Monday, October 16, 2017

Cyberbullying Laws

civil case against cyberbullying

When a person goes online and suffers constant abuse from strangers, whether that be classmates, coworkers, or random individuals, it can (and has) led to emotional damage, physical injury, and even death. In fact, because of cyberbullying, the rates of suicide among teens have skyrocketed. This grave injustice of our youth, and of our society in general, demands a closer look and demands justice. Cyberbullying is not something that should be glossed over or dismissed. After all, if someone followed your around all day, invaded your home, or harassed your multiple times a day, you would be outraged. So why should it be viewed any different when it occurs online?

Being cyberbullied can cause instability in mental health, problems when trying to concentrate in school, and self-esteem issues. While some people are harassed once or twice, others are relentlessly bullied for week, months, or years. These crimes tend to be correlated with shame, causing a victim to avoid seeking any type of help.

The internet has allowed would-be harassers to remain anonymous. This characterisitc of the internet has of course led someone to take advantage of this quality. This makes it a great tool to pick on peers while avoiding any repercussions that face-to-face interactions might involve.

Cyberbullying happens through text messaging, email, on social media, and on social apps like Snapchat. Because these applications are often connected to more than one person, and sometimes the victim's entire peer network, the harassment can be magnified. Social media also allows for the sharing of information in a rapid way. This often means that once something is posted, is it out there forever. Even if the person posting the picture or information has a change of heart, often the spread is irreversible.

Seemingly in opposition to the public and widespread nature of social media, is the often privateness of personal technology devices like phones and laptops. This often means that the victim can hide their experience from their parents. This aspect often leaves the individual feeling alone and isolated.

What Is Cyberbullying?

The crime of cyberbullying is a form of terrorism that is usually used by children and teenagers. It involves the use of electronic technology to attack, offend, and isolate a victim through inflammatory texts, personal or private websites, or social media platforms. The person that gets targeted is usually attacked by one person or a group of individuals for a specific reason or what they feel is “just for fun”. This may take the form of sharing private information, spreading false rumors, the making of hateful or hurtful memes, the sharing of nude photos, and the list goes on and on.

One of the scarier aspects of cyberbullying, besides its often irrevocable nature, is the ability to get others, who would not normally participate in such acts, to join in. That's because social media feels so distant to some, that sharing something or commenting on something seems harmless, when in reality it only adds interest to the attack.

Laws for Cyberbullying

Several states have created and implemented laws that penalize people for cyberbullying. Other variations of these violations include cyberstalking and harassment. These regulations have been made to protect minors against these horrendous actions.

Cyberstalking includes the spreading of a false allegations, which legally speaking is a type of slander and/or libel.

In addition to federal anti-cyberbullying laws, Florida also has specific language referencing the occurence:

Fla. Stat. Ann. 1006.147(3) (2010): "(a) ‘Bullying’ means systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students and may involve: (1) Teasing; (2) Social exclusion; (3) Threat; (4) Intimidation; (5) Stalking; (6) Physical violence; (7) Theft; (8) Sexual, religious, or racial harassment; (9) Public humiliation; or (10) Destruction of property. . . . (d) The definitions of ‘bullying’ and ‘harassment’ include: (1) Retaliation against a student or school employee by another student or school employee for asserting or alleging an act of bullying or harassment...[and] (2) Perpetuation of [bullying or harassing] conduct ... by an individual or group with intent to demean, dehumanize, embarrass, or cause physical harm to a student...".

types of cyberbullying

The Cyberbullying Pattern

The crimes of cyberbullying usually follow a pattern that could be defined by law enforcement if police get involved in the situation. A type of tracking method could be implemented to find the person who is behind the incident. Any spiteful behavior and threatening messages often will follow a pattern based on the person who is behind the attacks. It can be specific days, certain websites, and particular hours of the day that are used. When a cyberbullying incident starts to become physical abuse, the crimes are easier to prosecute against. Charges could be issued as misdemeanors or felonies based on certain the factors.

