Articles Tagged with Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney

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

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

Every year, thousands of people in the U.S. die in distracted driving accidents – 3,400 in 2015, to be exact. While most states, including Florida, have some type of law on the books that aims to curb these incidents. But there are plenty of traffic safety advocates who say these measures aren’t doing enough. phone

Just take Florida, for example. F.S. 316.305 went into effect in 2013 (and was one of the last texting-and-driving bans in the country to be enacted). The statute prohibits a person from operating a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a phone or wireless communication device. So far so good, right? But there are a few issues. First off, it’s a secondary offense, which means police can’t initiate a traffic stop on this basis alone; they can only issue a citation if they stop a driver for another offense. Even if they do ticket the driver, it’s only a $35 citation for a first-time offender. Not much of a deterrent. Beyond that, the law doesn’t ban talking (which studies have shown can be just as distracting) or dialing a number (and it can be tough for an officer to discern the difference between that and texting from outside the vehicle, especially if it’s moving). Also, it doesn’t address the expanding technology, which includes video chats.

Now, there are two bills on the table to enhance penalties for those who violate Florida’s current ban on texting and driving. HB 47 would increase the fine (doubling it for offenses in school zones or designated crossings) and also make the violation a primary offense, as opposed to a secondary offense. Meanwhile, HB 69 targets drivers 18 or younger, and would make the offense primary only for these motorists.  Continue reading

A motorcycle accident effectively ended the football career of a UCLA offensive lineman seven years ago in California. Amir Ekbatani’s leg was severed when a taxi van driver who failed to yield the right-of-way while making a left turn. The impact of the collision severed the football player’s left leg. He would undergo a total of 13 surgeries and he know walks with a prosthesis. He is fortunate to have emerged from the wreckage with his life. motorcycle

But now, it’s not just the other motorist whom he blames. It is also the State of California, the government agency responsible for maintaining the road on which the crash occurred. Specifically, he alleges poor road design that made it difficult for the taxi driver to see the plaintiff as he traveled north on the state highway.

There had reportedly been numerous complaints made to the state’s Department of Transportation regarding the condition of the intersection, but the government agency failed to take action, according to the injury lawsuit.  Continue reading

Three year ago, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law amendments to F.S. 90.702 to F.S. 90.704 that changes the standard by which Florida courts determine whether expert witness testimony should be admissible. Previously, we used the “Frye standard,” which asks only whether the technique of the expert is generally accepted as reliable in the relevant scientific community. The legislative change has now instead using the “Daubert standard,” which is more stringent and requires something of a mini-trial in front of a judge before the case can proceed. Questions raise include not just whether the technique is generally accepted, but questions whether there has been empirical testing, whether there has been peer review and publication, whether there is a known or potential error rate, whether there is a maintenance of these standards and more. Cars

The Florida Supreme Court is considering a proposal that would revert the courts back to the Frye standard. (The Florida courts can take action without the legislators on this point because it concerns a procedural element of the court.) Civil plaintiff attorneys argue the Daubert standards are too stringent and serve as a barrier to legal remedy in legitimate claims.

To understand why the importance of this standard matters in civil personal injury lawsuits, we look at the recent case of Sims v. Kia Motors of America, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Here, the viability of expert witness testimony was critical to the product liability claim in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a fatal car accident. Continue reading

Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers understand that the negligence of some parties does not necessarily negate the negligence of others.highway14

This was the claim argued recently before the North Carolina Supreme Court, where the families of three people killed (including a mother and her 2-year-old daughter). Families of the decedents argued the state was negligent in failing to take action to install a traffic light at an intersection that was known to require it. The state, in turn, argued the sole cause of the crash were two drag racing drivers. Continue reading

Distraction plays a role in an increasingly large percentage of car accidents in Florida and across the country – fueled mostly by the proliferation of smartphones. driving6

We know those drivers may be held liable if they are distracted and cause a crash. However, an emerging legal trend involves holding accountable those with whom the driver is communicating.

Take for example the recent case Gallatin v. Gargiulo, In that case, a Pennsylvania trial court judge decided that two men who were texting with a driver before and during a fatal car accident could be held liable for resulting wrongful death claims.  Continue reading

All auto insurance policies carry limits, which are supposed to be clearly-defined and indicate how much is available per-person and how much is available per car accident. carinsurance

These limits are important not just for that policy, but also for other secondary policies that may be applicable. Some insurance – like uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage – will only kick in once the limits of the primary policy have been exhausted.

In the recent case of Trotter v. Harleysville Ins. Co., the question before the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Seventh Circuit was whether the trial court correctly decided that the $500,000 limit on an auto insurance policy was per accident, and not per-person. It was a difference that could have meant hundreds of thousands of more dollars for plaintiffs. However, the appeals court ultimately decided the trial court was right, denying plaintiffs additional coverage. Continue reading

Usually, perpetrators fleeing a crime scene will be afforded little protection under the law for injuries they sustain as a result. highway2

However, there are exceptions and it’s important to consider that under Florida’s comparative fault statute, F.S. 768.81, those who are partially to blame for their own injuries can still collect damages from others who shared responsibility.

The recent case of Roddey v. Wal-Mart, though not a Florida case, is a good example of this. In this South Carolina Supreme Court case, justices were asked to decide whether lower courts erred in issuing a directed verdict in favor of a store whose contracted security guard chased down an alleged shoplifter – with fatal consequences.  Continue reading

Contact Information