Articles Posted in personal injury

Large trucks pose an outsized safety risk on Florida roads, mainly because of the size disparity compared to other vehicles and the fact they frequently travel at such high speeds. But there’s another – often overlooked safety issue that truck crashes present: The risk of underride.truck underride accident

As our Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyers can explain, underride collision truck accidents occur when a passenger vehicle collides with a semi truck and is forced underneath the trailer. Whereas an average passenger vehicle is about 40 inches high, the lowest point of the average trailer is about 45 inches off the ground, meaning the smaller vehicle can get trapped underneath. During these crashes, the trailer or truck might “intrude” into the passenger compartment, which almost always leads to either severe injuries or death.

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized a rule updating two Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards intended to bolster protections for drivers and passengers in rear underride crashes where the front end of the smaller vehicle crashes into the back of a larger vehicle (such as a semi truck) and slides under that vehicle.

Noting that truck underride crashes are often fatal, the new rule requires rear impact guards on trailers and semis with sufficient strength and energy absorption to protect occupants of passenger vehicles in multiple crash scenarios, keeping drivers safe and preventing deadly crashes. The final rule amends FMVSS No. 223 and FMVS No. 224 pertaining to rear impact guards and rear impact protection.

In addition to setting these new standards, the rule also requires more research on these crashes and establishes an advisory committee on underride protections. Rear impact guard designs are going to be more closely studied, with state tracking of underride crashes more systematic. Continue reading

If you’re injured in a Fort Lauderdale car accident, you may be aware that your first avenue to collect damages is personal injury protection (or “PIP”) coverage. This is state-mandated auto insurance that you pay for that will cover a portion of your medical bills and lost wages if you are injured in a Florida car accident – regardless of who is at-fault. However, as our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers can explain, PIP is not likely to cover all of your damages – particularly if it was a serious wreck. That is why if someone else caused the crash (or exacerbated your injuries from it), you will want to explore stepping outside of that no-fault system and filing a claim against the at-fault driver. Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer

What PIP Does NOT Cover

Although PIP is the go-to for no-fault accident coverage in Florida, it does not cover every scenario, every type of loss – or even every person. The following is a list of what PIP won’t cover:

  • Property damage. If your car is damaged in the crash, you’ll need to file a separate claim with your own insurance company (or the insurer of the at-fault driver) in order to be compensated for necessary repairs. Florida law requires drivers carry at least $10,000 in property damage liability coverage.
  • Motorcycle operators. PIP coverage is not mandated – or even available – to owners/operators of motorcycles or other self-propelled vehicles. Motorcyclists must rely on other types of auto insurance coverage.
  • More than $10,000 in medical expenses. No matter how serious your injuries are, PIP is only going to cover up to $10,000 in medical expenses. In fact, PIP is only designed to cover up to 80 percent of “reasonable medical expenses.” Furthermore, if your injuries are not “emergent,” PIP may cover no more than $2,500 in medical expenses. Unless you take legal action against the at-fault driver, you and/or your health insurer will be liable for the rest. If your injuries are “serious and permanent,” as outlined in F.S. 627.727, you may step out of the no-fault system and pursue a claim against the at-fault driver for damages for the full amount of your losses. If they do not have insurance or lack enough insurance, you may file a claim with your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) carrier for the difference.
  • More than 60 percent of your lost wages. PIP will cover up to 60 percent of your lost wages if you can’t work due to your injuries – but not if it equals more than $10,000 (and usually far less because that is all that’s available to cover your medical expenses too). If you can’t return to work at all or must take a lower-paying job as a result of your injuries, you could be facing substantial income losses. These are recoverable from the at-fault party if you step outside the no-fault system and pursue damages.
  • Pain and suffering. PIP coverage only covers economic losses. This would include things like medical bills and lost wages. But Florida car accident victims are traumatized, both physically and emotionally. The law recognizes the impact of this, which is why crash victims can pursue damages (compensation) for pain and suffering – but only in a civil claim. You won’t recover pain and suffering damages from your PIP carrier.

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A spate of deadly Florida motorcycle accident reports during Bike Week 2022 throws into sharp relief the danger many two-wheeled riders face when taking to the streets of the Sunshine State. The Daytona News-Journal reports there were six motorcycle deaths during the annual motorcycle enthusiast gathering in Daytona Beach this year. Two of those deaths (plus two injuries) occurred in a single crash when a car driver drove into an opposing lane of traffic where a group of motorcyclists were traveling.Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident lawyer

In a single recent year, more than 5,000 motorcyclists lost their lives while riding. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports Florida has more motorcycle fatalities than any other state – with 591 reported in a single recent year. That’s more than either California or Texas – both of which have substantially higher populations.