The Burden of School

Both cyberbullying and cyberstalking most often occur with school children. These kids will either receive or send out the attacks while in school or specifically to classmates. Legislation has started to shift the responsibility of resolving the attacks and avoiding the crimes on the school districts by having and enforcing policies and regulations. This is possible through adjusting an already existing anti-bulling policy within the school’s guidelines. It now includes instances of cyberbullying between children when it involves the educational districts. Still, even with the state laws and school policies, the issue continues to persist has more and more ways to harass another become available.

Seek Legal Recourse for Cyberbullying

It is imperative to contact an attorney when your child becomes the victim of cyberbullying. Many children that are affected by these crimes will require medical attention and/or treatment for psychological damages. Compensation should be obtained to cover these expenses, as well as, pain and suffering.

Cyberbullying Attorneys -Dolman Law Group

At Dolman Law, we understand that this is a tough issue. When your child becomes the victim of bullying, it creates stress and worry. We are here to help you through this difficult time. If your child has been subject to cyberbullying, call us to speak about getting justice. We have many experienced attorneys that will go over your case and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions. You can reach us in one of these 4 ways:

  • Call Dolman Law Group at (727) 451-6900
  • Complete this online contact form
  • Click the Live Chat button in the bottom right corner of this page
  • Download the Dolman Law Group App for direct contact with our firm
Dolman Law Group
1663 1St Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL33712
(727) 222-6922

Thursday, October 5, 2017

5 Tips Regarding Hit and Run Accidents

hit and run tips in florida - dolman law group

A hit and run car accident in Florida is more common than you would think. In fact, a client contacted us just this morning with serious injuries from a driver who fled the scene. In Florida, approximately 25% of accidents are hit and runs. A hit and run accident can be an extremely frustrating situation. But pursuing an insurance claim for a hit and run accident could possibly be even more frustrating.

Here are 5 important facts about insurance coverage after a hit and run accident.

#1: Uninsured Motorist Insurance Could Save You

If a person becomes the victim of a hit and run accident, having uninsured motorist coverage (UM) will cover the victim’s damages. This is particularly helpful since in the event that a person is injured and the hit-and-run driver isn't caught, this coverage will cover just like if the person didn't have insurance at all. 
The coverage can be broken into two basic categories:
  • injuries to the driver and passengers (bodily injury)
  • damage to the vehicle (property damage)
Since this coverage acts just like any other motorist insurance, it can be vital in providing coverage for situations in which other coverage isn't available.

#2: Standard Car Insurance May Not Be Enough

In some cases, standard motorist coverage isn't always enough to cover all the damages from a car accident. Insurance only covers up to a certain amount, depending on the coverage, so it may fall short in serious situations or injuries. This is why having adequate coverage is imperative before something like a hit and run accident happens to you. Ensuring that you have extras, like UM or Bodily Injury coverage, will prevent situations like a hit and run from putting you and your family in a financially tight spot. 

#3: Collecting Evidence is Crucial

Collecting evidence after an accident is always crucial to a successful claim. But when there is no other driver, evidence can be even more pivotal in the outcome of a case. Hiring an expert attorney is a great way to ensure that the appropriate evidence is collected, analyzed, and used effectively in making your case. 
After a hit and run accident, you will have to prove:
  • the accident was caused by an unknown motorist;
  • all reasonable efforts have been made to try and identify the other driver and if the other party involved has any existing insurance policies;
  • if you have suffered any injuries or damages as a direct result of the hit and run accident.

#4: Hit and Run Accident Claims Have a Time Limit

All hit and run insurance claims, just like any other accident, are subject to Florida’s statute of limitations. You always have to remember that the longer you wait to file a claim, the more it can damage your claim. Not only is there an actual time limit on how long you have to file a claim, but evidence can be lost, procedures can be missed, and credibility can be deteriorated.
In Florida, the deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit after a hit and run is four years. This may sound like a lot of time, but in cases in which a person doesn't know the extent of their injuries until years later, this can be restrictive. 
If someone dies in a hit and run accident, then the statute of limitation that applies involves wrongful death, which is two years from the date of death. 

