What is Property Damage Liability Coverage?

Property damage liability coverage takes effect when your vehicle is involved in an accident and found at least partially at fault for causing damage to another person’s property.

Property damage liability coverage is the part of your insurance policy that pays for the costs associated with repairing or replacing another person’s property. This typically means damage to another individuals car, but it could apply to any other type of property you damage in an accident.

The claiming process begins when you file a property damage claim with the liable party’s insurance company. Unlike personal injury claims, which can take weeks or months, property damage claims are simpler to prove, and can be settled much faster.

How can deductibles affect your insurance claim? A deductible is the amount of the loss you must pay from your own pocket before your insurer will pay anything. For instance, assume that you backed into a building and your car repairs will cost $2,500. If your collision coverage has a $1,000 deductible, your insurer will only pay $1,500. You must pay the remaining $1,000 yourself. If your repairs will cost $700, your insurer will pay nothing because the repairs are less than the amount of your deductible.

A vehicle damage claim can normally be handled quite quickly. Your actions after the accident can help bring a prompt and fair settlement, and get you back in your car as soon as possible.

Your property damage liability limit is a dollar amount that represents the maximum amount of property damage your insurance policy will cover. Exactly what your liability insurance covers varies according to you policy and amount of coverage.

Do you want a FREE evaluation of your insurance coverage?  Obtain a copy of your current policy and call McGRATH GIBSON today for a free check-up on your insurance at 904- 358-3300.

Hyundai and Kia Recall 1.2 Million Vehicles

Hyundai and Kia are recalling nearly 1.2 million cars and SUVs because the engines can fail and stall, increasing the risk of a crash.

The recall covers the Korean automakers’ most popular models including 2013 and 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport SUVs and Sonata midsize cars. Also covered are Kia Optima midsize cars from 2011 through 2014, Kia Sportage SUVs from 2011 through 2013 and Kia Sorento SUVs from 2012 through 2014.

The companies say that debris left from manufacturing can restrict oil flow to connecting rod bearings. That can increase temperatures and cause the bearings to wear and fail.

Hyundai and Kia will notify owners and dealers will inspect the engines. They’ll replace the block if needed at no cost. The recall is scheduled to start on May 19.

If you have any questions about your legal rights involving product liability accidents, manufacture recalls, or injuries caused by defective consumer goods, contact McGRATH GIBSON today at 904-358-3300.

Slip and Fall Accidents.

Slip and fall accidents are a claim or case based on a person slipping (or tripping) and falling. It is a tort based on a claim that the property owner was negligent in allowing some dangerous condition to exist that caused the fall.

Slip and fall incidents can happen in seconds but the ramifications resulting from their injuries can last a lifetime.

Evidence from a slip and fall incident must be gathered and preserved as soon as possible. Unlike a car accident, police do not typically respond to the scene of a slip and fall incident. The only record of the slip and fall incident often becomes the store manager’s or property manager’s report of the accident. This of course is often skewed to favor the property owner or occupier.

Your case will depend heavily on this evidence including: 

  • Your statement
  • Witness statements
  • Photographs
  • The report completed by the owner, occupier or manager of the property

Insurance carriers will often contact the victim directly with questions about the slip and fall incident. It is highly recommended that you do not directly communicate with the insurance company of the property owner or occupier and allow your attorney to handle these calls or be present. Our experience will protect the actual facts and reasons you slipped and fell, and prevent the insurance company from complicating the incident.

The attorneys at McGRATH GIBSON are an experienced group of Jacksonville slip and fall lawyers. We have represented hundreds of slip and fall victims and possess the experience needed in these types of accident claims.

Whatever the circumstances of your injury, it is advisable to gain experienced legal counsel as soon as possible after your accident. Call our personal injury lawyers for a free case evaluation at (904) 358-3300. 

Holiday Travel Tips to Avoid Illness

The holidays are quickly approaching and for some individuals that means they are planning on traveling. Whether you go by plane, car, bus or train you are joined by a few million companions called germs.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are traveling this holiday season to avoid getting sick.

1.  Stay Hydrated

Commercial airplanes have very low humidity, which can lead to dried up mucus membrane. Drinking water keeps the mucus membranes in the nose and throat moist and better equipped to fight germs.

Dehydration makes it easier to pick up illness and drinking alcohol contributes to dehydration. Avoid alcohol on the plane and even the day before you fly. Drink a bottle of water before you get on the flight, so you start your traveling well hydrated. If you don’t like buying bottled water, carry an empty water bottle through security and fill it as soon as you’re through.

2.  Sanitize Often

The surfaces you come in contact with in an airport, bus station, or train station have been exposed to all sorts of germs, from all sorts of places. It’s a lot for your immune system to handle, so make sure you regularly wash your hands especially before touching your eyes or nose because of how easily germs can be transmitted.

Bring disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer with you!

