Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog
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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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Excess insurance coverage is an insurance policy that provides coverage that will be in excess of what was available under the underlying liability policy. Often, that’s an umbrella policy, but it could be an auto insurance liability policy as well.carsports

The general rule with excess insurance is that it can’t be broader than the underlying policy, but it can create higher limits. So for example if the underlying policy won’t cover damages caused by a certain act, the excess coverage isn’t going to do that either. However if the underlying policy offers up to $50,000 in coverage, your excess policy could provide more than that.

The excess insurance policy was at issue in the recent case of Cincinnati Ins. Co. v. Estate of Chee, a complex case that pits the estate of a deceased woman against her surviving husband and the doctors who provided her medical care in the wake of a crash. Those doctors then pursued action against the husband, who sought indemnification from both his auto insurance company as well as his excess insurance firm, which had provided a policy that covered both him and his wife. Continue reading →

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Last fall, a 54-year-old cyclist was struck by a pickup truck driver in Melbourne. The impact sent her flying over the handlebars. First responders, fighting to save her life, found her phone and sent her husband a text message: “Been an accident on Post Road.” bicycle3

In the end, they couldn’t save her. Her husband of six years says he lost everything that day. The driver, however, walked away unscathed. As Florida Today reported, he did not face any criminal charges.

In fact, very few motorists face criminal charges following bicycle accidents or pedestrian accidents – even when someone dies. As one traffic sergeant explained, so long as you weren’t impaired by alcohol or drugs and didn’t intentionally hit the person, there are typically no penalties. This is true even if you are at-fault for the crash.  Continue reading →

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Florida has a bad reputation when it comes to pedestrian accidents, and the latest report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) doesn’t offer any redemption. crosswalk6

The report reveals that not only did the national rate of fatal pedestrian accidents climb by 2 percent, from 4,779 to 4,884, the rate in Florida rose by an astonishing 17 percent, from 501 in 2013 to 588 in 2014.

What’s more, pedestrian accidents now comprise 23.6 percent of all traffic fatalities in Florida – nearly 1 in 4 – compared to 20.8 percent – or 1 in 5 – that were counted in 2013.  Continue reading →

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Crash test dummies will soon be taking a back seat. redcar

With an increasing number of people relying on ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced plans to update its use of crash test dummies in frontal crash tests for its 5-Star Safety Rating. These updates will include a provision to start testing the effects of crashes on back seat passengers.

The safety of rear passengers has not been so rigorously regarded – or researched – as that of front seat passengers. There has been much good that has come out of the focus on overall passenger safety, including improved airbags, seat belt alert systems and more effective restraints. However, those in the back – in many cases, children – have been largely ignored. This is despite serious concerns about their safety in collisions.

As some safety advocates have noted many people erroneously believe that 5-Star safety rating extends to all locations in the vehicle. But the reality is the program, founded in 1978, is only designed to indicate how safe the driver and front seat passenger are. Officials at the agency now say it’s time to change that.  Continue reading →

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Less than a week after a charter bus crash in Texas killed nine people and injured 44, another charter bus crash in Florida killed two people and injured several more.busdriver

Officials reported the driver of a Dodge Challenger collided with the bus as it was moving north on Northwest 27th Avenue near 11th Court. The driver of that car was pronounced dead at the scene while the passenger, the father of a 6-year-old daughter, died after he was transported to Broward Health Medical Center. At the time of the crash, there were 38 people aboard the charter bus, including 34 students, three chaperones and a driver. The students, from three area high schools, were returning from a field trip event in Tallahassee when the crash occurred.

Although details of who may have been at fault in the bus crash are still under investigation, the fact is that a growing number of people will be utilizing charter buses to get around this summer. Gov. Rick Scott’s office reported in February that Florida tourism numbers spiked to a record 105 million last year. A substantial portion of those travel either from other parts of the state or other parts of the country to Florida destinations, and many utilize charter bus services. Continue reading →

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A fiery car accident near Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando was reportedly caused by a fatigued driver. driving1

The crash involved a sport utility vehicle and a bus that collided around 6 p.m. It reportedly resulted in 11 injuries, with eight of those being passengers on the bus. Those injuries ranged from minor to serious.

Investigators say the SUV driver was driving the wrong way on Sherbeth Road – traveling south in the northbound lanes. The driver, her husband and son were all transported to the hospital. Onlookers reported huge flames and thick smoke billowing from the scene. Both vehicles reportedly burst into flames. Continue reading →

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