#5: Stay at the Scene of the Accident

If you happen to be involved in a hit and run, it's imperative that you stay at the scene of the crime. It can be tempting to chase after the person or attempt to follow them in order to get their license plate information, but you should not do this. Not only is it the law, but depending on the severity, leaving an accident could make you injuries worse.
The penalty for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage is a second degree misdemeanor charge, including the possibility of sixty days in prison and a $500 fine. If there are injury’s involved, than the charges can be trumped up to a second or third degree felony, including a suspension of license for at least 3 years, up to five years in prison, and a $5,000 fine. Lastly, if there has been a fatality due to the accident, then it's considered a first degree felony, involving a revoked license for up to three years, and a mandatory minimum of four years in jail, and a $10,000 fine.        

Dolman Law Group    

At Dolman Law, we understand that an injury caused by a hit and run driver can be frustrating. These types of incidents create many problems, questions, and concerns. But hiring an attorney can not only help to increase your settlement, it can decrease your worry. We are here to take the stresses of filing a claim off of your shoulders while you worry about recovering from your injuries.

Contact us for a free case evaluation. We will be happy to review your case and answer any questions you may have. Call today at 727-222-6922   

Dolman Law Group
1663 1St Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL33712
(727) 222-6922



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Were You Injured at a Resort?



With countless resorts, theme parks, and tourist attractions, Florida is a year-round destination of choice for many travelers—especially during the winter months when it is cold and dark in other parts of the country. However, Florida vacations may be spoiled when accidents occur on the premises of a resort or a hotel. These accidents, the most common of which include slip-and-fall accidents, can result in serious injuries and complications that may be permanent or lifelong.

Resort guests should expect that facilities at Florida hotels and resorts have been inspected regularly and that the premises are reasonably safe from all defects and dangers. This expectation also extends to attractions on the premises and to transportation provided by a Florida hotel or resort. Hotels and resorts have a legal duty to warn guests of known dangerous conditions on the premises and to protect guests from known hazards.

If you or someone you love has sustained serious personal injuries at a Florida hotel or resort, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under the law. A knowledgeable St. Petersburg resort injury lawyer can investigate a personal injury claim on your behalf and may be able to assist you with obtaining monetary compensation for all your injuries and damages.


Hazardous Areas and Conditions at Resorts and Hotels 


Hidden hazards are unfortunately all too common on resort and hotel premises. It is important for hotel and resort guests to keep their eyes open and be aware of common hazards on these properties:


  • Indoor and outdoor resort areas: Some of the most common hazards on resort properties include slippery floors and walkways and poor security in parking lots. Failing to place the proper warning signs and placards on the premises can result in a finding of liability on the part of the hotel or resort. 
  • Attractions and rides at the hotel or resort: When injuries occur on amusement rides and other attractions that are located on resort or hotel property, the resort or hotel can be held liable under the law. These dangers are usually the result of improper maintenance, and in some cases, poorly trained staff or ride supervisors. Even when independent contractors provide or operate these rides and attractions, the hotel or resort may still be held liable for hiring or retaining these independent contractors.  
  • Transportation provided by the resort: Hotels and resorts often provide ground transportation on buses, vans, and shuttles for the convenience of resort guests. Guests are typically transported from the resort to the airport and back on these shuttles or taken on resort-sponsored excursions. When these modes of transport are not properly inspected, repaired, or maintained in proper working order, the hotel or resort can be held legally liable for any resulting accidents and injuries.  



Proving Liability and Damages in Resort Injury Cases 


Florida resort injury cases can be difficult to prove because insurance companies will generally dispute liability every step of the way, or deny liability altogether. For example, the insurance company may claim that the hotel or resort was not aware of the dangerous condition or was not notified of the defect in a timely manner. The insurance company may even claim that the injured plaintiff caused or contributed to the accident and is not entitled to any monetary recovery.

The owners and operators of Florida hotels and resorts owe an affirmative duty to their guests to provide a safe, clean property that is free from known dangerous hazards. When hotel and resort owners breach this duty of care, they may be deemed liable for any injuries and damages that result.

In every Florida premises liability case, the injured person must demonstrate that the property owner or occupier owed a duty of care directly to the injured person and that a breach of this duty resulted in certain injuries and damages.


