Articles Tagged with car accident lawyer

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

An auto insurer’s failure to comply with the state’s Claims Administration Statute, F.S. 627.426, meant  no genuine issue of material fact was left to consider regarding insurance coverage of an absconded drunk driving suspect who allegedly killed five people in a horrific crash.car accident

Plaintiffs, parents of one of those killed, sued defendant driver for wrongful death resulting from the crash. The incident happened on I-95 outside Miami, when defendant drove his mother’s vehicle onto the shoulder of the highway, plowing into seven other vehicles that had just been involved in a chain reaction collision and had parked in the emergency lane. Victims ranged in age from 22 to 57. (Plaintiff’s son was a recent university graduate.)

Defendant driver’s blood alcohol level was 0.127, well above the legal limit of 0.08, and that was several hours after the crash. He also smelled of alcohol, a trooper noted, and allegedly admitted to drinking at a local nightclub prior to the collision.  Continue reading

Almost every public service announcement warning regarding drunk driving in Florida suggests finding a designated driver. This is a person who agrees to be sober in order to safely drive another person or group of people after they’ve been indulging in alcohol. All drivers owe a duty to use reasonable care on the roads. But by taking on this responsibility, does a designated driver owe a higher duty of care to intoxicated passengers? car accident

This was a question recently considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit, which answered: No.

The driver in this case was the designated driver among a group of young adults who were drinking at a house party. The group was rowdy, and when it was time to go, two of the passengers opened the trunk and piled in, their back to the rear windshield. Driver instructed them to get out, but the two passengers refused, insisting they would be fine. They weren’t going far and she could drive slow. Not wanting to argue, she relented.  Continue reading

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have become mainstays in Broward County, and Fort Lauderdale specifically. This was even after a protracted battle with county officials that resulted in the companies being kicked out over regulatory disputes regarding driver background checks and vehicle maintenance. phone

Now, a Florida Senate committee has approved legislation that would strip local governments’ ability to regulate ridesharing businesses such as these. It would put a statewide regulatory system in place and scrap the patchwork system of city and county laws that currently in place statewide.

Previous efforts to pass similar measures in the state had failed. Now, SB 340/ HB 221 is moving at a steady clip through the process. The passing by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee by a 7-2 margin is a first.  Continue reading

Japanese auto parts maker Takata recently pleaded guilty to fraud for concealing defects in millions of airbags sold to consumers throughout the U.S. and across the globe. The Justice Department announced the company will pay $1 billion for this deception, which affected 19 automakers and some 100 million vehicles worldwide. airbag

Although that sounds like a lot, it’s actually peanuts, given the scope of the fraud in comparison to what other companies have paid for similar offenses. For example, Volkswagon was required to pay $21 billion over an emissions-cheating scandal. Although penalties will include $125 million to consumers, the judge could have imposed as much as $1.5 billion. However, doing so likely would have put the auto maker out of business.

Still, that might yet be on the horizon. In Miami, a U.S. District Judge said the settlement means the pending multi-district litigation can move forward, most likely via settlements before trial. Continue reading

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