody? Or Shared Responsibility?

By: Jeffrey R. Nuckols, Esq.

In an earlier post, I wrote about child custody and time sharing. Another subject that parents might discuss related to the concept of child custody is which parent will be responsible for a child’s care or which parent will have decision making authority for important facets of a child’s life like medical care decisions.

Probate Without Probate?

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Jeff NuckolsProbate Without Probate?

By: Jeffrey R. Nuckols, Esq.

With the exception of the estates of decedents who have planned to avoid probate, most estates in Florida require probate. However, under specific and perhaps narrow circumstances, Florida law provides for disposition of personal property without administration – what one might refer to as “probate without probate.” Fla. Stat. 735.301 (2013).

The statutory provision can be helpful for the survivor of a decedent whose estate consists of so small an amount of personal property as to make probate cost prohibitive. Some modestly-sized estates might also qualify, see Fla. Stat. 735.301(1) (2013), but I will focus here on only the third category of property in Fla. Stat. 735.301(1) (2013). There the statute describes “nonexempt personal property the value of which does not exceed the sum of the amount of preferred funeral expenses and reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of the last illness.” Fla. Stat. 735.301(1) (2013).

The other two categories of personal property appearing in the statute are exempt personal property as appears in Fla. Stat. 732.402 (2013) and personal property exempt from the claims of creditors as in the Florida Constitution. Fla. Stat. 735.301(1) (2013). However, the category of personal property that I am discussing here need not be exempt.

So, what property falls into this third category? Always consult an attorney to help you determine whether funeral expenses or medical and hospital expenses fall within the statute’s meaning, but Fla. Stat. 733.707(b) (2013) might provide guidance for that determination for funeral expenses and Fla. Stat. 733.707(d) (2013) for medical and hospital expenses. Fla. Stat. 733.707(b) (2013) describes “[r]easonable funeral, interment, and grave marker expenses, whether paid by a guardian, the personal representative, or any other person, not to exceed the aggregate of $6,000.” Fla. Stat. 733.707(d) (2013) describes “[r]easonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of the last illness of the decedent, including compensation of persons attending the decedent.”

Notice that the statute provides for estates containing only personal property. That means that if the estate contains real property, like a house, that must transfer through the probate process, then the disposition of personal property without administration is not available. Fla. Stat. 735.301(1) (2013).

Why does Florida provide for the disposition of personal property without administration? Well, one reason might be to make it simpler and less costly for an individual who has paid those preferred funeral expenses and medical and hospital expenses to recover those funds from a very small estate.

Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice or as forming an attorney-client relationship. If you have any questions about your particular situation please do not hesitate to contact Jeffrey R. Nuckols
at (321) 329-5449 ext. 2
for a free telephone consultation.

BICYCLE V. AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS AND INSURANCE

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RLDBicycle accidents and the automobile insurance that may cover you.

By: Renee L. Dial, Esquire

Last week’s article included a couple of statutes regarding bicycle regulations.  In this article I will discuss insurance that can potentially provide you coverage in the unfortunate even you are involved in a bicycle v. automobile accident.

First, personal injury protection coverage (PIP), that you hear so much about the 14 day rule, may provide coverage if you are injured by an automobile regardless if the bicycle accident is your fault.  You must seek medical assistance within 14 days of the accident or you may lose valuable benefits.  If you own a vehicle with this coverage you can seek benefits from your automobile insurance carrier.  If you do not own a vehicle and live with a resident relative you may be able to claim benefits under that policy of insurance.  Now, if you do not own a vehicle and do not live with a resident relative you can file a claim for PIP benefits under the automobile driver’s policy of insurance.  PIP benefits are for medical and lost wages so a bodily injury (BI) or pain and suffering claim will have to be made against the at-fault driver’s insurance.  If BI insurance is not available then you can seek coverage under a UM policy of insurance.

The next insurance that may provide you coverage is uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance.  This is coverage purchased by you or a family member, if you are living in their household that may provide insurance in the event the driver did not have BI coverage or only carried minimal BI policy limits.  UM insurance is best if it is stacked UM coverage.  Stacked coverage multiplies the number of vehicles on the policy by the amount of insurance.  So if you have a $100,000 policy, elect stacked UM coverage, and have three vehicles, the potential UM coverage is $300,000.

If you or a family member are ever involved in a bicycle v. automobile accident look to your auto insurance for potential insurance coverage.  Available insurance and the facts of the accident will determine what coverage will be available and without knowing the facts it is hard to determine so please contact an attorney to review the facts and potential insurances that may provide benefits.