  • Duty of Care: The owner or occupier of hotel or resort property owes a legal duty of care to all resort guests who are present on the premises. Since a resort guest is on the premises to benefit the owner of the property, the guest is deemed a ‘business invitee’ under Florida law and is owed the highest duty of care. Premises owners and occupiers have a duty to warn business invitees of or correct known dangerous conditions on the premises—and to regularly inspect the premises for unknown dangerous conditions. 
  • Breach of the Duty of Care: This means that the hotel or resort owner violated the applicable duty of care, such as by failing to remove a spill from the floor or walkway in a timely manner or by failing to properly inspect or repair a broken railing or stairwell.  
  • Causation: The injured resort or hotel guest must be able to demonstrate that the hotel owner or operator’s breach of the applicable duty of care legally and proximately resulted in certain injuries and damages. 
  • Damages: Damages may consist of both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages can be calculated in terms of dollars and cents, while non-economic damages are more subjective in nature. 


Types of damages available to Florida personal injury plaintiffs in resort injury cases may include causally related medical bills and expenses (i.e., hospital, doctor, and physical therapy bills), lost wages and time missed from work, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, loss of spousal or family support, inconvenience, causally related mental health treatment, rehabilitation expenses, loss of quality or enjoyment of life, loss of medical or disability benefits, death benefits (where applicable), and punitive damages, in cases of egregious or grossly negligent conduct.

Contact a St. Petersburg Resort Injury Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Consultation 


Florida resort accidents and injuries can have serious and potentially lifelong impacts. The knowledgeable resort injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group may be able to help you obtain the monetary compensation you need and deserve under the law.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg resort injury lawyer, please call us at (727) 222-6922 today or contact us online.  

Dolman Law Group
1663 1St Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL33712
(727) 222-6922

https://www.dolmanlaw.com/st-petersburg-personal-injury-attorney/

Friday, September 29, 2017

How to Spot Roof Damage after Florida Hurricane

how to spot roof damage after florida hurricane

While high winds are what garners the news media’s attentions during hurricanes such as Irma, it can be far more subtle things that can lead to issues in your home.  As your largest investment probably of your lifetime, your home is the second priority, after family health, when thinking about hurricane damage. While a 2x4 going through a window is a scary thought, damage to one’s roof is a serious condition when dealing with storm damage.So how can you tell if your roof or ceiling was damaged by a storm or hurricane?

Inspect your Attic for Leaks

As the portion of your home most susceptible to damage during a storm sometimes from the street level you cannot tell everything that has happened to your roof. A small puncture may seem like something small, however during a rain storm it could lead to a lot of water entering your home. One good way to determine a hole is to go during peak time of the day to look for sunlight coming through your roof an into your crawl space or attic If you can see sunlight coming through, then water can get through also.

Signs of Leaks on Ceiling in House

Another easy way to tell if they has been leaking in your attic is to look at all the ceilings in your home. Most ceilings are painted white. Whether they are flat or popcorn, a leak in the roof will often show up as a discoloration in the ceiling color when it dries. It may not be a dark color, but if you see any discoloration you should reach out to a professional for further evaluation. Another way to see if the spot is from recent damage is to touch the spot with your fingers; make sure to use a steady ladder as many homes ceilings are 8 foot to 10 foot high. If you feel moisture on your fingers, there is a leak.

Beware of Mold

When inspecting your attic or your ceiling make sure to keep a nose out for mold. Especially in Florida, where the temperatures in October are still in the 90’s, any form of moisturecould spring mold growth. There are a myriad of health concerns with mold, especially black mold that will need a specialist to handle. If you catch it at the beginning, you can prevent the spread of mold in the areas you have it.

Look for Signs of Storm Damage on the Ground

You noticed in your yard a large tree that was hanging above your roof has fallen to the ground there is a good chance that it took the direct route of hitting your home before falling over to your yard. While tree branches look light, they are anything but. Especially in the Tampa Bay area, oaks are prevalent to fall during storms. An oaks branch can be hundreds of pounds and can do serious damage to your roof.

Look for Obvious Signs of Damage

It may seem obvious but if you have a giant branch still on your roof after the storm, you probably have roofing damage. You need to call a professional to come take a look at it fast for the reasons above.