3.  Beware of your Fellow Passengers

Try to avoid sitting next to someone with heavy perfume as exposure to chemicals increases vulnerability to infection. Breathe out if you are in the company of someone sneezing or coughing.

4.  Use your Vent

If you have an air vent to yourself, try to angle it so that the air is coming straight down in front of your face. This can help divert germs and bacteria away from your face

5.  Get SLEEP!

Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can be linked to sickness, whether you’re trying to avoid it or recover from being sick. You should make sure you are getting the proper amount of sleep to stay healthy (generally 7-8 hours per night).

Remember these 5 easy tips to keep you and your family members healthy this holiday season. 

Happy Holidays and Safe Travels! 

McGRATH GIBSON specializes in personal injury and family law representation throughout Florida. If you or a family member has been injured as the result of an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and other damages. If you need a lawyer for a family law matter such as divorce, child custody or alimony, or to prepare a will or prenuptial agreement, our attorneys have the experience to properly represent your interests and protect your rights. Contact our offices to speak directly with an attorney at 904-358-3300.

We are available 24 hours a day to meet your busy schedule!



Rules on Driving when Encountering a School Bus.

Under Florida Statute 316.172, any person using, operating, or driving a vehicle on or over the roads or highways in the state of Florida shall, upon approaching any school bus which displays a stop signal, bring the vehicle to a full stop while the bus is stopped. The vehicle cannot pass the school bus until the signal has been withdrawn. If an individual violates this section of the Florida Statute, they commit a moving violation.

Here are some Motorist and School Bus Safety Tips:

  • All drivers moving in either direction on a two-way street must stop for a school bus displaying a stop signal, and must remain stopped until the road is clear of children AND the school bus stop arm is withdrawn.
  • On a highway divided by a paved median, all drivers moving in either direction must stop for a school bus displaying a stop signal, and must remain stopped until the road is clear of children AND the school bus stop arm is withdrawn.
  • On a highway divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least 5 feet wide, drivers moving in the opposite direction do not have to stop for the bus (painted lines or pavement markings are not considered barriers). However, these motorists should slow down and watch for students loading or unloading from the bus.
  • Be alert and watch for children especially near schools, bus stops, school buses and in school parking lots.
  • Pay extra attention to lower speed limits in school zones.
  • Watch for and obey signals from school crossing guards.
  • Only drive or park in authorized areas to drop off or pick up children at school.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident please contact a lawyer immediately to protect your legal rights.  Personal Injury Clients always receive a free consultation.

Contact McGRATH GIBSON today at 904- 358-3300.

Halloween Safety Tips.

Halloween is just around the corner! This is an exciting and celebratory time for individuals of all ages. Throughout the month of October there are Halloween parties, dress up opportunities and sugar overload.

Along with the excitement of the season, it is important to be aware of certain safety precautions so that individuals do not find themselves in dangerous situations.

Here are helpful safety tips for individuals on Halloween:

When Crossing the Street on Halloween:

  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
  • Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to
    the left as possible.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

For Children Trick-or-Treating:

  • Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
  • Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct an individuals vision.
  • Carry glow sticks or flashlights to help one see and be seen by drivers.
  • When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.

Drive Extra Safely on Halloween:

  • Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals. Drive at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit to give yourself extra time to react to individuals who may dart into the street.
  • Take extra time to look for people at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  • Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  • Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible – even in the daylight.
  • Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of an accident, take advantage now of the experience and resources of one of Jacksonville’s leading personal injury law firms. Contact McGRATH GIBSON for a free case evaluation at (904) 358-3300.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Lets say you’re involved in an automobile accident in which the other driver is at fault; it’s safe to assume that the at-fault driver’s car insurance will pay for the damages right? Not exactly, because if the individual who caused the accident has only the Florida State Required Minimum liability coverage, it will not cover your medical damages.

According to the Insurance Research Council, 1 out of every 8 drivers in the United States is currently uninsured.  However, this statistic does not take into account the fact that some legally insured drivers still do not have adequate Bodily Injury coverage.  Unlike most states, Florida law doesn’t require owners of motor vehicles to maintain Bodily Injury insurance coverage to pay when there is an accident causing injury to another driver, passenger or pedestrian. This can consequently result in significant costs that are not covered by a basic insurance policy.  How can you protect yourself and your family?  Tell your insurance agent you want to purchase Uninsured Motorist Coverage.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage is a type of auto insurance coverage that helps protect YOU in the event that you’re involved in an accident with a motor vehicle driven by someone without liability insurance. In addition, it can provide compensation for you when your damages exceed the bodily injury coverage in place for the at-fault driver, i.e. an under-insured motorist.  It covers you and your passengers for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future earning capacity

Purchasing Uninsured Motorist Coverage is affordable and will protect you from those who aren’t properly covered.  In most cases, your UM coverage will come in a split limit, meaning your insurance coverage will differ if there is one person injured versus if there are multiple people injured. For example, a split limit might be:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury or death, per person.
  • $30,000 for total bodily injury or death, per accident.

