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Genelle Balough
Worked at Dolman Law Group
Lived in Clearwater, FL
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Genelle Balough

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Should I Call A Lawyer Referral Service to Find an Injury Attorney?

If you have sustained physical injuries in a Florida auto accident, lawyer referral services may appear to be an attractive option.  In the Tampa Bay area, advertisements for 411-Pain and 1-800-Ask-Gary run all day long on local radio.  When you think of a referral service, a company like Angie’s List probably comes to mind.  Many referral services in differing lines of business assist prospective consumers in finding the best available option based on quality.  The quality of services offered by each company, is often determined by consumer and peer reviews. 

Lawyer referral services in the State of Florida offer no such assurances.  In fact attorneys or law firms registered with 411-Pain or 1-800-Ask Gary possess no special qualities or abilities that separate them from their peers who have opted not to be associated with a referral service. In fact, 411-Pain was sued by the Attorney General’s Office for the State of Florida for several practices that were deemed misrepresentations to auto accidents.  http://motorcyclecrashflorida.com/dolman-law-blog/view/5-411-pain-agrees-to-settlement-with-attorney-general.html

#lawyerreferralservice   #lawyermarketing   #personalinjury   #caraccident  
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411-Pain Advertisement Insults Auto Accident Victims

As a plaintiff attorney, I already deal with a number of obstacles.  The persistent drumbeat of tort reform has served to alter the climate here in Florida and many consumers already resent injury law attorneys.  Jurors are less sympathetic towards injuries victims than ever before. Lobbyists for large insurance carriers dump boatloads of money in a campaign to convince consumers that personal injury lawyers and accident victims serve little purpose other than to raise insurance premiums and drive up the cost of healthcare. 

It doesn’t help much when you turn on the radio and a lawyer referral service airs a jingle that makes a mockery out of personal injury claims.  In fact, a new radio commercial generated by 411-Pain cements many of the worst generalizations that people have for the profession and accident victims themselves.  Consider the following lyrics:

“Your car or truck got hit, If you get in an accident, Your car or truck got hit, Just do it, do it, do it, do it, Call us now, don't be lame, Call us now 411 PAIN, Right now, don't be lame, 1-800-411-PAIN, My neck, my back, My car just got smacked, My neck, my back, My windshield just got cracked. Call from home, hospital or accident scene...Remember...After 911, call 411, 1-800-411-PAIN, 1-800-411-PAIN, 1-800-411-PAIN, 1 800 411 PAIN, My neck, my back, My car just got smacked, My neck, my back, My windshield just got cracked, Just do it, do it, do it do it call us now, 1-800-411-PAIN”
(Click on the article below for more information)

#Florida   #personalinjury   #injurylaw   #lawyerref  
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Florida PIP: A Breakdown of the Amended No-Fault Statute

Florida’s new Personal Injury Protection (PIP) statute also known as HB-119, went into effect on January 1, 2013. What does the new 2013 PIP statute mean to you as a consumer? How has the no-fault statute changed as compared to its previous version?
 
We now have seen the infinite wisdom of the Florida legislature manifest in an arbitrary fourteen (14) day period in which an auto accident victim must commence treatment or they are ineligible for PIP benefits going forward.  Further,  the new 2013 PIP statute states that unless the auto accident victim has sustained an Emergency Medical Condition, only $2500.00 on no-fault benefits will be applicable in contrast to the $10,000.00 that was available prior to the recent legislation. 
 
Emergency Medical Condition (hereinafter referred to as “EMC”) is defined in the 2013 PIP statute as "a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in: a.) serious impairment to bodily functions, b.) serious jeopardy to the patient’s health or c.)serious dysfunction to any bodily organ.  This determination must also be made within fourteen (14) days following the accident.  
 
This is a vaguely and poorly written statute.  It is difficult to determine what is truly an EMC based on the language of the 2013 PIP statute.  Does a herniation with clinical correlation result in an EMC?  How about significant whiplash resulting in substantial ligament injuries to the cervical spine? (Read more)

#Florida   #insurance   #law   #PIP   #personalinjuryprotection   
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This is a good article that explains insurance coverages; some people don't understand what they are purchasing.
 
What Amounts Should I Carry on my Insurance Policy?

As a Florida Injury Law Attorney, I am often asked by clients; what is the proper amount of insurance to have and what types of coverage should be on an automobile policy. In Florida, it is mandatory for every driver with a registered vehicle to have liability insurance coverage should they ever be involved in an automobile accident. Also in the state of Florida, all insurance policies must be issued through a Florida agent with an insurance company licensed to sell insuranin Florida. Drivers may not n maintain their current policy issued in their previous state of residence.

