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Personal Injury Tips: Notifying Your UM Insurance About the Proposed Settlement

Notifying Your UM Insurance About the Proposed Settlement

“Solomon’s Laws: 1. When the law doesn’t work…work the law.”
― Paul Levine, Solomon vs. Lord

In most cases, after you sign the Release with the party that caused your damages and get the check, your case is done. However, there are instances when you still have the ability to seek additional money. What I’m talking about is the scenario involving UM Insurance. UM Insurance stands for “Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance.”

When you obtain car insurance, one of the benefits you are able to obtain along with typical liability and property damage benefits, is UM Insurance. If you take out UM Insurance (and I strongly, strongly suggest you do), you have the ability to always ensure you are protected. Let’s say you are in a car accident and your damages are worth much more than the insurance limits of the party that caused your accident. For instance, let’s say you have damages of $100,000.00 but the car that hit you only has insurance with a limit of $10,000.00. If you have a UM policy, you will then be able to go after your own policy for the difference (if your limits are that high). I believe that having UM Insurance is one of the single most important things you can do to protect yourself.

There are some protocols which must be followed though. Before you sign the Release with the at-fault party and accept the check from them, we must ask your UM Insurance Adjustor for permission to settle. Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, the truth is that there is a very good reason for this. By asking your own insurance company for permission to settle, you are also asking them to waive their right of subrogation (the right to go after the at-fault party for reimbursement). After asking for permission to settle, your UM Insurance Adjustor then has 30 days (what’s considered a reasonable amount of time) to decide to allow you to settle or to cut the check themselves and send it to you in place of the at-fault party. If they do it this way, they then retain their right to go after the at-fault party for reimbursement of all the money they have and will have to pay out to you for your injuries.

It sounds confusing and in truth, it is. What’s most important is that if you have UM Insurance and you plan on seeking money from it, you ask your own insurance company for permission to settle before signing the release and cashing the check with the at-fault party. Got it? If you don’t follow this procedure, then your own insurance company can wiggle out of having to give you any money from your UM policy.

One other key point to remember – if you have UM Insurance and you plan on seeking money from it for your injuries, you must also send a Demand Package to your own insurance. This is very similar to the regular Demand Package you sent out, with just a few small, key differences.

Remember, the best thing you can do is to call the Ticktin Law Group at (954) 570-6757 as soon as possible. By speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer and going over all the facts of your particular claim, you will get a much better idea of what steps you should already be taking, what the best way is to proceed with your case and what compensation you may be entitled to.

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Personal Injury Tips: The Personal Injury Claim Release

The Personal Injury Claim Release

I’m very thankful that I can make people happy just by signing my name.

Yoko Ono

In an ideal situation, our clients agree to settle their case after the Insurance Adjustor offers him or her an amount of money which is believed to be sufficient to walk away without going to court. Once that happens, they will send out a “Release” to sign. In essence, the Release is a document which says that in exchange for getting money, you agree that the case is completely done. You can’t come back to the party that caused your injuries in the future for more money no matter what happens. In other words, if you signed the Release and then down the road figure out that your injuries are much worse than you originally though, there is nothing you can do. The Release will also say that there is no admission of fault.

Typically, a Release has a whole lot of legalese in it. However, in essence it boils down to a few key points. The Release will list the parties to the accident, when the accident happened, how much money you as the client will be getting, the fact that you will be responsible for the payment of all outstanding bills and liens, and a statement that you agree that the case is completely done. Most of the time the Release will have a spot for a witness (or two) to sign as well. In some rare occasions, a Release will also have a place for a notary to sign. Once the Release is signed and sent back to the Insurance Adjustor, they will then have the check issued to the law firm. This takes just a couple of days. A typical Release will look something like this:

RELEASE OF ALL CLAIMS     

Remember, the best thing you can do is to call the Ticktin Law Group at (954) 570-6757 as soon as possible. By speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer and going over all the facts of your particular claim, you will get a much better idea of what steps you should already be taking, what the best way is to proceed with your case and what compensation you may be entitled to.