For survivors of motorcycle accidents and their loved ones, knowing the basic steps of a claims process following a serious crash can help ease some of the mental load that can feel insurmountable those first few days. As longtime Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorneys, we can explain that these aren’t handled like your typical Florida car crash claim. There are unique considerations, and it’s worth taking a few moments to better understand them before beginning the process.

What Makes Florida Motorcycle Crashes Different From Others?

The reality is any car accident has the potential to turn your whole world on its axis. With motorcycle crashes, though, there are a few differences. Those include:

  • Severity of injuries. Motorcycle operators and passengers lack the same level of protection as other motorists. Helmets aren’t required for adult motorcyclists in Florida, but even with them, riders don’t have the benefit of steel cage protective layer between them and the pavement. The severity of injuries in these cases means they tend to be inherently higher stakes.
  • Motorcyclists cannot purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage is required under Florida’s no-fault auto insurance law, extending up to $10,000 in compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who was to blame. Without this, many motorcyclists tend to rely heavily on their own health insurance plans. But that won’t cover things like lost wages and other damages. This makes it all the more imperative to closely examine fault of all involved parties – and hold other drivers accountable. Claimants can step outside the no-fault system when they’ve meet the serious injury threshold, as spelled out in F.S. 627.737.

I’ve Been in a Motorcycle Accident – Now What?

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The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a question that concerns Florida personal injury plaintiffs. Specifically, should the state’s Medicaid program be allowed to seek reimbursement for past medical care by siphoning personal injury lawsuit settlement funds that are expressly dedicated to future medical expenses? Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer

As our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers can explain, this could impact how we as attorneys approach settlement negotiations.

The case that kickstarted the dispute in Gallardo v. Marstiller is a tragic one. A 13-year-old girl has been left in a persistent vegetative state after she was hit by a truck while getting off a school bus. She received a settlement of $800,000 against the owner of the truck, the driver, and the school board. (The cost of catastrophic injuries like this for someone so young can easily stretch into many millions of dollars over her lifetime.)

But then, the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration imposed a lien on her settlement money, asserting that it was entitled to seize $300,000 of the money that was set aside for past and future medical expenses. The district court in Florida ruled against the state, arguing the federal Medicaid Act barred the state from being reimbursed for past paid medical expenses from the portion of the settlement that is set aside for future medical expenses. In the summer of 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit reversed in favor of the state’s action.

It was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in January and is expected to rule in the coming months. Continue reading

No matter how you dice the statistics, Florida has the highest rate – and number – of bicycle accidents in the entire U.S., a fact that has remained fairly consistent for years, illustrated by the growing number of white-painted “ghost bikes” dotting the urban landscapes and intersections. Florida bicycle accidents lawyer

Bicyclists remain among the most vulnerable road users on South Florida streets. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports in its latest analysis of the issue that of the 856 bicyclists who died in the U.S., 161 of them lost their lives on Florida roads. The only other state that even comes close is California, a state with nearly double our population that reported 131 fatal bike crashes. Of the 3,183 total traffic deaths reported in the Sunshine State in a single recent year (third only to California and Texas), 5.1% of those were bicyclists. The national rate is 0.26%. Delaware technically has a higher percentage rate in this regard, but had 7 total bicyclist deaths that year, compared to our 161. Plus when factoring population, our rate is higher.

This is not a badge we wear proudly by any means, and of course every preventable crash death is one too many – no matter where it is. But our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers know that this recurring fact does beg the question: What is Florida doing wrong? This question is particularly poignant in areas like Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Orlando, and Jacksonville, where rates are the highest. Continue reading

Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident victims may find it difficult to obtain full and fair financial compensation after their ordeal. For one thing, 1 in 4 Florida pedestrian accidents are hit-and-run crashes, meaning the driver who caused the crash fled the scene. Secondly, even if the driver stays, 1 in 5 are uninsured, despite statutory requirements. Finally, Florida is a no-fault car insurance state, meaning crash victims’ own insurer covers up to $10,000 in damages, and it’s only if you’re seriously injured that you can step outside of that no-fault system. Pedestrians aren’t required to have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, though they can use it if they or a member of their household has it. More likely, they’d be relying on the driver’s PIP. But if the driver doesn’t have insurance or flees the scene, securing compensation becomes more challenging. Fort Lauderdale pedestrian accident lawyer

Working with an experienced Fort Lauderdale injury attorney helps ensure you’re leaving no opportunity for compensation off the table.

Fort Lauderdale Pedestrian Accident Statistics

Walking is dangerous business in South Florida, the state that ranks No. 1 in pedestrian deaths in the United States, according to thinktank Smart Growth America. Continue reading

South Florida car accidents involving dump trucks have been piling up in recent years, prompting concern about why these commercial vehicles in particular pose such a serious threat to the public as well as workers.Fort Lauderdale truck accident lawyer

Dump trucks carry heavy, uneven loads and are known to make frequent stops. They’re often out early in the morning, when streets are still dark. Drivers who work long hours, making them more prone to fatigued driving. All these issues lead to outsized danger when you’re dealing with a dump truck, a Class 8 vehicle that can weigh 33,000 pounds or more.

