If I Am On Vacation Out-Of-State Or In A Foreign Country And Become Injured, Can I Litigate My Case In My Home State Of Florida?

Maybe – the Court must consider a 4-prong test to determine whether the equities (i.e. fairness) favor keeping your case in a Florida courtroom. This test is commonly referred to among attorneys as the Doctrine of Forum Non Conveniens. The Forum Non Conveniens test is best discussed in the 1996 Florida Supreme Court case of Kinney Sys. v. Cont’l Ins. Co., 674 So. 2d 86 (Fla. 1996). As is described in Kinney, there is a “strong” presumption against disturbing the Plaintiff’s choice of forum. Therefore, if a Florida Plaintiff files a lawsuit in a Florida courtroom, the burden of proof then shifts to the at-fault Defendant to argue why fairness favors keeping the case in the foreign state/forum. To accomplish this, the at-fault Defendant must satisfy the following 4-prongs:

Continue reading “If I Am On Vacation Out-Of-State Or In A Foreign Country And Become Injured, Can I Litigate My Case In My Home State Of Florida?”

Meet Our Firm

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Smith, Gaskill & Shenkman, P.A., Collects Toys for Local Charities

 

Smith, Gaskill & Shenkman, P.A., partnered with Operation Hope for their annual “Keeping Dreams Alive” toy drive! The firm was proud to have a collection bin inside of the office and excited to welcome past and present clients, friends, and the community in to drop off their donations. The turn out was wonderful and the firm would like to personally thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to stop by and donate to such a worthy cause. Continue reading “Smith, Gaskill & Shenkman, P.A., Collects Toys for Local Charities”

Smith, Gaskill & Shenkman P.A., partners with Operation Hope for Turkey Drive

Smith, Gaskill & Shenkman P.A., is partnering with Operation Hope for their annual Thanksgiving Turkey Drive! Operation Hope’s goal is to create over 300 Thanksgiving Care Packages that include turkeys, sides, and pies. The care packages will be distributed to homeless and low income families in Riviera Beach and West Palm Beach neighborhoods on Novemeber 19, 2018.

Five Important Steps After an Accident

The immediate moments following an accident can be overwhelming and scary. At Smith, Gaskill & Shenkman P.A., we are here to make sure you stay safe, calm, and protected during this vulnerable time. Our personal injury attorneys have put together a list of steps to help guide you after an accident. Your safety and well-being are our top priority, make sure that you are safe and out of danger… then follow the following steps to protect yourself and your rights: Continue reading “Five Important Steps After an Accident”

Help! My injury claim was DENIED!

It is not a myth that insurance carriers look for any reason to deny or diminish the value of your claim—whether it be a policy exclusion, physical evidence, prior medical treatment (it may even be unrelated prior medical treatment!) or even the narrative of a Police Report. We have seen it all. To the untrained claimant, a denial seems like the end of the road. However, often times, it is not. Continue reading “Help! My injury claim was DENIED!”

Navigating the Property Damage Claims Process Following a Motor Vehicle Accident

One of the aspects I love most about being a personal injury attorney is helping my clients on a global scale, and that sometimes includes stepping into the property damage arena. Although we are typically retained to represent claimants in bodily injury claims, it is imperative that an attorney also be knowledgeable and willing to assist with resolution of a claimant’s property damage, as needed. Continue reading “Navigating the Property Damage Claims Process Following a Motor Vehicle Accident”

The Emergency Medical Condition (EMC)

The “Emergency Medical Condition” – meet this statutory requirement or risk being limited to $2,500 in Florida PIP benefits.

In the personal injury world, it is important for injured claimants to utilize their full $10,000 PIP benefits, which is most commonly used to pay providers up to 80% of allowable charges for qualified medical treatment rendered after a motor vehicle accident.[1] Without full use of a claimants PIP medical benefits, the claimant may be left with unresolved and/or outstanding medical bills, or may be forced to use his/her private health insurance (if applicable), which can become problematic for a myriad of reasons. Continue reading “The Emergency Medical Condition (EMC)”

What Happens If I Fail to Get Medical Treatment within 14 Days?

If I fail to treat within 14-days after my accident – can I still use the full $10,000 in PIP benefits to pay my medical providers? Unfortunately, Fla. Stat. 627.736 says “no” and this “no” is not negotiable.

Recall that in my prior article, I explained that PIP benefits are not automatically paid directly to the injured claimant following an accident (with exceptions), pursuant to Fla. Stat. 627.736. Rather, PIP benefits are most commonly used to pay medical providers for treatment received after an accident. Now that we have debunked the misconception that injured claimants automatically receive $10,000 following an accident, it is important to be aware of the 14-day rule relating to medical treatment and PIP benefits. In order to fully appreciate the importance of this 14-day rule, consider the following example:

You carry $10,000 in PIP coverage. You pay a premium for your $10,000 in PIP coverage, hoping you never need it. Unfortunately, you find yourself involved in an accident and have injuries. Due to other commitments and obligations, you neglect to visit a doctor within 14-days of your accident. On the 15th day, you visit a chiropractor, informing the chiropractor that you were in an accident and providing your insurance information. You mistakenly believe that PIP will pay up to 80% of the provider’s bill, leaving you with (hopefully) a small 20% payment. Your provider submits their bill to your PIP carrier and the claim/bill is denied, leaving you confused and nervous. What went wrong? Unfortunately, this is a common situation that could have potentially been avoided, had you sought treatment within 14-days. Continue reading “What Happens If I Fail to Get Medical Treatment within 14 Days?”

How are PIP Benefits Paid?

practice-bg1I am often asked by clients – do I automatically get a $10,000.00 PIP (personal injury protection) check made payable to me, following a car accident? In the typical scenario, unfortunately, the answer is no. This article will briefly explain the purpose of Florida PIP insurance and its applicability when you are in an accident. Please note that nothing in this article is to be construed as rendering legal advice but is for informational purposes only.

Florida is a no-fault state that requires every vehicle owner to carry $10,000 in PIP benefits pursuant to Fla. Stat. 627.7407. This means that when you are in an accident, whether it is your fault or not, you qualify to make a claim for PIP benefits (if available). But what is the purpose of this required coverage and who gets the money? Does the claimant automatically get a $10,000.00 check made payable to them, following an automobile accident? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Continue reading “How are PIP Benefits Paid?”