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The Ticktin Minute April 17, 2017 – HOA Liens and Foreclosure

A Homeowner’s or Condominium Association (also known as “HOA” or “COA” or collectively referred to as the “Association”) is a legal entity created in order to ensure that a neighborhood of homes or condominium units with common elements function properly. In order for a Homeowner’s Association to function properly, they are given a power to place a lien over any homeowner or condominium unit owner who does not follow their rules and regulations. Such lien may lead to a foreclosure of the unit holder’s property in some circumstances.

The Homeowner’s Association and/or the Condominium Owner’s Association typically have two functions. First, the Association ensures that the rules and regulations of the community are followed. Second, the Association collects assessments and fees related to property ownership within the community. Such fees are used towards items indicated in a yearly budget, which is comprised of day-to-day repairs and services. This can include monthly pool maintenance or regular cleaning services. The yearly budget can also account for items such as employee salaries, anticipated repairs and/or legal fees. The budget total is then divided by the number of units in the community and each owner is required to pay their share of the fees. Further, if there are any unanticipated expenses, the owners may be required to pay their proportionate share above and beyond the monthly maintenance fee. Failure to pay such fees can subject an individual’s home to foreclosure. The most common reason why an Association will resort to foreclosure is the failure of a homeowner to pay maintenance fees and/or special assessments charged by the HOA or COA.

If a homeowner fails to pay maintenance fees assessed by the Association then they will be responsible for the unpaid assessment charge, late charges, reasonable costs of collection (attorneys fees), fines (in some cases) and interest charges. The owner will also be responsible to pay for their own foreclosure defense as the process is the same as if the home were foreclosed by a bank.

Contact the attorneys of The Ticktin Law Group to assist you with foreclosure defense action and/or any other legal matter you, a friend or a loved one may have. The attorneys of The Ticktin Law Group offer complimentary legal consultations.

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Personal Injury Tips: The First Offer and Negotiation in Personal Injury

The First Offer and Negotiation in Personal Injury

Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing.

Carrie Fisher

After a Demand Package is sent to the at-fault party’s insurance company, the Insurance Adjustor then has 30 days (what is considered a reasonably amount of time) to respond with an initial offer. Typically, the Insurance Adjustor’s First Offer is a low-ball figure. I have seen cases which ultimately settled for six figures get a first offer below a thousand dollars. Many times, the letter which has the First Offer will try to make it seem like you have no case.

If there was less than $5,000 in damage to your car, the letter will usually say that because it was a low-impact hit, there was no mechanism for injury. If you are over the age of 40, it’s possible that the letter will say that your injuries were pre-existing and not caused by the accident. Many times, the First Offer letter will also try to assign some percentage of fault to you even though it was clearly 100% the other person’s fault. Obviously, the First Offer is made just to see if you will accept their minimal offer to settle. Remember, Insurance Companies are in the business of making money. The less money they get away with giving you, the better they are doing their job. Don’t be discouraged at this point. It’s all a part of the game.

The response to the First Offer will be a Counter-Offer. It’s typically better to not call the Insurance Adjustor, but rather to put everything in writing. The first counter-offer will politely reiterate the damages in a quick and concise way and state why more money is needed to settle the claim. After writing it, it’s best to fax the Counter-Offer and send a copy in the mail. The first Counter-Offer will look and sound something like this:

 ———

Dear Mr. Smith,

I am in receipt of your letter dated November 24, 2016, which included what you deemed “a most generous offer” of $10,000.00 to settle our client’s case. We thank you for your offer. Unfortunately, your offer is completely unreasonable and has been rejected by our client.

You stated that you made a careful review of the Demand Package, but then you contradicted yourself when you said that the accident was a low-impact hit. The Demand Package clearly stated that our client’s car had over $7,000.00 in damages from the impact. That is indicative of a very high-impact hit.

