Articles Tagged with car accident lawyer

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

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.

Continue reading

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

A woman was injured seriously recently when a vehicle crashed into her home as she sat at her kitchen table. The Orlando Sentinel reports the 61-year-old motorist reportedly failed to maneuver her vehicle properly at a curve in the road, causing her to continue straight into the residential structure. The 67-year-old resident was pinned and immobile until firefighters arrived to remove her.car accident lawyer

Although such incidents tend to be reported as “freak accidents,” the reality is they occur with startling regularity. Home and auto insurer Ameriprise research reveals there are an average of 60 incidents daily wherein drivers crash their vehicles into retail outlets, homes, office buildings and restaurants. These incidents result in an average of 500 deaths annually, not to mention thousands of injuries. In fact, these types of car accidents claim more lives than lightning, tornadoes and earthquakes – combined. Economic losses for these collisions is estimated to be about $200 million every year, which includes both the cost for personal injury and wrongful death claims, as well as those for property damage.

Causes of these incidents are varied, but there are several trends the insurer has noted in the claims it reviewed. The three most common causes were:

  • Pedal Error – 28 percent. (Of these, 57 percent were caused by foot slip and 43 percent by accidentally stepping on the wrong pedal.)
  • Operator Error – 28 percent. (This would include incidents like those recently reported by the Sentinel.)
  • DUI – 18 percent.

Other causes included traffic accidents, medical incidents and burglaries. Continue reading

A woman in Virginia has settled her car accident lawsuit for $8 million, according to a recent report from The Daily Press in Newport News. Our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers know it is unusual for someone to receive such a high amount, it’s not unheard of – particularly in cases with catastrophic injury or death and especially when the motorist was on the job or in a company vehicle, as was the case here. car accident lawyer

According to reports of the case, plaintiff suffered a closed-head traumatic brain injury, and as a result, lost the ability to earn a living, as well as partake in many activities of daily living. This kind of catastrophic injury results in a tremendous, lifelong loss of life enjoyment, which was likely something defendant took into account when agreeing to settle for such a significant sum (it’s the fourth-highest in Virginia to date, according to Virginia Lawyers Weekly).

The defendant in this case was a Massachusetts-based environmental services firm that was hired to clean out a number of tanks at a site in Virginia. It was a months-long, eight-person assignment. One of those workers was the purportedly negligent driver.  Continue reading

Florida auto insurance laws require that if you have a car in the state for more than 90 days annually – and those days need not be consecutive – then you are required to comply with Florida’s registration requirements. You aren’t necessarily required to obtain insurance if you are regularly driving back-and-forth to your home state, but if you park the vehicle here year-round, you need to obtain auto insurance for it here. Also if you are required to register it here, you’ll be required to obtain auto insurance here too.car accident attorney

This can create headaches for snowbirds, but it’s important to discuss these matters openly and honestly with a licensed insurance agent because, as our personal injury lawyers know, failure to do so could result in a lost opportunity to collect damages.

This was what happened recently in New Jersey to a driver who, a court concluded, wrongly registered and insured his car in Florida, despite being a New Jersey resident. Law.com reports a judge in the Essex County Superior Court dismissed plaintiff’s personal injury lawsuit, finding that allowing him to proceed would violate insurance statutes because he fraudulently obtained car insurance in Florida.  Continue reading

If one suffers an injury in a Florida car accident caused by another’s negligence, there may be an opportunity to step outside the state’s “no-fault” system (which allows for up to $10,000 in compensation through PIP benefits) and take action against the other driver. However, in order to ensure the damages are covered, one must prove they are causally related to the crash. car accident

In many crash cases, this is a fairly straightforward process, particularly if the injured party immediately sought medical attention. However, causation can be tougher to prove when one waits to obtain medical care or when injuries are latent, not becoming fully apparent until days or weeks later. It may also be an issue when not all alleged injuries are physical. This is not to say one cannot collect compensation for emotional or mental damages, but they can be harder to prove.

Recently, the Montana Supreme Court weighed this very issue, reversing a summary judgment in favor of plaintiff (injured party), finding there were questions of material fact as to whether the medical bills and lost wages she claimed as damages were causally related to the crash.  Continue reading

In a recent ride-along with Florida Highway Patrol troopers in South Florida, an NBC affiliate news crew took note of numerous drivers texting, scrolling and talking away behind the wheel. Despite observations of this extremely dangerous behavior, the trooper was without an actionable cause to stop these drivers. That’s because Florida has one of the weakest distracted driving laws in the country, despite this being a serious problem known to be even more prevalent than drunk driving. distracted driving lawyer

Florida is one of a handful of states where texting-and-driving remains a secondary offense. That means an officer must also observe some other traffic offense before a traffic stop can be initiated and a texting-while-driving citation issued.

 F.S. 316.305, also known as the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law, prohibits the use of an electronic device (manually typing, sending, reading or researching data or interpersonal communication) while operating a motor vehicle. There are a number of exceptions to this rule (i.e., researching traffic or weather alerts, those who are searching radio broadcasts use of a system for navigation), but the biggest issue is the fact that it’s a secondary offense. Plus, even if a fine is issued, it’s only $30 for a first-time offense.  Continue reading

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