Look for Hail Damage

As part of Hurricane Irma coverage, they did not report hail, however it does not mean that it did not happen. Usually hail damage looks like dimples in the roof or the siding of your home. To be safest the siding can be seen much easier, however if you are handy, with caution you can look at your roofing for dimples.

Don't Try to be a Mr or Mrs Fix it

As in everything in life you must know your limitations. If you are athletic and are capable of looking at your own roof, attic, and ceilings go ahead and look to assess damages. However, if you are not sure, do not put your health at risk. A fall from a roof is a much more costly hospital trip than some new shingles.

Call Your Insurance Company

Because there is no mandate to make certain things covered like car insurance, homeowner’s insurances vary greatly from company to company and from house to house. Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover things such as fire damage, roofing damage, and siding. Make sure to get a copy of your actual policy and not just take your insurance agents word for it.

What if they don’t pay?

While you would think that if you paid your bills every month your insurance company would be there for you when you needed them, this is not always, and most of the time not the facts we deal with at Dolman Law Group. Insurance companies underpay contractors all the time. So what do you do?

Florida Statute §627.428 is the mechanism used by lawyers to go after the insurance company when they choose not to pay properly.  It states: “627.428 (1) Upon the rendition of a judgment or decree by any of the courts of this state against an insurer and in favor of any named or omnibus insured or the named beneficiary under a policy or contract executed by the insurer, the trial court or, in the event of an appeal in which the insured or beneficiary prevails, the appellate court shall adjudge or decree against the insurer and in favor of the insured or beneficiary a reasonable sum as fees or compensation for the insured’s or beneficiary’s attorney prosecuting the suit in which the recovery is had.”

So what does that all mean? It means that if your attorney is successful the other side has to pay your legal fees.

Call Dolman Law Group

Based on Florida Statute §627.428 most attorneys, including Dolman Law Group, do not require any legal fees up front. Your attorney gets paid legal fees by the insurance company, only when they are successful in your claim. So do not worry about the cost of hiring an attorney.

Meaning, if your insurance company has underpaid your contractor bill for ANY AMOUNT, an attorney would have interest in getting that amount for you. This keeps the insurance companies honest and more likely to pay. So even if it is $100 underpaid, the insurance company should have paid that amount and Dolman Law Group will do everything to make sure you are justly compensated.

Call today and speak with an experienced attorney who deals with loss mitigation by either dialing 727-222-6922 or emailing Derek Bernstein Esq at Derek@dolmanlaw.com

By: Derek Bernstein Esq.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Settle By Yourself


Insurance companies don't keep their profits high by regularly paying large amounts on an injured person’s claim. They definitely don't pay out large amounts to people not willing to get representation. The fact is, insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible. Whether that means denying a claim, delaying a claim, or defending a claim (what we call the Three Ds), they are usually willing to try a few things out before they just pay a claimant money.

1. The Insurance Company Will Take Advantage of You

In order to keep their profits high and their payouts low, insurance companies are willing to do whatever it takes to meet these objectives. If that means telling you that an attorney is not necessary, the injuries that you sustained aren't severe enough, or that your claim is only worth $200, then they are willing to try whatever it takes.

They may also try other tactics to take advantage of claimants, like telling them they have to provide a recorded statement immediately. This is not true. But most people don't know that they have the right to tell the adjuster you need to speak with legal representation, and politely end the call. The insurance company is not above using scare tactics to frighten you into canceling your claim or into settling for a low-ball offer.

Educating your self is the best way to prevent these schemes from working. If you know your rights, how an insurance company works, and where to find respectable, experienced representation, then you are far less likely to be one of their easy 'deny, delay, defend' cases.

2. Insurance Companies Are Experienced and Well-Represented

If you have been injured due to someone else's negligence, there's a good chance that you have never been in this situation before. If you have, I'm willing to bet you could count the (unlucky) times on one hand. Insurance companies deal with hundred of accidents every day. If I was the claimant, reflecting on this one piece of information would be enough to make up my mind.

The point is insurance companies, and the people who work for them, have an extreme amount of experience dealing with injury claims. These carriers hone and train their employees into experienced adjusters that are skilled at minimizing and destroying claims. If a claim is particularly serious, the adjusters are trained to immediately send the case over to a special department where the powerhouse deniers work.
       