These are all reasons to call and have questions answered by an attorney that understands bicycle accidentsautomobile and motorcycle accidents in MelbournePalm BayPatrick Air Force BaseCocoa, and the beaches. If you have any questions regarding insurance coverage and auto or motorcycle accidents please do not hesitate to contact Renee L. Dial or another DKN Legal attorney at (321) 329-5449.  Press 4 for new clients.

ADVANCE DIRECTIVE? OR LIVING WILL?

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Jeff NuckolsAdvance Directive? Or Living Will?

By: Jeffrey R. Nuckols, Esq.

Over the past few months you might have read about the battle over who would control the medical care of radio legend Casey Kasem, and more recently over the questions of whether food, hydration, and medication should have been withheld from Mr. Kasem and who should have controlled that decision. Sadly, perhaps mercifully, Casey Kasem passed on June 15, 2014, but reading and talking about the conflict over Mr. Kasem’s care might have you thinking about a living will.

BICYCLES ACCIDENTS AND FLORIDA LAW

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RLDBicycles Accidents and the laws of Florida governing the roadway.

By: Renee L. Dial, Esq.

Everyday more and more vehicles are sharing the roadways with bicycles.  Most towns and cities have installed bike lanes or enlarged the existing bike lanes.  Unless otherwise specified by a local or state ordinance bicycles have the same rights for using the roadways as motorized vehicles.  Next, bicycles seem to be a hybrid of a pedestrian and a “vehicle” under Florida law.  While bicyclist can receive citations and even be convicted of a DUI if riding a bicycle while intoxicated a bicyclist riding on a sidewalk and crossing a marked or unmarked crosswalk may be treated as a pedestrian if struck by an automobile.  Vehicles should yield to a bicycle in the same manner that they yield to a pedestrian or continue on if it is safe to do so.  Below are a couple of Florida statutes that deal with bicyclists.

IS IT CUSTODY OR SHARING?

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Jeff Nuckols

Is It Custody or Is It Sharing?

By: Jeffrey R. Nuckols, Esq.

You have probably heard someone talk about child custody, and most of us understand the meaning of the word custody in the context of divorce. But for some people, the word custody carries with it overtones of control and even incarceration. Of course, parents generally do have the responsibility and right of control over their children, but there could be a friendlier way to talk about the time that a child spends with each parent after the divorce. Additionally, even though we understand the concept of primary custody where a child lives with one parent most of the time, a term other than custody might better describe the variation in different cases of how much time a child spends with each parent.

FLORIDA'S PIP LAW

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RLDFlorida’s PIP Law and what you need to know.

By: Renee L. Dial, Esq.

Florida law requires vehicle owners to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Liability insurance.  The PIP is the no fault portion of Florida’s law.   PIP is supposed to facilitate a person injured in a motor vehicle accident to be able to get medical care and treatment.  PIP typically covers 80% of an injured person’s medical bills up the limits of the policy, usually $10,000.  The injured party is then responsible for the remaining 20% even though they did not cause the accident.

The insurance company for the defendant driver will typically request that you give them a signed authorization so they can request medical bills and records in order to assist you with your claim.  Of course the adjuster will be as charming as possible and will seem very concerned about your well-being and paying your medical bills.  Some insurance companies will even show up at your house to give you a check for several thousand dollars and ask you to sign a release and that they are sorry for your troubles.  What you have to determine is whether they are really on your side.

The new Florida PIP law: Fla. Stat. 627.736

“Medical benefits.—Eighty percent of all reasonable expenses for medically necessary medical, surgical, X-ray, dental, and rehabilitative services, including prosthetic devices and medically necessary ambulance, hospital, and nursing services if the individual receives initial services and care pursuant to subparagraph 1. within 14 days after the motor vehicle accident. . .“

Most persons injured in an accident hope that the aches and pains will subside on their own.  They go to work and take over the counter medication to keep the pain in check.  Later they find out that the ache in their back is a herniated disk caused by the accident and their healthcare insurance is asking them if the injury is related to an auto accident.  Depending on your health insurance you may be responsible for reimbursing your health insurance company for paying any medical bills that paid on your behalf.

These are all reasons to call and have questions answered by an attorney that understands automobile and motorcycle accidents in Melbourne, Palm Bay, Patrick Air Force Base, Cocoa, and the beaches. If you have any questions regarding insurance coverage and auto or motorcycle accidents please do not hesitate to call DKN Legal at (321) 329-5449 and press 4 for new clients.