On your insurance policy declarations and coverage page, it is often expressed as $15,000/$30,000. It is crucial to be aware of the insurance policy you hold.  Often, “discount” insurance companies will quote low rates because they are not providing you with adequate coverage under these less expenses policies.  If you are unsure as to the coverage under your current policy, contact your agent immediately to obtain a copy of the declarations page.  One of our lawyers will be happy to discuss the terms of your policy and provide insight as to where your may be unprotected in the event of an accident.

Do you want a FREE evaluation of your insurance coverage?  Obtain a copy of your current policy and call McGRATH GIBSON today for a free check-up on your insurance at 904- 358-3300.

After Hurricane Matthew: Filing Insurance Claims

Businesses and Homeowner’s should begin surveying damages to their property and belongings. As you begin filing a homeowner or commercial property insurance claim, here are a few tips to help with the process.

  1. Document all damaged property and belongings. Take photos or shoot video footage before attempting any temporary repairs. When you file an insurance claim, you may be asked for visual documentation of damages. A photographic home inventory is a helpful resource for this situation.
  2. Locate all applicable insurance policies. This may include a homeowners’ policy, flood policy (flood coverage is not covered under a typical homeowners’ policy and is separate coverage), and an automobile policy (may cover damage to your car from flooding).
  3. Cover damaged areas that may be exposed to the elements to prevent further damage. Your insurer may reimburse the expense of these temporary repairs, so keep all receipts. Do not dispose of any damaged personal property until your insurance adjuster has had a chance to survey it.
  4. Contact your insurer as soon as possible to report damages.

If you need help finding your property insurer’s website, contact information or further questions on your insurance claim, call McGRATH GIBSON.

Do you want a free evaluation of your insurance coverage?

Call McGRATH GIBSON today for a free policy review at 904- 358-3300.

Rental Car Reimbursement Coverage

Rental car reimbursement coverage helps pay for rental car costs you incur when your car’s damages are covered by your comprehensive and collision car insurance coverage. For example, you may need to rent a car if your own car is being repaired for damages caused:

  • In a car accident where you were at-fault.
  • In a car accident with an uninsured motorist.
  • From a hit and run or phantom driver.
  • By theft or vandalism.
  • By severe weather, such as a hurricane or tornado.

What does this mean?  When an individual has to rent a car after an accident, rental car reimbursement coverage can offset hundreds of dollars in rental charges. This coverage is added to your auto insurance policy at the time of policy period purchase and ranges from $10 to $12 every 6 months.  When compared to the typical out-of-pocket expense for renting a vehicle, it is some of the most affordable and useful insurance coverage you can buy.

In terms of rental reimbursement usage, you are typically authorized to rent a vehicle that is similar in class and size to the vehicle that is being repaired. However, if you’re expecting the repairs to be time-consuming, you may want to choose a lower-cost vehicle in order to ensure that your rental reimbursement coverage does not run out before your vehicle has been repaired. If you are considering purchasing rental reimbursement coverage, keep in mind that this protection only covers rentals needed while your car is being repaired for damages covered under your car insurance policy.  A repair to your vehicle under a policy held by the at-fault driver should always include a no-cost rental car during the repair completion.

Do you want a free evaluation of your automobile insurance coverage? Call McGRATH GIBSON today for a free policy review at 904- 358-3300.

Majority Time Sharing in Florida

In the state of Florida, the term time-sharing is used instead of custody and visitation. Your time-sharing arrangements are when your child spends time with each parent. The court will order a time-sharing schedule that is in the best interests of the children while taking into consideration factors in the Florida Statute 61.13.

A parenting plan approved by the court must, at minimum describe:

  • How the parents will share and be responsible for the daily tasks associated with the upbringing of the child
  • Include the time-sharing schedule arrangements that specify the time that the minor child will spend with each parent
  • Designate who will be responsible for any forms of health care
  • School-related matters

There is no presumption for or against the father or mother of the child or for or against any specific time-sharing schedule when creating or modifying the parenting plan of the child. With that being said, it also states in the Florida Statute that the court shall order sole parental responsibility for a minor child to one parent, with or without time-sharing with the other parent if it is in the best interests of the minor child.

Determining the best interest of the child is demonstrated but not limited to the capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.

We want to make sure that you have appropriate time-sharing with your child and take the proper steps to get there.

As your Jacksonville family law attorney, we will help you protect your family and be there to help you and those you love with the important decisions you will be faced with from time to time, and through the difficult times when they arise. Call us and we’ll take great interest in getting to know your family and advising you on the family legal matters you are currently facing or may become involved with in the future.

Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys by calling (904) 358-3300.