Insurance carriers also employ a wide range of attorneys and legal experts to help them navigate around payouts. These experienced professionals are experts at convincing clients that they don't need an attorney. The adjusters don't want someone that is knowledgeable and experienced fighting back. Instead, they will do everything they can to convince you to settle right then and there.

3. Claimants Typically Receive Higher Settlements When Represented

Studies have shown that, on average, a represented individual will get a higher settlement than a person who tries to resolve the claim on their own. This is because the insurance companies cannot take advantage of clients who have attorney representation.

When a serious claim is handled by the claimant, the insurance companies usually have no problem talking the person into taking a low amount for their injuries. The tactic goes something like this:
Injured person submits records of incident and injuries totaling $30,000. The insurance company says that they cannot pay for about two-thirds of the presented bill. So they will offer $10,000. The claimant asks for $20,000. The insurance company responds by saying they definitely can't pay that much, but they worked it out to get you an extra $1,000, bringing your total to $11,000.

If you had hired an attorney, not only would they not allow medical bills to be denied, but they will also find other parties responsible, other future damages you may not have taken into account, and damages like pain and suffering.

If you're thinking that the extra you win will just be eaten up by the attorney fees, consider this simple fact and simple math example.

On average, claimants who hire an attorney have settlements 3.5 times higher than those who go at it alone. Now consider this: if you got $10,000 on your own, you'd have $10,000. If you hired an attorney and got 3.5 times more, or $35,000 then you removed attorney fees (35,000 - 33%) then you would end up with $23,334. So not only would you get more than double, but the work was done for you.

4. Hiring an Attorney Can Protect You & Your Interests

An Insurance company will try to use anything and everything from your past in order discredit you as an injured victim. They might use a past accident, past injury, or pre-existing illness against you in order to try and minimize or deny your claim. Hiring an attorney to represent you will provide you access to an expert who can prove how your past injuries or symptoms differ or how the past injuries became more severe after the most recent incident.

Also, insurance companies will try and use your health insurance payments against you to argue that the medical bills are lower than they actually are. An experienced attorney can protect you from this tactic. You should not be penalized for having health insurance or any other type of plan designed to protect you in case of an emergency. If anything, it just shows you're a responsible citizen.

Another little known interest that an attorney can provide you with is access to reduced medical bills. Lots of people think that hospitals or doctors have set prices that are firm and cannot be changed. In fact, they are just like any other service provider; they can be negotiated with. Often, a good attorney will have a working relationship with the medical professionals in the area, making an amicable solution more likely.

Dolman Law Group    

If you or a loved on has been seriously injured, don't put your future into the opposing team's hand. Hire someone that is experienced to fight for your right for just compensation. You would never perform your own medical procedures. This same concept should apply to something as serious as you and your family's financial future. Hire someone who knows exactly what they are doing and has your best interest.

At Dolman Law, we understand that you are going through a tough time. A personal injury causes many unexpected worries and stresses. We are here to help you. If you or a loved one has been in an accident, call today for a free case evaluation. Our experienced attorneys will be happy to review your case and answer any questions you may have. Call us today at 727-222-6922  

Dolman Law Group
1663 1St Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL33712
(727) 222-6922

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hurricane Damages: Is your insurance paying for it?


As a native Floridian, I have lived through so many storms I can’t even count them all. From Hurricane Charlie to Andrew, and Ivan to Hurricane Irma, the State of Florida has taken its fair share of beatings. While the most important thing to us all during a storm is the health and wellness of our families; the second most important, and the largest investment most Floridians will make in their lives, are their homes.

What do I do if my home is damaged by a storm?

If your home is mortgaged, and let’s be honest, most people do not own their home free and clear, you are required by your lender to have home owner’s insurance.  When your home is damaged, depending on circumstances to be discussed later, you should file an insurance claim with them to cover the damages from the storm.

What is homeowner’s insurance?

Home owners insurance is an insurance policy, similar to your car insurance. Unlike your car insurance, which only protects against crashes and other obscure damage, your homeowner’s insurance policy can cover a lot of different things. 