Below are the minimum requirements for car insurance in Florida: 1. You must carry $10,000.00 worth of property damage coverage to pay for the other party’s car repairs if you were at fault (this does not include costs for your own auto damage if you were the party at fault). 2. You must also carry $10,000.00 worth of personal injury protection (PIP) to pay for the first $10,000.00 of your medical bills and lost wages (Florida is a no-fault state and your own insurance company must pay 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages up to $10,000). That is it. Nothing else is required in Florida to hop behind the wheel and drive down the road. If that isn't frightening enough, more than 50% of people driving on the road today only carry this minimal insurance policy and some may not have any insurance at all, meaning they are driving illegally (according to statistics, approximately 23% of drivers are on the road without any insurance at all and the number is steadily rising). Arming yourself with adequate insurance coverage is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself in the event of an accident. Here are Dolman Law Group’s recommendations on what insurance you need to sufficiently protect yourself: Purchase Collision Insurance on your auto policy. If you lack collision insurance, you will have to pay out of pocket to repair or replace your vehicle if:
The damage to your car is quoted to be more than $10,000
The at fault party is driving illegally with no insurance
You were responsible for the accident
Purchase GAP Insurance to protect yourself in the event your car is worth less than the amount of your bank loan, which is termed being upside down on a loan. If you don't have GAP insurance you will have to pay the difference out of your own pocket if:
Your car is totaled and you owe more to the bank than the car is actually worth
Purchase Extended Personal Injury Protection (PIP) ($50,000 to $100,000 is our recommended minimum) to protect yourself if:
Your medical bills and lost wages are more than $10,000. Remember: $10,000 in PIP coverage may be exhausted before you even leave the ER
You have severe injuries. It may take a while for your case to settle or be tried and this will help you get through the financially rough times.
Purchase Medical Payment Coverage ($5,000 recommended minimum) to protect yourself for the following reason:
To cover the percentage that PIP does not pay (PIP only covers 80% of medical bills you are responsible for the remaining 20% of medical bills) and more.
Purchase Bodily Injury Liability (BI) ($100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident recommended, or more if you have substantial assets) coverage to protect yourself if:
You were at fault in an accident and caused serious injury (this will protect your personal assets).
You need to purchase UM coverage and in order to be eligible to get UM coverage you must first have BI.
You need to purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM) ($100,000/$300,000 recommended minimum and make sure to get "stacked" coverage if you have more than one car) to protect yourself if:
The at-fault party has minimal or no liability insurance and your case is worth more than the amount of insurance the other person has. (For example: If you have a $100,000 case and the other person only has $10,000 of liability insurance, you can collect the remainder due to you from your own insurance company if you have at least $90,000 of UM insurance.)
We recommend that you purchase "Stacked" UM if you have two or more vehicles on the same insurance policy. One is eligible to get additional UM or "stacked coverage" at a reduced cost. (For example: If you have 3 cars on the same policy each with $100,000 BI, you can purchase up to $300,000 of stacked UM coverage for a very small additional premium and greatly expand the protection to you and your family)
This allows for a lot more insurance coverage at a very low cost
 Other insurance factors you need to know about: If you have health insurance it will take effect after PIP has been used up or "exhausted" to pay your medical bills and it may also account for the 20% of medical bills not covered by PIP. However, Please be aware of two things: 1. When your health insurance kicks in, you may be stuck with an expensive co-pay depending on your policy. 2. After your case is settled, your health insurance company may go after a portion of your settlement to cover what they have spent on your medical bills. Only an experienced lawyer knows what the health insurance company is entitled to and how to negotiate with them. Just because you have planned accordingly and purchased the UM coverage with your insurance carrier (even if you have been a loyal customer for 25 years), this does not necessarily mean the insurance company will simply part with their money. Most likely you will need to retain an attorney in severe injury cases in order to get a fair cut from your own insurance carrier. However, at least with UM coverage you can go after an insurance company who has plenty of funds, rather than some deadbeat driver with minimal or no insurance coverage.

Final Tips:

All of these insurance coverage recommendations may sound expensive, but you will be relieved to find out it costs a lot less than you probably think, especially if you have a clean driving record. We suggest you avoid the so called "low cost", "we insure anyone" insurance carriers, and research competitive pricing from the major, well-known companies. Remember, bodily injury insurance protects others (strangers) who are injured in the accident. UIM  (uninsured/underinsured) insurance coverage protects you, your family and anyone else who was injured while in your automobile. It irks us to see an insurance policy with $100,000 worth of BI coverage and no UIM protection. In my opinion this should be considered negligence by the insurance agent or carrier. Why would anyone choose to protect strangers and not themselves and their family? If you have any questions concerning the advice we have provided and would like to consult with a Florida injury law attorney, call us today at: (727) 451-6900 for a free consultation and case evaluation.  

