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The mother of a child left paralyzed, brain damaged and forever scarred has filed a lawsuit against not just the man who was driving drunk that night, but also against the two bars that served him that night. beerhand

This lawsuit, filed separately from the three others brought by the estates of three persons killed in the drunk driving crash that night, alleges the driver downed 13 beers – plus a free shot of liquor – at two bars in the hours before the crash. At just 26, he worked as an assistant baseball coach at Anderson University in South Carolina. But that night, instead of guiding youths to greatness, his actions ended the lives of three young people, a 17-year-old girl, a 20-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man. That same recklessness nearly claimed the life of an 11-year-old girl, and probably would have had it not been for the quick and brave actions of a sheriff’s deputy with paramedic training who was first on scene. He found a faint trace of life, and gave her an emergency tracheotomy, right there on the scene.

Now, according to The State newspaper, that defendant has been convicted of numerous felonies relating to his actions that night. The young girl whose life was saved? She is now 13 and requires around-the-clock medical care. Her mother is now seeking justice from the business establishments she say should have known better than to continue serving the defendant driver alcohol, knowing he was clearly already drunk.  Continue reading →

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In many Orlando car accidents, the amount of insurance money available is contingent upon the language of the policy. The language must always be clear, as any ambiguity will be interpreted in favor of the insured.

Closeup of yellow line on cracked asphalt.

That said, insurers do have the right to limit their payouts in the event of a crash, so long as they do so clearly and upfront.

In the recent case of ACE Fire Underwriters v. Romero, a dispute over the language of the policy would mean the difference between a $1 million wrongful death payout and one that could be as much as $2 million (or at least $1.55 million under the terms of a partial pre-trial settlement).  Continue reading →

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It seems almost everyone has a story about that one time they were involved in a crash or encountered a serious hazard due to an unsecured load or debris cluttering the roadway. Florida Rep. Jamie Grant (R-Tampa) recalled his best friend’s mother was killed when an engine fell off the back of a trailer and flew through her windshield. Others have talked about encountering construction tools flying off the back of trucks, swerving to miss a mattress lying in the highway, losing control due to ripped tires on the roadside or a huge tree branch that was causing an obstruction. truck5

While these incidents can result in thousands of dollars in property damage, serious injury or even death for those who encounter these dangers, the person who was responsible, if they are caught, might expect a ticket with a few hundred dollars fine or, if someone dies, up to 120 hours of community service.

Many argue that’s simply not enough, particularly in light of a new report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which reports this is a much bigger problem than we may have previously understood. According to the latest news, there are approximately 50,000 accidents reported every year that are caused in some way by road debris. That’s nearly double the number noted in a previous report from 2000 indicating there were 25,000 of these incidents every year.  Continue reading →

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Jurors may be asked about – and dismissed for prejudices regarding – specific large damage awards in a car accident lawsuit, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled. jury1

In Khoury v. Seastrand, the court weighed an appeal by a defendant in a car accident lawsuit who alleged various errors by the trial court, including “indoctrination of the jurors” during the voir dire portion of the trial.

Voir dire is the preliminary, pre-trial examination of a juror by the judge or an attorney. Lawyers may request dismissal of certain jurors for biases – real or perceived – that could affect those persons’ ability to render a fair verdict.  Continue reading →

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The Ohio Supreme Court in a split decision has ruled that a utility company will not be liable for injuries stemming from a motorcycle accident in which the rider was struck by a deer before being tossed into a utility pole close to the road.utilitypoles

The issue was not so much the presence of the utility pole a where it was located.

In the case of Link v. FirstEnergy Corp., plaintiffs alleged the utility company and its parent corporation should be liable for the motorcyclist’s injuries because the poles were not moved back to a position farther from the road during a previous road-widening project. This failure to move the poles – even at the request of the township that contracted the work – amounted to negligence because the “Clear Zone” roadway design standards set by the Federal Highway Administration weren’t followed, plaintiff alleged. Continue reading →

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When you buy auto insurance and keep up with your monthly premium, it’s supposed to offer peace of mind. You trust that when you get into an accident, your damages will be covered. cars2

However, it happens fairly often that the cost of this “protection” is constantly on the incline and far too many claims are wrongfully denied, delayed or low-balled.