Additionally, you claimed that our client had minimal injuries as a result of the accident. As stated in my Demand Package, our client continues to suffer from C4/5 Posterior Bulging of the Disk, C5/6 Posterior Bulging of the Disk and C6/7 Posterior Herniation of the Disk Encroaching on the Anterior Subarachnoid Space and Both Neuroforamina. Our client has received a surgical recommendation and continues to suffer from intermittent muscle spasms, headaches and inflammation. Our client’s life has been drastically affected and his treating physician stated he has a 12% permanent impairment rating. There is nothing minimal about these injuries.

On top of all those injuries, our client still has $15,600.29 in outstanding medical bills. Your offer doesn’t cover the medical bills, let alone do anything to attempt to make our client whole again. In consideration of the foregoing, but in an attempt to reach an amicable resolution without the need to go to court, our client is prepared to accept $49,000.00 in full and final settlement of the claim.

Sincerely,

Attorney

 ———

The Insurance Adjustor will then most likely send another offer, this time offering more money to settle the claim. This will not be their highest offer yet. Another Counter Offer will then be sent, trying to make it sound like you have every reason to deserve more money. This same process will continue until you ideally get to the point that the Offer contains a financial amount which convinces you to settle the claim.

Sometimes, after several Offers and Counter Offers have been traded, the Insurance Adjustor still needs a little encouragement to raise the claim. At this point, we will let the adjustor know that we are ready and willing to take the case to court if they won’t negotiate in good faith. Sometimes we will send a sample Complaint and Discovery showing that we are completely prepared to take the claim to the next level. In other instances, we will file a Civil Remedy Notice of Insurer Violation with the state of Florida.

Remember, the best thing you can do is to call the Ticktin Law Group at (954) 570-6757 as soon as possible. By speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer and going over all the facts of your particular claim, you will get a much better idea of what steps you should already be taking, what the best way is to proceed with your case and what compensation you may be entitled to.

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The Ticktin Minute April 10, 2017 – Explanation of the Promissory Note With Regard to a Foreclosure Proceeding

In order for a foreclosure proceeding to occur, there must have been an original mortgage document and promissory note signed in favor of a bank. This typically occurs when the property is originally purchased, however, this could also materialize pursuant to an obtaining an equity line of credit with the home serving as the collateral for the additional mortgage. The mortgage document and the promissory note work together to provide the rules for the homeowner to follow and the right for the lender to protect their interest in the collateral (the home).

A promissory note is almost always signed along with a mortgage. The mortgage states the terms of the loan arrangement and attaches the property as the collateral for the loan, whereas, the promissory note is the actual “promise” to repay the debt. Lenders generally include both documents in their foreclosure complaints as exhibits because the mortgage document and the promissory note work together to require a homeowner to re-pay the bank in the event of a breach of contract or failure to pay monthly payments due to hardship.

The promissory note is usually a one (1) to three (3) page document, at most, which is essentially an “I Owe You” to the bank. Promissory notes rarely have extensive contractual provisions and/or stipulated consequences of default. Rather, promissory notes refer back to the mortgage document for the terms of the loan. Mortgage documents can be as long as thirty (30) pages long detailing such terms. The other major difference is that the mortgage is the document that secures the home as the collateral for the loan. In other words, the mortgage allows the bank to foreclosure on the home if payment is not received. Without the mortgage, the promissory note would be harder to enforce (it would not have any collateral for the promise to repay). Therefore, both documents should be reviewed and strictly adhered to. If a breach of contract due to financial hardship is imminent or has recently occurred, contacting a knowledgeable foreclosure attorney and providing them with a copy of mortgage and promissory note is crucial to ensure that you have the best chance to keep your home.

Contact the attorneys of The Ticktin Law Group to assist you with foreclosure defense action and/or any other legal matter you, a friend or a loved one may have. The attorneys of The Ticktin Law Group offer complimentary legal consultations.

 

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