Williams v. GEICO - Challenging Step-Down Provisions in Auto Insurance Plans

September 1, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

The South Carolina Supreme Court recently in the case of Williams v. GEICO ruled that step-down provisions in auto insurance policies are contrary to the public well-being, and are therefore void.
brotherhood.jpg
Why does this matter for those of us here in Florida?

Because, as our Hollywood car accident lawyers know, South Carolina had been one of a handful of states - Florida included - that allows insurers to contain a clause in their policy that lowers limits to state minimums for permissive drivers.

When certain users are granted only the state minimum coverage, as opposed to the full policy limits to which they would normally be entitled, this is called a "step-down provision." Usually, these clauses indicate that for an insured person other than you (a relative, resident of your home, etc.), the insurer will only provide limits of up to the financial responsibility of the law in which the crash occurs.

Continue reading "Williams v. GEICO - Challenging Step-Down Provisions in Auto Insurance Plans" »

Floyd-Tunnell v. Shelter Mut. Ins. Co. - Multiple UM Policies and Partial Exclusions

August 25, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

Uninsured motorist coverage is a smart way for drivers to protect themselves in the event they are involved in a crash with a driver who lacks insurance. This is especially important here in Florida because this is the fifth-highest state for uninsured motorists, with one out of ever four drivers lacking coverage, according to the Insurance Research Council.
happyfamily.jpg

Even those who do have coverage may only be carrying the bare minimum, which means it won't be enough to cover your medical expenses and other costs. This is the purpose of UM/UIM coverage. Your insurer steps in to help cover the difference.

But of course, as our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys know well, insurers have many ways of mitigating their losses, including outright denial of legitimate claims and numerous provisions that limit the total payout you can receive. This is coverage for which you pay and to which you are entitled. More often than not, however, motorists are going to need the help of an experienced attorney if they have any hope of collecting.

Continue reading "Floyd-Tunnell v. Shelter Mut. Ins. Co. - Multiple UM Policies and Partial Exclusions" »

I-95 Wrong Way Collision Kills Fort Lauderdale Motorcylist

August 16, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

Wrong-way accidents continue to be a threatening and fatal phenomenon in South Florida and nationwide. While some of these accidents are caused by drunk driving or negligence, others are related to improper signage and confusing on or off ramps. Wrong-way accidents pose a significant threat to drivers and other motorists because they often result in fatalities. In another tragic case, a fatal wrong-way accident on I-95 resulted in the death of a motorcycle. A recent report published the 911 calls that came in after the accident. The details of the collision demonstrate the devastation caused by wrong-way collisions and the high-risk of fatalities.

wrong-way.jpg

According to witnesses, a 41-year-old motorcyclist was struck head-on by a 20-year-old in an Acura Integra who was driving the wrong-way. The motorcyclist was killed in the accident but the driver survived. Our Fort Lauderdale motorcycle injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of victims and their families. Understanding the trends in highway accidents can help to prevent future collisions and injuries. This case highlights the frequency and danger of wrong-way accidents and is a reminder to all drivers on the road to be wary of signage when entering the freeway.

Continue reading "I-95 Wrong Way Collision Kills Fort Lauderdale Motorcylist" »

Fort Lauderdale Bus Accident Sends Six to Hospital

August 11, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

Accidents involving public transportation can result in significant injuries, wrongful death, and complex litigation involving multiple plaintiffs and defendants. In a recent South Florida case, a bus crash near Fort Lauderdale sent six victims to the hospital. According to reports, the accident involved a city bus as well as a four-door Jeep. In addition to the number of injuries arising from the accident, the crash left the Jeep heavily damaged. This case is a reminder of the potential dangers of bus accidents, as well as the complications that may arise in personal injury litigation.

ambulance.jpg

Nationwide, public transportation companies, as well as city buses, have been the target of lawsuits for serious injury or accidental death. These cases can be complicated as they often involve multiple plaintiffs and formidable defendants. Our Fort Lauderdale bus accident attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of victims and maximizing compensation for pain and suffering, medical costs, lost wages, long-term care needs, funeral expenses, and other personal losses or property damage rising from a collision. We will take the time to review the facts of every case and identify all responsible parties.

Continue reading "Fort Lauderdale Bus Accident Sends Six to Hospital" »

Valedez v. Watkins Motor Lines - Zero Fault Verdict in Crash Case Reversed by Federal Appeals Court

August 8, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

Two commercial drivers were involved in a wreck on a highway exit ramp that resulted in serious and lasting injuries to one.
highway2.jpg
A lawsuit was filed by the injured driver, and a jury returned a verdict finding zero fault by both parties. But that verdict was recently reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, after the panel determined the lower court had allowed improper admission of evidence at trial that likely had a substantial influence on the jury's decision.

Broward County truck accident lawyers understand the primary dispute in Valedez v. Watkins Motor Lines, et al. was testimony derived from the investigating officer's crash report, which was barred from the evidence prior to trial.

