Articles Tagged with car accident attorney

A $3 million Florida bad faith insurance claim was affirmed recently by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which found the auto insurer refused to tender its $250,000 policy limits to a plaintiff, even though it was well-established her injuries were clearly in excess of that. Broward car accident attorney

As our Broward car accident attorneys can explain, bad faith insurance, as outlined in F.S. 624.155, occurs when an insurer either unreasonably refuses to pay or properly investigate a claim (first-party) or when an insurer unreasonably fails to defend, indemnify or settle a claim within policy limits or investigate for a different party (third-party). As outlined in the 1995 Florida Supreme Court case of State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Laforet, an insurer’s duty of good faith involves the duty to refrain from acting solely on the basis of their own interests in settlement.

Claims for bad faith are separate and apart from the original negligence claim that is filed for crash liability, and can result in plaintiffs being awarded triple their actual damages.  Continue reading

Following the stunning and tragic collapse of a pedestrian bridge under construction over Southwest Eighth Street at Florida International University in mid-March, resulting in the death of six people killed and several others injured, a total of six lawsuits have so far been filed. It’s likely more will be forthcoming. probate litigation

Each plaintiff was represented by a different Florida personal injury or wrongful death law firm (with the exception of two plaintiffs represented by the same firm), each tasked with the massive undertaking of conducting their own investigations and gathering their own evidence as to what happened and who should be responsible. In some instances, law firms dispatched investigators on the ground while cleanup of the site was still underway, helping to gather critical evidence, while others joined in the weeks that followed. Some of the initial questions raised when there are negligence lawsuits involving that many people for the same incident are:

  • How closely will they work together? For instance, will they pool resources during the discovery process, which is likely to converge?
  • How many will file against the exact same defendants?
  • What degree of independence will they maintain in hiring experts and investigating what went wrong with the design, construction, installation and testing of the bridge?

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Many ranches, farms and other agricultural companies arrange for employee housing in addition to wages for their workers. This can raise some interesting legal questions if workers are involved in a collision traveling to-and-from work, especially if one or more is paid during that time.car accident

Typically in workers’ compensation law and with vicarious liability claims, the time in which workers are going to are leaving from work is subject to the “coming-and-going rule.” The coming-and-going rule holds an employee is not acting in the course and scope of employment while traveling to and from work. Therefore, injuries occurring during that time are generally not covered by workers’ compensation and vicarious liability lawsuits.

In a recent case out of Texas, the Texas Supreme Court weighed whether the lower courts had properly granted summary judgment to an employer in a fatal crash case. The court ruled that judgment was improper, reversed and remanded the case to trial for further proceedings.  Continue reading

In a multiple vehicle car accident, where witnesses may give widely varying accounts of what actually happened and who is at-fault and to what degree, the credibility of each witness and party becomes critical.  It’s not uncommon for defense attorneys to challenge the credibility of plaintiffs to challenge their own client’s liability.personal injury attorney

In a recent case before the Hawaii Supreme Court, this was precisely what the defense attorney did, via alleging at various points during the trial that plaintiff was not even in the vehicle, was not injured in the course and scope of employment (she was a home health aide reportedly helping transport a patient to a doctor’s office at the time of the crash) and that she had filed this personal injury lawsuit  as a money grab on top of her fraudulent workers’ compensation claim. He went so far as to tell the jury during closing arguments that if they sided with plaintiff, they should be ashamed of themselves as it would consummate plaintiff’s fraud. Mind you, this was not something of which she’d been formally accused or convicted.

Plaintiff sought a jury instruction that would stipulate they could not consider her motive in filing the case, but rather only whether defendant was negligent. Trial court rejected that request, and jurors returned an 11-1 verdict in the defense favor, finding defendant – the rear driver in a three-car pileup – was not the legal cause of plaintiff’s injury.  Continue reading

The majority of car accidents in Fort Lauderdale are the result of driver error, often distraction, impairment or speeding. However, poor road conditions can be a causal or contributing factor. It’s imperative for injury attorneys examining your claim for damages to carefully analyze whether this may be grounds to file claims against additional parties, such as the local municipality, the state or construction company. car accident

In most of these cases, we must show the defendant had a duty of care to maintain the roadway, breached that duty with negligent maintenance, and/ or failed to adequately warn drivers of a potential danger.

Crashes in construction zones are a unique – and serious – problem. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that in 2015, there were nearly 97,000 crashes in work zones nationally – representing an almost 8 percent increase since 2015 and a 42 percent increase since 2013. Of course, crashes overall have gone up as well, but the increase in these crashes is over-represented. More than a quarter of them involved injury to at least one person and 642 of them resulted in at least one death. More than 40 percent of those deadly crashes were rear-end collisions. Continue reading

A collision center in Texas has been ordered to pay $31.5 million to a couple in Dallas who suffered serious injuries as a result of a crash exacerbated by negligent auto repairs. injury attorney

Plaintiffs – husband and wife – suffered horrible injuries as a result of the fiery wreck. These include the husband’s fourth-degree burns, which continues to inflict constant agonizing pain. Although the crash was caused by a negligent driver in a sport utility vehicle, experts would later testify that plaintiffs should have walked away from that collision relatively unscathed. Instead, because of an improper auto repair following a hailstorm several months earlier, vehicle occupants are left with severe and permanent injuries.