If your insurance company doesn’t treat you fairly, you have a few legal options. Bear in mind, though, you really cannot pursue them without the help of an experienced injury lawyer. Most of these claims will assert either bad faith or breach of contract. Although the ultimate award may be triple the original damages, these are complex cases that require a legal team with extensive experience.  Continue reading →

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When a 40-year-old Ohio man crashed into a semi-truck on a Florida highway last May, the initial assumption was that this was simply another tragic accident. drive9

But as investigators would later come to find out, the Tesla (TSLA.O) Model S sedan in the fatal crash was running on autopilot at the time of the collision. While troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol continue their investigation, authorities with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have launched their own inquiry.

A nine-page letter has been sent by the NHTSA to Tesla, requesting answers to a myriad of questions regarding the crash and the features that were reportedly supposed to be engaged at the time but seem to have failed. Specifically, the auto-braking system and forward collision warning system do not appear to have worked as intended. But Tesla has insisted that its vehicles are safe when used as intended. One unnamed Tesla executive quoted by The New York Times said that while the autopilot feature of the vehicle can operate a car on its own for up to three minutes on the highway, drivers have to be ready to take control at a moment’s notice.  Continue reading →

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A fiery bus accident in Florida recently killed 5 people and injured 25 others, leaving investigators to untangle the mystery of what might have caused the driver of a decades-old school bus to breeze through a flashing red light and slam into the side of a tractor-trailer. Both vehicles burst into flames upon impact. highway14

News reports are the 56-year-old bus driver, who hails from Belle Glade, was hospitalized in critical condition. The 55-year-old driver of the semi-truck died as a result his injuries. The 21-year-old passenger in the truck was not injured, but four bus passengers died at the scene. Of the 25 total people injured, three were in critical condition.

The bus accident occurred on Coastal Highway 98 in Wakulla County. Those on board were Haitian migrant farmworkers and their families from Georgia. They were on their way to Belle Glade for a few weeks of contracted work before they planned to head back up north. Both vehicles were reduced to charred, smoking frames of their former masses.  Continue reading →

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Motor vehicle accidents are the No. 1 killer of children under 14 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When a car accident involves a child injury, it’s important to ensure the child’s rights are protected in any ensuing settlement or litigation. In fact, Florida law requires that the court appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s interests in any settlement agreement involving a gross figure of $50,000 or more. driving1

Courts are given discretion to appoint a legal representative for settlements with lower dollar amounts, but F.S. 744.3025 requires that it be done when the amount reaches that $50,000 threshold.

This was a central issue in the recent 4th DCA case of Allen v. Montalvan. This was a tragic accident in which a grandmother was killed, and her adult daughter, minor son and three minor grandchildren were injured to varying degrees when their vehicle was struck by a drunk driver.  Continue reading →

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An Orlando jury awarded $10 million to the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit that holds Domino’s Pizza liable for a car accident reportedly caused by a delivery driver employed by a franchise.drivingonhighway

What’s particularly interesting about this case – and what could have ramifications for future cases – is that the jury chose to held the parent company liable. Most of the time, parent companies that have a franchisor-franchisee contract will prevail on vicarious liability issues by arguing they did not employ the employee and had no control over the worker’s hiring, training or supervision. Here, jurors combed over the franchise agreement and concluded the national pizza chain exercised its control over all major aspects of its contract with the franchisee, and thus could be vicariously liable for the negligence of the employee driver.

The crash killed a former Brevard County fire chief, who had been a firefighter in Central Florida for more than three decades. The impact of the crash rendered him quadriplegic and he died of his injuries little more than a year later. Continue reading →

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