#Florida   #Insurance   #autoinsurance   #personalinjury  
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Genelle Balough

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What Amounts Should I Carry on my Insurance Policy?

As a Florida Injury Law Attorney, I am often asked by clients; what is the proper amount of insurance to have and what types of coverage should be on an automobile policy. In Florida, it is mandatory for every driver with a registered vehicle to have liability insurance coverage should they ever be involved in an automobile accident. Also in the state of Florida, all insurance policies must be issued through a Florida agent with an insurance company licensed to sell insuranin Florida. Drivers may not n maintain their current policy issued in their previous state of residence.

Below are the minimum requirements for car insurance in Florida: 1. You must carry $10,000.00 worth of property damage coverage to pay for the other party’s car repairs if you were at fault (this does not include costs for your own auto damage if you were the party at fault). 2. You must also carry $10,000.00 worth of personal injury protection (PIP) to pay for the first $10,000.00 of your medical bills and lost wages (Florida is a no-fault state and your own insurance company must pay 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages up to $10,000). That is it. Nothing else is required in Florida to hop behind the wheel and drive down the road. If that isn't frightening enough, more than 50% of people driving on the road today only carry this minimal insurance policy and some may not have any insurance at all, meaning they are driving illegally (according to statistics, approximately 23% of drivers are on the road without any insurance at all and the number is steadily rising). Arming yourself with adequate insurance coverage is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself in the event of an accident. Here are Dolman Law Group’s recommendations on what insurance you need to sufficiently protect yourself: Purchase Collision Insurance on your auto policy. If you lack collision insurance, you will have to pay out of pocket to repair or replace your vehicle if:
The damage to your car is quoted to be more than $10,000
The at fault party is driving illegally with no insurance
You were responsible for the accident
Purchase GAP Insurance to protect yourself in the event your car is worth less than the amount of your bank loan, which is termed being upside down on a loan. If you don't have GAP insurance you will have to pay the difference out of your own pocket if:
Your car is totaled and you owe more to the bank than the car is actually worth
Purchase Extended Personal Injury Protection (PIP) ($50,000 to $100,000 is our recommended minimum) to protect yourself if:
Your medical bills and lost wages are more than $10,000. Remember: $10,000 in PIP coverage may be exhausted before you even leave the ER
You have severe injuries. It may take a while for your case to settle or be tried and this will help you get through the financially rough times.
Purchase Medical Payment Coverage ($5,000 recommended minimum) to protect yourself for the following reason:
To cover the percentage that PIP does not pay (PIP only covers 80% of medical bills you are responsible for the remaining 20% of medical bills) and more.
Purchase Bodily Injury Liability (BI) ($100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident recommended, or more if you have substantial assets) coverage to protect yourself if:
You were at fault in an accident and caused serious injury (this will protect your personal assets).
You need to purchase UM coverage and in order to be eligible to get UM coverage you must first have BI.
You need to purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM) ($100,000/$300,000 recommended minimum and make sure to get "stacked" coverage if you have more than one car) to protect yourself if:
The at-fault party has minimal or no liability insurance and your case is worth more than the amount of insurance the other person has. (For example: If you have a $100,000 case and the other person only has $10,000 of liability insurance, you can collect the remainder due to you from your own insurance company if you have at least $90,000 of UM insurance.)
We recommend that you purchase "Stacked" UM if you have two or more vehicles on the same insurance policy. One is eligible to get additional UM or "stacked coverage" at a reduced cost. (For example: If you have 3 cars on the same policy each with $100,000 BI, you can purchase up to $300,000 of stacked UM coverage for a very small additional premium and greatly expand the protection to you and your family)
This allows for a lot more insurance coverage at a very low cost
 Other insurance factors you need to know about: If you have health insurance it will take effect after PIP has been used up or "exhausted" to pay your medical bills and it may also account for the 20% of medical bills not covered by PIP. However, Please be aware of two things: 1. When your health insurance kicks in, you may be stuck with an expensive co-pay depending on your policy. 2. After your case is settled, your health insurance company may go after a portion of your settlement to cover what they have spent on your medical bills. Only an experienced lawyer knows what the health insurance company is entitled to and how to negotiate with them. Just because you have planned accordingly and purchased the UM coverage with your insurance carrier (even if you have been a loyal customer for 25 years), this does not necessarily mean the insurance company will simply part with their money. Most likely you will need to retain an attorney in severe injury cases in order to get a fair cut from your own insurance carrier. However, at least with UM coverage you can go after an insurance company who has plenty of funds, rather than some deadbeat driver with minimal or no insurance coverage.