The negligent auto repair lawsuit alleged the body shop bowed to pressure from plaintiff’s auto insurer to use the cheapest fix possible – despite knowing that it wasn’t safe. That meant instead of welding the new steal roof to the vehicle, as indicated in the manufacturer’s body repair manual, the piece was glued with an adhesive. So when the vehicle was struck, the roof buckled, the car’s safety cage collapsed and the fuel tank below the driver’s seat ruptured. Plaintiff husband was trapped under the steering wheel while flames engulfed the vehicle. Wife was pulled through the passenger window by another motorist, but it took significantly longer to extract the husband.  Continue reading

Florida has one of the weakest protections against driver distraction in the nation. While a proposal to toughen our state’s anti-texting-and-driving law was passed by the state House and given Gov. Rick Scott’s blessing, the state Senate has reportedly pumped the brakes on the measure, with news outlets reporting Sent. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, allowing it to stall in his committee for well over a month. car accident attorney

For his part, Bradley has cited concerns about potential racial profiling and the scope of police authority to view drivers’ cell phones during a traffic stop.

As it now stands, F.S. 316.305 prohibits motorists from texting, typing or reading messages, emails and social media posts while engaged in active driving. However, there are a plethora of exceptions, including no restrictions on radio broadcasts, engaging GPS navigation services or wireless communication that doesn’t require reading or the manual entry of data. A fine for a violation is just $50, but even those are rare given that it’s only a secondary offense, as opposed to a primary one. That means police cannot legally stop a driver observed texting-and-driving if that is the sole violation noted. The officer must also observe some other violation, such as speeding, weaving or red light running.  Continue reading

A bill that would repeal Florida’s no-fault insurance law appears to have stalled out.car accident attorney

The state senate’s Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee overwhelmingly voted not to approve the measure, which would repeal Florida’s no-fault system requiring drivers to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. The bill would resulted in a requirement to carry bodily injury coverage in its stead. Florida House members approved a similar version of the measures (HB9) in the first week of the legislative session. Although the bill is technically still alive, the legislative session ends in two days. A committee chairwoman (who voted against the bill) filed a motion to reconsider and temporarily postponed it, meaning it could potentially arise again. However, that committee isn’t expected to meet again prior to the close of the legislative session.

Florida’s no-fault system has long been the target for reform advocacy. PIP laws, codified in F.S. 627.736, require all drivers to carry at least $10,000 in medical and disability benefits and $5,000 in death benefits. (It should be noted the $10,000 rate was set in 1979, and is only worth today about one-eighth of what it was when the law was signed.) One can only access $2,000 of those injury benefits unless their injuries are severe and emergent. This no-fault coverage is extended regardless of who was at-fault for the crash. In order for a car accident victim to pursue damages from the at-fault driver and other third parties, they must meet the serious injury threshold, as outlined in F.S. 627.737, which requires proof that victim suffered:

  • Significant/ permanent loss of an important bodily function;
  • Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability;
  • Significant and permanent scarring/ disfigurement;
  • Death.

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A South Florida seafood restaurant has been deemed liable to pay $2 million in damages after a federal jury determined the restaurant’s employee was acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of a crash that injured another driver. The question of exactly what the worker was doing at the time of the crash was central to the issue of vicarious liability – and whether the restaurant could be made to pay.car accident lawyer

Vicarious liability is a form of strict, secondary liability in which a supervisory party (like an employer) can be held responsible for the negligent actions of a subordinate or associate (i.e., an employee). It stems from the belief that these supervisory parties have a right, ability or duty to control the actions of their subordinates. It’s not necessary to prove the supervisory party was actually negligent or even that it knew about the subordinate’s actions. This type of liability falls under the umbrella of a doctrine called respondeat superior, which is Latin for “let the master answer.”

In some cases, it’s obvious that a worker was acting in the course and scope of employment. An example might be a truck driver delivering cargo from a supplier to a receiver in a company-owned truck. However, if at any point that driver is side-tracked or is running a personal errand and the crash occurs at that time, defendant could argue the driver was not acting in the course and scope of employment and therefore the employer can’t be liable. That’s what defendant tried to argue in the recent case before the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida. Continue reading

Those who patrol Florida’s deadly streets and highways regularly spot motorists texting and driving, but are often powerless to do anything about it, despite the known danger and the fact that such action is against the law. That’s because Florida is one of just a handful of states that has deemed texting to be a secondary offense for non-commercial drivers, meaning officers can’t stop the driver or issue a ticket unless the driver also committed some other offense. That may soon change, as The Associated Press reports state lawmakers are considering a measure that would classify texting-and-driving as a primary offense, one that would be worthy in and of itself to initiate a traffic stop.distracted driving accident lawyer

This has the potential for a major impact in a state where some 2,700 people died in car accidents in 2017. It’s not known for certain how many of these crashes involved a texting driver, partially because unlike drunk driving, texting-and-driving is not so obviously traced. Meanwhile, the U.S. government opines that approximately 3,500 people are killed and 400,000 injured nationally in texting and other distracted driving accidents annually.

Florida is in company with three other states – Ohio, South Dakota and Nebraska – that make texting a secondary offense. Two other states have no law banning the practice, while another only imposes limitations for non-commercial drivers under 21.  Continue reading

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