Dump Trucks and Garbage Trucks are Considered “Large Trucks”

Dump trucks and garbage trucks aren’t the same as the big rigs and 18-wheelers you spot barreling down the highway, but legally, they’re in the same category as other “large trucks.” Weight is the primary determining factor in terms of what is considered a “large truck” by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Vehicles with a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or more is considered a “large vehicle.”

Per the FMCSA, Large Truck Traffic Safety Facts, more than 70 percent of the people who die in crashes involving large trucks are the people in the other vehicle. Nearly 160,000 people are injured in large truck accidents each year in the U.S. In three-fourths of deadly crashes involving large trucks, the truck involved weighed more than 26,000 pounds, placing them in the “heavy” large truck category.

Despite the massive size and weight, dump trucks are used to make repeated trips between construction sites, suppliers, and waste drop-off points. Repeated trips increase the potential for collisions. Drivers are often under significant pressure to get the job done, leading to dangerous actions behind the wheel, including speed, distraction, and aggressive driving.

Another significant danger with dump trucks is that in their rush, dump truck drivers sometimes travel with loads that are uncovered. This can result in debris falling off onto the road – and into the path of falling traffic. This creates a serious road hazard that puts others’ lives at risk.

Garbage trucks, meanwhile, are similar to dump trucks in that they are considered heavy vehicles, though as Class 7 vehicles, they tend to weigh in at slightly less, between 26,000 to 33,000 pounds. The disparity of weight and mass between a garbage truck and passenger vehicle, pedestrian or bicyclist makes a collision with one incredibly dangerous. Data from the FMCSA reports that in a single recent year, more than 100 garbage/refuse truck deaths and more than 1,400 injuries. A quarter of those killed were sanitation workers. An analysis by OSHA on garbage truck accidents reveals dozens of fatal or serious injuries among employees in one year. Continue reading

Falls are one of the most common causes of serious injury in the U.S. About 8 million people are treated in hospital emergency rooms annually due to falls, and approximately 12 percent of those are slip-and-fall accidents. Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer

You may be aware that if you’re injured in a South Florida slip-and-fall accident that you may have grounds to pursue a premises liability claim against the property owner for your injuries. But what if there was a sign indicating the floor was wet?

As our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers can explain, there is no hard-and-fast rule about when business owners or property managers are required to post a sign indicating the floor is wet. That said, lack of a wet floor sign where the floor was, indeed, wet can be evidence that the business failed to provide guests with adequate warning of a dangerous condition when they had a duty to do so. This an form the basis of a negligence claim.

However, the presence of a wet floor sign in the area where you slipped and fell doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t recover damages. It’s going to depend on the totality of the circumstances. Having successfully pursued many South Florida premises liability claims stemming from slip-and-fall accidents, we recognize these cases are often more complex than they might appear initially. The outcome of these cases depends largely on the totality of the evidence, and a wet floor sign is just one piece of that puzzle. Continue reading

Following a car accident it’s wise to be wary of insurers. No matter how friendly they seem or how much they insist they’re there to help, an agent’s loyalty is to their employer. Saving the insurer money is their primary goal, and they do it by figuring out ways to pay you less.Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer

Protecting yourself involves not providing any details to which they are not entitled. It’s important that you appreciate you do have a contract and legal obligation to honor. You are required to inform the insurance company about the accident. That means providing the basic necessary information. Beyond that, your lips should stay sealed until you’ve talked to a personal injury attorney.

Note too that you don’t have this same obligation to the other drivers’ insurer. You benefit nothing from giving that insurer a statement or signing any paperwork they send you. All you need to do is get the insurance information from the other driver. You don’t need to provide them with information. Continue reading

Social media has become a ubiquitous presence in our daily lives, making it second nature to share everything from the mundane to the momentous. Those involved in South Florida personal injury lawsuits know that it can be one of those “big things” that can consume a lot of your physical and emotional energy. It would seem natural, then, to share this with others to whom you’re connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or other platforms. Fort Lauderdale accident attorney

As Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys, we generally advice against this. The problem is that information on social media accounts – particularly anything that relates to your accident, injury or recovery – could undercut your personal injury claim. Such posts can provide defense lawyers with a valuable source of information that refute the cause of your injury, impeach your credibility or poke holes in the amount of damages you claim to have suffered.

This isn’t to say that people posting about their case are lying about anything. In fact, it’s more likely that they post because they feel they have nothing to hide. The problem is you aren’t looking at the information through the same lens as a lawyer. The intent and implications of certain pictures, posts, videos or comments could be twisted by the defense team. It’s better to limit your social media engagement while your case is pending, if possible. If you have questions about specifics, direct them to your accident attorney. Continue reading

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