It can include your roof, your siding, fire, damage from fallen trees, damage to secondary structures, personal property damage, and the list goes on. Your individual insurance policy needs to be reviewed to see exactly what your policy actually covers. Because there is no mandate to make certain things covered, like with car insurance, homeowner’s insurances vary greatly from company to company and from house to house.


Does the homeowner’s policy cover flood?

In most cases, if your home is not in a flood zone and your lender did not require you to purchase flood insurance, you likely you don't possess flood insurance. However, a review of your policy by an attorney at Dolman Law Group can let you know if it does indeed cover flood damage. If you have flood damage, and did not have it on your policy beforehand, you cannot add it to cover the damages. 

Likewise, it should be noted that you cannot add flood insurance right before a major impending catastrophe also. For example, if a hurricane is heading toward your area, you probably cannot add flood insurance in order to be covered for potential flooding. Insurance companies prevent this by placing a waiting period, usually 30 days, on any purchased policies. This is for a simple reason, carriers like you to pay them for a while before they pay you. 

It is also worth mentioning that more hurricanes are coming and we, in Florida, are not out of the woods yet. For this reason, it may be smart to consider purchasing flood insurance, if this is something you're concerned about. With Hurricane Maria on her way, and more likely to follow, this is worth considering. 

What is a deductible?

A deductible is a specified amount of money that the insured (you) must pay before an insurance company will pay a claim.

There may be different deductibles for different portions of the homeowner’s policy as well. This means you could have a deductible for the roof and a separate deductible for hurricane damage. A review of your policy by an attorney at Dolman Law Group will let you know what your deductibles are. When choosing a policy, you most likely were given an option as to what your deductible will be. In essence, the lower your deductible was the higher your monthly payment would be for that particular coverage.

As an example, if you have a $1000 deductible on your roofing repair and the cost of fixing the roof would be $8000, you would have to first pay the $1000 then your insurance company would pay to repair the remaining $7000 (hopefully).

What is an assignment of benefits?

An assignment of benefits is a legal document that you, as the insured, are executing with a contractor to sign over your rights to a lawsuit in the event that your insurance company does not pay properly. What this means is that if your claim is not paid by the insurance company you do not have to pay the difference to the contractor. Instead, they must sue the insurance company to be paid.

What if my bill is not paid by the insurance company? Or, What if it's underpaid?

While you might think that if you pay your insurance premium every month your insurance company will be there for you when you needed them, this is not always the case. In fact, this is an all too common occurrence and something we deal with on a regular basis at Dolman Law Group. Insurance companies deny legitimate claims and underpay contractors all the time. So what do you do?

Florida Statute §627.428 is the mechanism used by lawyers to go after the insurance company when they choose not to pay properly.  It states in 627.428 (1): 

"Upon the rendition of a judgment or decree by any of the courts of this state against an insurer and in favor of any named or omnibus insured or the named beneficiary under a policy or contract executed by the insurer, the trial court or, in the event of an appeal in which the insured or beneficiary prevails, the appellate court shall adjudge or decree against the insurer and in favor of the insured or beneficiary a reasonable sum as fees or compensation for the insured’s or beneficiary’s attorney prosecuting the suit in which the recovery is had.”

So what does that all mean? 

It means that if your attorney is successful in proving to the court that an insurance company denied a legitimate claim or underpaid a claim, the other party (insurance carrier) has to pay your legal fees, and of course for the damage.

What if I cannot afford to hire an attorney?

Because Florida Statute §627.428 awards attorney fees to prevailing parties, most attorneys, including Dolman Law Group, do not require any legal fees up front. Your attorney gets paid legal fees by the insurance company, only when they are successful in your claim. This is known as a contingency fee. So don't worry about the cost of hiring an attorney. 


Think about it this way: if your insurance company has underpaid your contractor bill by any amount, an attorney would have interest in getting that amount for you because the insurance company will have to pay the fees. This keeps the insurance companies honest and more likely to fairly pay on legitimate claims. 

