Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog
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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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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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