Final Tips:

All of these insurance coverage recommendations may sound expensive, but you will be relieved to find out it costs a lot less than you probably think, especially if you have a clean driving record. We suggest you avoid the so called "low cost", "we insure anyone" insurance carriers, and research competitive pricing from the major, well-known companies. Remember, bodily injury insurance protects others (strangers) who are injured in the accident. UIM  (uninsured/underinsured) insurance coverage protects you, your family and anyone else who was injured while in your automobile. It irks us to see an insurance policy with $100,000 worth of BI coverage and no UIM protection. In my opinion this should be considered negligence by the insurance agent or carrier. Why would anyone choose to protect strangers and not themselves and their family? If you have any questions concerning the advice we have provided and would like to consult with a Florida injury law attorney, call us today at: (727) 451-6900 for a free consultation and case evaluation.  

#Florida   #Insurance   #autoinsurance   #personalinjury  
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Genelle Balough

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State Farm Reports Profits of $3.2 Billion While Lowballing Claims in Florida

Is State Farm truly the good neighbor they pretend to be in their commercials? Ed Rust, the CEO of State Farm has seen a healthy increase of his compensation to the tune of $9.64 million.  State Farm’s profits have quadrupled over the past year from $800 million to $3.2 billion since 2011.  Interestingly enough, State Farm has utilized a new strategy over the past year in defending auto claims statewide in Florida. 

#Florida   #Statefarm   #Insurance  
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My newest article, and one that covers a very scary topic in Florida Law. 
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Do I Really Need to Treat Within 14 Days of my Accident?

Check out my new video.  I explain in detail about this important detail that has been misrepresented by #lawyerreferralservices  in a number of commercials airing throughout #Florida  ....  

TO ALL MY GOOGLE+ FRIENDS,  PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO.

#personalinjury   #autoaccident   #Tampa   #stpetersburg  
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After Katzman, Florida Insurance Carriers and More Aggressive Discovery

What’s good for goose is good for the gander.  Its an old adage but at least one Florida Court has opined that additional discovery will be allowed by powerful insurance carriers against plaintiff attorneys and the doctors that treat our clients.  The question may be why?  Why would the insurance companies care about the extent of the relationship between a treating physician and the plaintiff attorney I will attempt to bring out the why.  We must first examine the relevant caselaw

In Syken v. Elkins, 644 So.2d 539 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1994), Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal established guidelines for the taking of discovery from an expert medical witness concerning the probability he was biased in favor of the party upon whose behalf he was retained. On appeal, the Florida Supreme Court approved and adopted the Third District’s holding.”  Crable at 26.

The court said the decision “strikes a reasonable balance between a party’s need for information concerning an expert witness’s potential bias and the witness’s right to be free from burdensome and intrusive production requests.” Id. at 522. The holding in Elkins was limited to medical experts. The court subsequently enacted Rule 1.280(b)(4)(A)(iii) which extended its decision to all experts. Both the decision and the Rule attempt to balance a party’s need for information against the burden, annoyance and embarrassment production may cause the expert witness. They also speak to the courts’ concerns that in the absence of reasonable limits, qualified experts may be unwilling to participate in the judicial process and discovery may become unnecessarily and unduly expensive.
 (Read More)

#Florida   #insurance   #autoinsurance   #personalinjury  
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Genelle Balough

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Is Todd M.J. Schnitt Wasting More of the Judicial Economy

When I was in elementary school, I remember a fellow kid who often cried if you even looked at him the wrong way.  Every Wednesday during “share time” I would often try to play with his WWF figurines, and he did not get it.  Would a reasonable person infer that Todd “MJ” Schnitt is similar in nature.  He has been depicted in the days following the trial as a sore loser who is attempting to strike at anyone and everyone.  Meanwhile the joke seems to be on the taxpayer’s as this issue continues to waste the judicial economy. 


#tampa   #bubbathelovesponge   #bubbavsmj   #florida  
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I have known Bill Lewis both personally and professionally since 2001. As a former employee of his company, I have seen the results of Bill's work on countless clients' consumer credit profiles. The credit score changes are amazing. I had an issue that he helped me with and he was able to get the erroneous item removed from my credit report and a suit was filed against the collection agency. I won a small settlement from it. What I learned while working at what used to be known as "CRC" has helped me in my career as a paralegal while dealing with medical bills for clients and in my personal life when purchasing a home. He is extremely knowledgeable and well-versed in all of the current changes that go on in the industry. He is always at work, coffee in hand, ready to go to bat for his clients. I would recommend Bill's credit repair services to anyone. He has truly been a tremendous help to me over the years. If you need help in this area, Bill is the man to call.
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