Attorney Fran Haasch Monthly Newsletter
August 2008 Edition
Welcome to our first ever email newsletter. My purpose is to express my compassion and commitment to the very important needs of the biker community. I’ll keep you informed about relevant news, insurance coverages, safe motorcycle operation and significant changes to laws that might affect you. There will also be a lighter side to the newsletter. I’ll let you know which events we will be attending, which charitable runs we will be proudly sponsoring and where you will find me and my staff out riding. We will be taking pictures and shooting video at the events to post on our newly launched website.Thanks to all of you for signing up for our free firm newsletter and a chance to win a 2009 Harley-Davidson Softail Cross Bones motorcycle. I am giving away this motorcycle as a token of my appreciation for all your support over the past eight years. It’s been great meeting all of you out there at Quaker Steak, Biff’s, LA Hangout and Wild Wings. Peggy’s Corral had a huge turnout for their Great American Biker Bash. I had a great time walking around and talking with everybody at the Plant City Bike Fest on Saturday. What a turnout at Quaker Steak and Lube last night. Finally a Wednesday night without any rain! Check out the picture of Craig and his trophy for Bike of the Night.
Hope you find these articles and this new blog interesting and informative. I know the insurance article may not be that exciting, but, please read it!! It is the most important topic I can address. You have no idea how many calls I get a week from potential clients that I can’t help because of the lack of available insurance coverage. If you have any questions, please call my office or stop by and say hello at any of the bike events you might see me.
Attorney at LawPalm Harbor
July and August are big months for Harley-Davidson. On July 12, 2008 Harley opened their museum doors to the public for the first time after nearly 105 years. According to Harley the museum will bring their passion alive through exhibits and events that celebrate the people, products, culture and history which have made Harley-Davidson the icon it is today. The 130,000 square foot museum is located in Milwaukee and is sure to provide a memorable experience. Additionally, Harley will be celebrating their 105th anniversary August 28-31 which will also be located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. If you would like more details, go to www.harley-davidson.com.
Insurance Products You Should Have
Why you need this type of coverage!
Even though Florida does not require motorcyclists to carry insurance, the importance of having insurance cannot be overstressed. However, once you have insurance, there are certain types of coverage you should have that you might not currently carry. Those products include GAP insurance and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Hopefully you never have to use GAP insurance, but it comes into play when your vehicle is considered a total loss. When someone finances a new motorcycle, the loan does not take depreciation into account. For example, you might finance a motorcycle for $10,000, however, as soon as you drive it off the lot it will only be worth $7,000, thus, there is a GAP of $3,000. If the motorcycle was then totaled your insurance would only cover the $7,000 and you would be responsible for the remaining GAP if you did not carry GAP coverage. With GAP insurance, not only would the vehicle be covered, the remaining balance on the loan would be paid off by your insurance. This comes in handy after an accident, when the last thing you want to do is make payments on a bike that has been totaled.
Do you really need Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
I am always saddened to have to turn away a severely injured potential client because there is not any insurance available to compensate them for their injuries and losses. I urge all of you reading this article today to pull out your bike and auto insurance policies and make sure that you are adequately protected in the unfortunate event you are the victim of an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage is the most important coverage for motorcyclists to carry. UM coverage provides compensation to you for damages to you caused by someone who carries little or no liability insurance or if you are injured by a “hit and run” driver. I have many people tell me that they don’t believe they need UM coverage because they have health insurance. Health insurance is not enough. In addition to medical bills, damages that an accident victim may sustain include lost wages and pain and suffering.
Many people are surprised to find out after they are a victim of an accident that Florida does not require motorists to carry bodily injury coverage, therefore, the chances of being injured by someone without liability insurance are substantial.
In the event that you are injured by someone with little or no insurance, you are able to make a claim with your UM carrier to be compensated for your injuries, lost wages and pain and suffering.
If you carry liability insurance, your insurance company has to offer you the same amount of UM coverage. Always consider purchasing the highest amount of UM offered to you. Clients are always surprised to find out how quickly their medical bills can escalate into the thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Also, if you insure one or more bikes or automobiles through the same insurance carrier you may opt for stacked UM coverage, which means that your UM limits can be multiplied by the number of vehicles insured under the policy. Stacking your UM coverage is relatively inexpensive and is one of the best ways to “get more bang for your buck.”
Protect yourself and your loved ones. Check your policy today and make sure that you are carrying adequate insurance coverage. If you have any questions about your insurance coverage or need any additional information regarding a motorcycle or automobile accident please contact our office at (727) 784-8191. We will be happy to answer your questions free of charge.
Recent & Upcoming Motorcycle Laws
Ignorance of the law is no excuse!
Without a doubt, rising gas prices have encouraged drivers to look into two-wheeled transportation. In the past, a Basic Rider Course wasn’t required for licensed drivers over the age of 21 seeking a motorcycle endorsement. Recent legislation which became effective July 1, 2008, has extended that requirement over the entire spectrum of riders in Florida. Those seeking a motorcycle endorsement must now complete the Basic Rider Course regardless of age. This might seem like an extra encumbrance to those seeking to have the wind in their hair, nonetheless, due to the nature of motorcycling, anything that can contribute to a rider’s ability is valuable.
Another piece of legislation that riders should keep an eye out for is CS/HB 137 – “Operating a Motor Vehicle.” CS/HB 137 provides additional penalties for certain offenses committed by motor vehicle operators. There will be increases in fines and license suspension for drivers who exceed the speed limit by more than 50 miles per hour. Additionally, the bill restricts operation of a motorcycle or moped by requiring that both wheels remain on the ground at all times and mandates that the license plate be permanently affixed in a horizontal position and incapable of being flipped up. The bill goes further to require that, while riding a motorcycle or moped, the rider must sit astride the seat, facing forward, and with one leg on each side of the motorcycle. If that’s not enough, following the third violation of the above requirements, you will be charged with a third degree felony, slapped with a fine of $5,000, and have your driving privileges revoked for a period of 10 years. The bill was approved by the Governor on June 10 and will become effective October 1, 2008. For more information and the complete text of the bill go to www.myfloridahouse.gov.
Motorcycle Foundation Quick Safety TipLook twice safe a life…
Be Visible: There is a reason why everywhere you look there signs, bumper stickers and our t-shirts that says “look twice – save a life, motorcycles are everywhere.” Coming in at a fraction of the weight and size of a car, motorcycles are far less conspicuous. With this in mind, riders must make sure that all of the lights on their motorcycle are functioning and they must be aware of the blind spots present on cars and trucks. Most riders have probably heard this, but it never hurts to be reminded that it should always be assumed that drivers do not see you.
Attorney Fran Haasch limits her practice to areas of personal injury and helps motorcycle accident victims throughout the state of Florida. If you have any questions regarding a potential injury claim please contact our office 24/7 for a free case evaluation. 1-866-LAW-FRAN
Visit us on the web for more information about Attorney Fran Haasch http://www.lawfran.com/