Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog
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Drivers who text, snap photos or email while they are driving could find themselves liable – and possibly charged criminally – if their distraction results in a car accident. phone1

But what about the people with whom they are communicating?

A recent report by Vocativ reveals the legal landscape is shifting, and there are a number of cases that may lay the foundation for liability against those who text with persons they know or had reason to believe were driving.

It’s estimated that approximately 431,000 injuries and more than 3,200 deaths every year in the U.S. are attributable to driver distraction. Although the number of drunk driving injuries and fatalities is pegged at triple that, the reality is distracted driving is a lot tougher to determine after the fact. Continue reading →

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If you are involved in a car accident, you may be wondering not only if you should hire an attorney, but whether you can afford one.carsports

The good news is that our Orlando car accident lawyers take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means clients do not pay attorney’s fees upfront (as they would in many other types of litigation), and in fact, they don’t have to pay any attorney fees if the case is unsuccessful.

And here is some other good news: There are some situations in Florida injury law in which the courts will order defendants to pay the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees at the close of the case. When the other side pays those fees in full, plaintiffs don’t have to worry about paying it out of their portion of damages. Continue reading →

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F.S. 768.72 allows personal injury claimants in Florida to seek punitive damages against defendants for especially egregious wrongs. driver1

However, there are many limits on these damages. Although they are received by the plaintiff, they are not intended to compensate the plaintiff. Rather, they are intended to punish the defendant. Courts have to first grant plaintiffs permission to seek these damages in the first place. Beyond that, they cannot be “unconstitutionally excessive,” though there is no exact dollar-figure cut-off.

The recent car accident lawsuit of State Farm v. Brewer (consolidated with the appeal of Goellner v. Brewer) before Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals reveals how the courts can approach these cases to determine what is reasonable and what is excessive.  Continue reading →

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In some Margate car accident lawsuits, sometimes the challenge is not in proving the other driver was at-fault, but rather showing that the accident caused the alleged injuries. driving

Proving causation of injuries – particularly when a person suffered pre-existing conditions – can sometimes require expert witnesses.

This was the case in Maines v. Fox, an auto accident injury appeal recently weighed by Florida’s First District Court of Appeal.

According to court records, the issue of liability was not contested here. There was no question defendant was at-fault. The issue was whether defendant’s actions caused plaintiff’s personal injuries.  Continue reading →

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A Florida deputy is being hailed as a hero after he reportedly sacrificed his life by driving his cruiser in the path of a wrong-way driver – ahead of another driver who otherwise would have been struck.highway5

Deputy John Kotfila, 30, was killed in the crash, as was the 31-year-old wrong-way driver, Erik McBeth. The wrong-way car accident happened in Hillsborough County around 2:45 a.m. on the Leroy Selmon Expressway.

The 41-year-old woman who was saved said the deputy saw the imminent danger she faced and made a split-second and heroic decision to sacrifice his own life to save her. Continue reading →

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Recently, a high-speed chase by police tailing a fugitive through the streets of Miami spanned more than a half hour until the suspect was caught, according to the Miami Herald. The 34-year-old suspect is charged with attempted murder after he allegedly stabbed his girlfriend numerous times before fleeing. During the chase, he reportedly narrowly avoided striking other vehicles as he weaved through traffic, blew past intersection red lights and skidded with sharp turns. At one point, he exchanged gunfire with police in downtown Miami. police

This scene had a high potential for serious injury or death of innocent bystanders.

Most police agencies have policies that prevent chases – particularly high-speed chases – in all but the most serious of situations. A study by the National Institute of Justice found that most departments had written policies governing pursuits. While increasing the number of vehicles involved in the pursuit was more likely to improve the odds of apprehension, it was also more likely to up the risk of accidents, injuries and property damage.  Continue reading →

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Three young children set out for their daily evening walk down their tree-lined country road with their mother. Because of the allegedly careless actions of a distracted driver, one of them was killed, another has been critically injured and their mother is hospitalized.drivingroad

The Florida car accident reportedly occurred in Brooksville, about 1.5 hours directly west of Orlando. Florida Highway Patrol troopers told the Tampa Bay Times the 26-year-old motorist, operating a 2002 Jaguar, dropped a cigarette. He became distracted and reached for it. He lost control of the car and struck the young family.

The 3-year-old girl died of her injuries. Her 1-year-old brother was flown to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, where he was fighting for his life, his condition listed as “very critical.” The oldest, a 6-year-old girl, was amazingly not hurt, but their mother is hospitalized with serious injuries, though she was listed as “stable.”

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If you are injured on-the-job while driving, you may be entitled to compensation via a number of avenues. It’s important to discuss with an Orlando injury lawyer the best approach. Otherwise, you may find yourself short-changed. highway5

Specifically, there is an interplay between auto insurance coverage and workers’ compensation. The latter is provided to workers who are hurt in the course and scope of employment, regardless of fault. Florida is a no-fault state as far as car accidents go, but if the cost for your injuries exceed $2,000 or are quite severe, you can pursue legal action against the other driver, as opposed to merely collecting personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. Your health insurance may cover a portion of your costs as well. If the other driver doesn’t have any auto insurance, you may be able to collect uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, if you have it.

But F.S. 627.727 does not allow for double recovery under workers’ compensation law. That means if your workers’ compensation benefits cover some aspect of your injuries that is later paid out by your UM carrier, your workers’ compensation provider may be able to assert a lien on those funds. These overlapping interests can get complicated, and that’s why it’s important to make sure you’ve got representation.

The recent federal appeal of Adamscheck v. American Family Mutual Ins. deal with these issues, which were weighed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.  Continue reading →

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Typically when a driver is injured or killed while fleeing or eluding efforts to detain them for criminal wrongdoing, there may not be strong grounds to pursue civil litigation. But as the recent case of Roddey v. Wal-Mart Stores shows, it still may be a possibility worth exploring. highwayrescue1

This was a South Carolina Supreme Court case that dealt with the death of a woman in a car accident that reportedly occurred while she and her sister were fleeing from a retail store after an alleged shoplifting excursion.

Decedent was waiting in the vehicle for her sister, who attempted to shoplift several items of clothing from a retail store. However, a customer service manager realized what was happening and alerted another manager, as well as an on-duty security guard, hired by a separate firm.  Continue reading →

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If you have been in a car accident at some point in the last decade, chances are fairly strong at least one person behind the wheel of one of those cars was distracted. drivefastsaab

It seems this becomes more solidified with each passing study conducted on U.S. driving habits. The latest is one of the most comprehensive, funded by the federal government and conducted by researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). Researchers attached sensors, radar and cameras to the vehicles of 3,500 participants and tracked their driving behavior over the course of a full three years – collecting 35 million miles of data in all.

In sifting through this data, researchers expected to see that distracted driving was a problem. However, the extent of the problem was a bit shocking.  Continue reading →

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