Farah & Farah August 2013 Newsletter

Posted on August 2, 2013

Consumer Alert Concerning Aetna Insurance

We are investigating bad billing practices involving Aetna providers. If you were billed by your doctor or hospital after you were injured and you were insured with Aetna, we would like to discuss your situation with you.

Consumer Alert Concerning THE bAKER aCT

If you or a loved one has been subjected to an unjustified renewal of a Baker Act Involuntary Stay Proceeding, we would like to talk to you about your rights. For a free and confidential consultation please contact Farah & Farah.

When Mother Nature Strikes Know the Drill

After Katrina we know it is not easy to get an insurance company to pay a claim after a natural disaster. Insurance companies are in the business of collecting premiums and reporting to their shareholders how much money they make. They are not in the business of paying claims. As we saw in previous natural disasters, insurance companies will do anything they can to deny, delay or underpay the claims knowing that most insured’s are desperate for money to begin repairs. Under Florida law, insurance companies have the responsibility to properly and timely adjust the claim; if not you may have a bad-faith claim against the insurance company. To protect your claim there are several things you can do.

  • First and foremost is to document the damage. Insurers will pay only if the covered claims are documented
  • Contact the insurance company immediately and file a claim
  • Videotape and photograph the damage
  • Save copies of receipts, checks, estimates and invoices of all pre and post disaster expenses
  • Mitigate the damages through temporary repairs after documenting the damage and allowing the adjuster to inspect it. Under the law ‘mitigate’ means to take reasonable steps to prevent any further damage. For example, if you have an exposed roof, you can take reasonable steps to cover it to prevent other areas of the house from being affected
  • Obtain an appraisal of the premises, equipment and personal property
  • Prepare a map of the premises and the location of personal property, equipment and any machinery
  • Hire an engineer to diagnose any structural damage
  • Diary and confirm conversations with the insurance representative, adjusters and experts
  • Prepare and timely send the “proof of loss” form. Failure to timely send the “proof of loss” could jeopardize coverage for your claim

We are now well into hurricane session and hopefully none of us will have to deal with these issues.

Warrantless Blood Test Ruling Gives DUI Defense Lawyers Higher Power

A recent Supreme Court ruling rejected a rule allowing warrantless blood testing in suspected drunken driving accident cases. The Court ruled that unless police officers can show “exigent circumstances” then a warrant for a blood test should be obtained. The Court also ruled that even though alcohol tends to dissipate in the drivers bloodstream overtime, that in and of itself is not enough of an emergency to preclude a warrant requirement for a blood test. The Court ruled that with all the advancement in technology that search warrants are now being obtained remotely through various electronic mediums including telephonic/radio communication, electronic communication, e-mail and video conferencing. Defense lawyers now can use the same rational to defeat other warrantless searches in criminal cases and argue that the police were not involved in an emergency situation; they could have and should have obtained a warrant.

Bullet on Center Consol of Vehicle Justified Vehicle Search

The Illinois Supreme Court has issued a ruling that police officers were justified in conducting a search of the occupants of the automobile when they observed a single bullet on the center consol. Two police officers patrolling a motel parking lot in the evening and observed the defendant’s vehicle parked in the motels entranceway. The officers approached the vehicle and asked the defendant why he was blocking the entrance and one officer shined his flashlight into the vehicle. The officer’s flashlight illuminated a large caliber bullet on the vehicles center consol. Upon seeing the bullet, the officers ordered the defendant and his two passengers out of the vehicle and handcuffed and searched them. After recovering additional bullets from the defendants person police searched the interior of the vehicle and recovered a handgun on the passenger’s side floor. The defendant, who was arrested, filed a motion to suppress arguing that the bullet on the center consol did not justify a search under Fourth Amendment and a warrant should have been obtained. The Court disagreed ruling that a reasonably cautious individual in a similar situation could reasonably suspect the presence of a gun, thus jeopardizing the officer’s safety, based on the bullet clearly visible on the defendant’s center consol. Common sense and logic dictate that a bullet is often associated with a gun. In these circumstances the officers could reasonably suspect that their safety was in danger, the Court said.

Source: Lawyers USA, May 2013

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