So, even if the bill was underpaid by $100, the issue is worth pursuing. The fact is, the insurance company should have paid the correct and fair amount. At Dolman Law Group, we will do everything to make sure you are justly compensated. After all, you pay your bill on-time every month, so when you need the insurance company, they better be there to help you out.

Call today and speak with an experienced attorney who deals with loss mitigation by calling 727-222-6922 or by emailing Derek Bernstein Esq at Derek@dolmanlaw.com

By: Derek Bernstein Esq.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Car Accident: Know Your Basic Rights

Basic Rights after Car Accident - Dolman Law Group

Car accidents aren't something the average person tends to think about very often. And if they do, they usually give very little consideration to what rights they may or may not have after the event. This article will go over the basic rights that every person should know if they operate a motor vehicle. 

When you are in a car accident, there are rights which you have by law. There are two basic rights that almost everyone inutively knows: the right to be restore yourself and your property; and the right to recover damages.

The most obvious, and important, of these two is the right for you (the driver) to be put back in the condition you were in before the accident occurred. This of course includes any medical treatments and surgeries, but may include a few surprising things that we'll cover below. The second part of number one is the right to restore your property. Oftentimes this means your repairing your vehicle.

The second intuitive right is the right to recover your damages from the accident. Everyone has seen the huge billboards with a happy couple and a big check. But these billboards often leave out the crippling and/or painful injuries these people would have suffered in order to get a large sum of money. However, it is obviously important to be compensated for any damages you sustain, whether it's for the cost of treating your injuries, lost income, or compensation for a dramatically changed or damaged daily life. 

Other Basic Rights:

  • A reasonable and equitable market replacement value of your automobile, if it's totaled.
  • Have your vehicle repaired if it's not totaled. 
  • Have any other personal property which had been damaged or destroyed in the accident repaired or replaced.
  • Use of a rental car while your automobile is being repaired.
  • To recover any lost wages or loss of earning capacity which might have resulted from the automobile accident.
  • The very best medical care available.
  • Compensation for any undue physical or mental stress, or any inconvenience which the accident caused.
  • Equitable settlement for permanent disabilities which resulted from the automobile accident.
  • Receive payment for your diminished ability to effectively interact socially with loved ones and friends.
  • Choose the very best facilities to repair your automobile and to choose which medical professionals will attend to your personal injuries.
  • Be assured that all passengers in your automobile will also receive the same high quality of care.
  • Be compensated for any pain and suffering, or any consequential damages caused by the accident.
  • Be compensated if your injuries are temporary OR permanent; and for any disfigurement resulting from the accident.
  • Be represented by the very best professional personal injury lawyer of your choice, to make sure that all of your rights are protected and that you have adequate representation in dealing with the insurance companies.
  • Receive a fair and just settlement from the involved insurance companies to pay for your damages in a timely manner.
  • To speak to an attorney before giving a statement or talking to any insurance adjuster. If they call, tell them you want to delay your statement until you talk to an attorney. This is important. Adjusters may trick you into saying something you shouldn't or you may say innocently say something that can be turned against you later. 


Of course, just because you have a right to these things does not mean things will always work out this way. For example, an insurance company may make a great offer that doesn't fit everything (but comes reasonably close); or you may go to court and a jury finds that you deserve far less than you think you deserve. But the important part is understanding that you do have a right to compensation, to be made whole, and to be represented by a competent attorney or firm.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to another person’s negligence there are so many questions to be answered: Will I be okay? How much everything is going to cost? How will it all be paid? How long will this take? And many, many more. Knowing that you have these rights may help to alleviate some of your initial anxiety, and it will definitely put you into a mindset of regaining what you lost. 

If someone was negligent, and they caused another person serious injuries and pain, they and their insurance company deserve to pay. It's fair, it's reasonable, and it's the law. 

St Pete Car Accident Attorneys - Dolman Law Group

At Dolman Law Group, we understand that you may be having a difficult time dealing with the aftermath of a car accident. Being in a car crash there are many worries that are now put upon you. We are here to take one less thing off of your shoulders. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, call today for a free case evaluation. We have many experienced attorney’s that will go over your case and answer any questions or concerns you may have. 
Call today at 727-222-6922    


St. Petersburg, FL33712
(727) 222-6922