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Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett | Legal Blog

Nov  06,  2014
By Jennifer Burns

Jennifer A. Burns, of Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett explains that the rule of “comparative negligence” could limit or block the personal injury damages. An example of this is in the news concerning the amount of damages comedian Tracy Morgan is entitled to receive following his tragic accident involving a Walmart truck.

The June 7 six-car pileup on the New Jersey Turnpike that severely injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed a fellow passenger remained in the headlines, most recently due to Walmart’s claim in court papers that Morgan's injuries, sustained after a Walmart truck driver rear-ended his limousine, were allegedly "caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs' failure to properly wear an appropriate available seat belt restraint device." The case is Morgan v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 14-cv-4388, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Trenton). Walmart’s defense is known in the legal world as a contributory negligence or comparative negligence defense.

In Florida, the theory of comparative negligence could impact a personal injury victim’s compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages following an automobile or trucking accident. Section 768.81 of the 2014 Florida Statutes, states that, “in a negligence action, the court shall enter judgment against each party liable on the basis of such party’s percentage of fault.” This means that if an injured driver or passenger contributed to the severity of his injuries by not wearing a seatbelt, the amount of damages he may recover may be reduced based on the percentage of fault attributed to him. For example, if a victim suffered injuries worth $100,000 in a trucking accident, but was 10% at fault during the accident, the value of his claim may be reduced to $90,000.

Jennifer A. Burns states, “comparative negligence comes into play most often when negotiating settlements with insurance companies.” Burns notes that when multiple parties are found to have contributed in some way to an automobile accident, the insurance policies of each party are subject to claims. A skilled personal injury attorney can help victims of trucking and automobile accidents evaluate the impact of their own carelessness on the value of their claim, review the relevant insurance policies to determine the best approach and options for pursuing claims, and negotiate with insurance adjusters to obtain the maximum compensation for their injuries.


Posted in Personal Injury
Oct  14,  2014
By Edward D. Carlson


Edward D. Carlson alerts Florida auto accident victims that full compensation for injuries will not be awarded if they do not comply with the strict requirements of the state’s recently amended Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law.

Sweeping changes to Florida’s PIP law, which became effective in 2013, make it more difficult for individuals injured in automobile accidents to recover medical expenses, lost wages and death benefits under their PIP auto insurance policy. PIP is “no-fault” auto insurance coverage available to people hurt in Florida car crashes regardless of who was at fault for the accident. All Florida drivers are required to carry PIP coverage in the amount of $10,000.

The recent amendments to the PIP law, intended to curtail insurance fraud, impose a number of new restrictions on individuals seeking PIP benefits for injuries received in an automobile accident, including:

1) Injured individuals must seek medical treatment within 14 days of an auto accident.

2) Medical care must be “lawfully provided, supervised, ordered or prescribed by a licensed physician, licensed osteopathic physician, licensed chiropractic physician, licensed dentist, or must be rendered in a hospital, a facility that owns or is owned by a hospital, or a licensed emergency transportation and treatment provider. Follow up services and care requires a referral from such providers and must be consistent with the underlying medical diagnosis rendered when the individual received initial services and care.”

3) To receive the full $10,000 in PIP benefits, injured individuals must have an "Emergency Medical Condition,” defined as a “medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to patient health, serious impairment to bodily functions, or serious dysfunction of a body organ or part.” If an individual is not diagnosed with an emergency medical condition, he is only entitled to $2,500 in PIP benefits.

4) Massage and acupuncture services are not covered by PIP policies.

5) An insurer may require injured individuals to undergo an “Examination Under Oath” (EUO). Failure to comply with the EUO demand will make an injured person ineligible to receive compensation under PIP.

6) An insurer may also require injured individuals to undergo an independent medical examination (IME) to determine if their injuries are as severe as indicated by the initial medical examiner. Failure to comply with the IME demand will make an injured person ineligible to receive compensation under PIP.

“Because auto accident injuries are often soft tissue injuries that do not appear right away, it is common for accident victims to refuse treatment at the scene of the accident and only see a doctor when pain eventually surfaces and becomes unbearable. The amended law makes it more important than ever for car accident victims to see a physician right away to make sure they don’t lose their rights to benefits under PIP,” said accident attorney Edward D. Carlson of Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett. Attorney Carlson also recommends consulting with a personal injury attorney immediately to learn how to protect and maximize PIP benefits following a car accident.

Attorney Edward D. Carlson helps auto accident victims evaluate their recovery options and develop an effective strategy for obtaining maximum compensation. He has more than four decades of experience successfully taking on insurance companies on behalf of car accident victims.

For additional information on Florida’s amended PIP laws, consult the 2012 Florida Statutes: This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.


Tags: Clearwater Injury Attorneys, Clearwater accident attorneys, Florida PIP laws, Carlson Meissner hart & Hayslett
Posted in Personal Injury
Jan  17,  2014
By maryann
Paul A. Meissner, Jr., is the Senior Managing Partner of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. Paul A. Meissner, Jr., is the Senior Managing Partner of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A.
Identity theft is causing financial nightmares for hundreds of thousands of people nationwide, and has been hitting communities throughout Florida particularly hard. This is especially important this time of year following all our holiday shopping using credit cards both on line and on the internet. As reported by Fox News on December 23, 2013, Target Corp. said that the Department of Justice is now investigating the retailer’s credit and debit card security breach, as federal lawsuits are starting to trickle in from customers around the country. The investigation comes after Target revealed last week that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts were stolen between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Security experts say it's the second-largest theft of card accounts in U.S. history, surpassed only by a scam that began in 2005 involving retailer TJX Cos. That affected at least 45.7 million card users. Today, people give out personal information for various reasons, most necessary and justifiable - online purchases, medical forms or signing up for a new insurance policy. The use of personal information has completely permeated most of our society. While some people regularly share information on the internet to make purchases, others are much more hesitant. According to the Consumer Sentinel Network, there were 69,795 complaints of identity theft filed in 2012. Since 2009, the highest number of identity theft complaints in the US come from Florida. “While it’s impossible to be one-hundred percent safe from identity theft, there are certainly measures which can be taken to minimize your chances of having your identity stolen,” said Meissner. “This includes setting difficult passwords for accounts, not giving out personal information online unless you initiated the contact, shredding documents with personal information, and not carrying a lot of credit cards in your wallet if you don’t have to.” Although these measures certainly help, it would not prevent thieves in institutions, such as the two convicted identity thieves who paid a respiratory therapist at South Miami Hospital for Social Security numbers. This is not a unique situation, and the result is that even the most diligent could be scammed, even when trusting a reputable institution. “Nothing is foolproof, and, ultimately, you must keep an eye on your credit report to make sure your identity is not being misused. Once someone has stolen your identity, it can take months, or even years, to get everything sorted out.”
Tags: attorneys-lawyers-blog-clearwater:attorneys; lawyers; blog; clearwater,identy-theft:Identy Theft,paul-meissner:paul meissner
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Clearwater Attorney Paul Meissner, of Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett, P.A., Warns Fellow Floridians to be Aware of Identity Theft. Identity theft rates skyrocket in the country as a whole, but nowhere is it more common than in Florida.
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