Consumer Matters is a monthly e-newsletter prepared by The Arcia Law Firm, P.L., and is dedicated to provide you with vital information related to your health, consumer safety, and improved quality of life.  This newsletter will also provide you with recent verdict and settlement information in personal injury, medical malpractice, and other related legal matters.  Feel free to forward this newsletter to friends, family and colleagues that may be interested in its content.  If you would not like to receive any future copies of our informative newsletter, you may unsubscribe below where indicated.

Unless you are living under a rock, I’m sure that most of you are keenly aware of the homeowners’ insurance crisis Floridians face today.  Here are some great suggestions that will help you reduce your homeowners insurance premiums right away.  The quicker you implement these, the quicker you start saving money.

It'll take some time, but could save you a good sum of money. Ask your friends, check the Yellow Pages or call your state insurance department. You can also access insurance information for your state on the Internet at http://www.naic.org/cis/. States often make information available on typical rates charged by major insurers and many states provide the frequency of consumer complaints by company.

Also check consumer guides, insurance agents, companies and online insurance quote services. This will give you an idea of price ranges and tell you which companies have the lowest prices. But don't consider price alone. The insurer you select should offer a fair price and deliver the quality service you would expect if you needed assistance in filing a claim. So talk to a number of insurers to get a feeling for the type of service they give. Ask them what they would do to lower your costs.

Check the financial ratings of the companies with AM Best or Standard and Poor's.

RAISE YOUR DEDUCTIBLE
Deductibles are the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance company starts to pay a claim, according to the terms of your policy. The higher your deductible, the more money you can save on your premiums. Nowadays, most insurance companies recommend a deductible of at least $500. If you can afford to raise your deductible to $1,000, you may save as much as 25 percent. Remember, if you live in a disaster-prone area, your insurance policy may have a separate deductible for certain kinds of damage. If you live near the coast in the East, you may have a separate windstorm deductible, if you live in a state vulnerable to hail storms, you may have a separate deductible for hail, and if you live in an earthquake-prone area, your earthquake policy has a deductible.

BUY YOUR HOME AND AUTO POLICIES FROM THE SAME INSURER
Some companies that sell homeowners, auto and liability coverage will take 5 to 15 percent off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them. But make certain this combined price is lower than buying the different coverage from different companies.

MAKE YOUR HOME MORE DISASTER RESISTANT
Find out from your insurance agent or company representative what steps you can take to make your home more resistant to windstorms and other natural disasters. You may be able to save on your premiums by adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof or buying stronger roofing materials.  Also ask your agent about performing an inspection of your home by a licensed contractor (which will cost you about $150) to ensure that your home is disaster resistant.  The savings to your insurance premium will more than make up for the cost of the inspection.

IMPROVE YOUR HOME SECURITY
You can usually get discounts of at least 5 percent for a smoke detector, burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks. Some companies offer to cut your premium by as much as 15 or 20 percent if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm that rings at the police, fire or other monitoring stations. These systems aren't cheap and not every system qualifies for a discount. Before you buy such a system, find out what kind your insurer recommends, how much the device would cost and how much you'd save on premiums.

STAY WITH THE SAME INSURER
If you've kept your coverage with a company for several years, you may receive a special discount for being a long-term policyholder. Some insurers will reduce their premiums by 5 percent if you stay with them for three to five years and by 10 percent if you remain a policyholder for six years or more. But make certain to periodically compare this price with that of other policies.

Remember that flood insurance is not covered by a standard homeowners policy. If you buy a house in a flood-prone area, you'll have to pay for a flood insurance policy that costs an average of $400 a year. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides useful information on flood insurance on its Web site at www.fema.gov.

If you have questions about insurance for any of your possessions, be sure to ask your agent or company representative when you're shopping around for a policy. For example, if you run a business out of your home, be sure to discuss coverage for that business. Most homeowners policies cover business equipment in the home, but only up to $2,500 and they offer no business liability insurance. Although you want to lower your homeowners insurance cost, you also want to make certain you have all the coverage you need.

The rights of victims of medical malpractice are under attack from many angles.  Legislators, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and others falsely argue that out-of-control lawsuits and overly sympathetic juries granting large awards are responsible for medial malpractice premium increases.

A new intimidation tactic recently initiated by medical societies in some states is causing medical experts who testify on behalf of medical malpractice victims to think twice before going to court.  These medical societies are establishing medical tribunals to review the testimony of doctors who go to court.  If medical testimony fails to meet terms and conditions, the societies can suspend or expel the physicians from society membership.

As a result, some expert testimony doctors fear appearing in court because they worry about retaliation by their peers in medical societies.  This is notably true in high-risk medical specialties such as neurosurgery, gynecology, obstetrics, and anesthesiology.

Opponents of the medical tribunal review argue that the process is designed not to protect patients, but to inhibit doctors from testifying by intimidating them with sanctions or banishment.  Some go as far as claiming that the process obstructs justice.  Not only that, many also believe that America’s legal system is set up so that judges and juries are perfectly capable of evaluating evidence – including expert medical testimony – and rendering fair and reasonable judgments in medical malpractice cases.  Opponents also point out that medical societies’ demands for peer review for expert testimony for plaintiffs may not be equally applied to testimony paid physicians provide for deep-pocket medical malpractice defendants and insurance companies.



If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of medical malpractice, call us today for a free consultation.

We are available to discuss your rights if you, a friend or loved one has been injured in an auto accident, or is the victim of medical malpractice. We also accept cases involving a slip & fall, wrongful death, product liability, business and real estate disputes.  Please call us today for a free consultation at 1-800-757-9805, email us at info@arcialawfirm.com, or visit our website www.arcialawfirm.com and complete our Free Evaluation form. 

Our Firm accepts and handles personal injury, medical malpractice and other legal matters in Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Davie, Cooper City , Ft. Lauderdale, Plantation, Sunrise, Coral Springs, Lauderhill, Weston, Southwest Ranches, Sunrise, Margate, Oakland Park, Hollywood, Lauderdale Lakes, Hallandale, Dania, Pembroke Park, Wilton Manors, West Palm Beach, Pompano Beach, Miami, Coral Gables, North Miami, Aventura, Sunny Isles, Bal Harbour, Hialeah, Miami Lakes

Family awarded $21M for mother struck by driver on cell phone

The family of a woman who was knocked into oncoming traffic and then killed because she was rear-ended by a driver talking on her cell phone was awarded $21.6 million. The Plaintiff, who was in her 30s, was struck by a driver who was driving her husband's company car for Ohio-based Re ynolds and Reynolds Co.

The driver rear-ended her at about 60 mph and the Plaintiff went across the median and into lanes of oncoming traffic where she was struck again. Plaintiff's counsel argued that the driver caused the accident while the defense argued that the Plaintiff accidentally stepped on her accelerator after the rear-end impact, which sent her into oncoming traffic. Plaintiff's counsel said this is the largest wrongful death verdict in Florida State history involving the sole loss of a mother. Her husband received $1 million.

Either the Arcia Law Firm nor Omar Arcia represented any of the parties to this action

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This publication is intended to educate the general public about personal injury, medical malpractice, insurance, and small business issues.  It is not intended to be legal advice.  Every case is different.  The information in this newsletter may be freely copied as long as the newsletter is copied in its entirety.


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