Continue reading "Valedez v. Watkins Motor Lines - Zero Fault Verdict in Crash Case Reversed by Federal Appeals Court" »

Harris v. FedEx - Truck Crash Lawsuit Hinges on Trucker's Employment Status

August 4, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

When it comes to holding a company responsible for the negligent actions of its employee, there are several possible legal theories that may apply. The first involves holding the company indirectly (or vicariously) liable, and the second involves the assertion of direct negligence by the company, via negligent hiring, training and/or supervision.
trucks.jpg
Our Hollywood truck accident lawyers know that in crashes where commercial vehicles are involved, determining to what extent an employer is responsible is important. While drivers may carry individual liability insurance, to which injured parties may be entitled, corporate insurance policies for commercial vehicles tend to have higher limits, meaning the total amount recoverable by injured parties is likely to be higher.

However, before you can collect, your attorney is going to have to prove the driver worked for the company. This may seem simple enough. But the reality is, there are all kinds of employment arrangements, and the type the driver had in your case could be critical in determining whether you are entitled to seek damages from the employer.

Continue reading "Harris v. FedEx - Truck Crash Lawsuit Hinges on Trucker's Employment Status" »

Hit and Run Driver at Large After Triple Fatal

July 25, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

Hit-and-run accidents are an ongoing threat to Florida’s pedestrians, bikers and motorists. Florida has one of the highest hit-and-run rates in the nation. In a recent case, police are on the search for the driver of a vehicle that struck and killed three women. Police reports indicated that the suspect was traveling at high speeds in a Chrysler when it struck a car carrying three women at the entrance of a parking lot. The crash caused the gas tank to rupture and the vehicle was consumed in flames. According to Reuters, all of the women were single mothers and left behind a total of six children.

car%20accident.jpg

This is a tragic case that should raise awareness about the danger of hit and runs and the challenging nature of accident investigations and liability. In any accident case, it is important to consult with advocates who can help to identify responsible parties and hold negligent drivers accountable. Our Palm Beach car accident attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals and families who have been impacted by injury or death. We are dedicated to raising awareness to prevent future accidents and to ensuring that negligent drivers are held liable, both criminally and in civil court.

Continue reading "Hit and Run Driver at Large After Triple Fatal " »

Innovative Technologies to Prevent Child Hot Car Deaths

July 20, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

With recent tragedies making headlines, more parents are becoming aware of the dangers of leaving their children in hot cars.

In some cases, parents forgetfully have left their children behind or did not realize that their children crawled into a hot car until it is too late. Now innovation is responding to the dangers of hot cars with technology that could prevent accidental death. According to a report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, new technologies are making advancements to prevent heat stroke and to alarm parents of children who may have been left behind.

Ignition.jpg

Researchers have found that once the windows are up and air conditioning has been turned off, a car can quickly rise in temperature, over 120 degrees on an 80 degree day. Leaving children even for a few minutes can be deadly. Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys are dedicated to raising awareness to prevent future accidents and injuries. We are also abreast of recent trends and innovations to ensure car and road safety. Here are some technological advancements, highlighted by CBS News, that could help remind parents and other caretakers to ensure children are out of a parked vehicle:

Continue reading "Innovative Technologies to Prevent Child Hot Car Deaths" »

Miccosukee Tribe v. Bermudez - Broad Theories of Vicarious Liability

July 15, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

As a general rule, civil courts both in Florida and across the country have held liability for third-party actions is not allowed, save for rare circumstances.
drivefast3.jpg
In crash cases, our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys know there are a myriad of exceptions. These include cases where a car owner can be held liable for negligently entrusting their vehicle to someone they knew or should have known would not operate it safely. It could also extend to situations where a person served alcohol to a minor, who subsequently got behind the wheel and caused injury. Employers, too, might be held vicariously liable for crashes involving employees if it can be proven the company failed to properly vet, train or supervise the worker.

But should a third-party who aids in the legal defense of another be held liable?

Initially, a circuit court judge in Miami-Dade answered affirmatively to this question in Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of South Florida, etc. v. Bermudez, et al.. However, Florida's Third District Court of Appeal reversed, finding such a precedent opened the door for a host of troubling scenarios, though the justices noted sympathy for the plaintiff and questioned why the tribe wouldn't simply pay what was owed. Still, there was no legal basis, the court ruled, to force the defendant to pay.

Continue reading "Miccosukee Tribe v. Bermudez - Broad Theories of Vicarious Liability" »

Tracy Morgan Sues Walmart Over Truck Accident Injuries

July 10, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

Walmart is now facing a lawsuit after the tragic trucking accident that left comedian Tracy Morgan severely injured and killed another passenger. The New Jersey accident in June made national headlines after a truck driver slammed a tractor trailer into the rear end of the comedian’s limousine. The lawsuit, filed on July 10th in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey, was filed by Morgan and three other survivors, naming Walmart as the defendant. According to the complaint, Walmart was negligent and responsible for the driver that slammed into the limousine.

self-driving-google-car-2.jpg

In the event of a trucking accident, it is important to conduct an independent investigation to determine the cause of the accident and identify all responsible parties. Our Broward County car accident attorneys are dedicated to uncovering the facts about every case and in identifying negligent individuals and entities. In the event that a vehicle was owned by a defendant company, such as Walmart, it is important to consult with experienced advocates who can move aggressively to protect your rights. In such cases, the driver is considered an agent of the company and both can be held liable for accidents and injuries.

Continue reading "Tracy Morgan Sues Walmart Over Truck Accident Injuries" »

Gray v. Richbell - Requirements for Compulsory Medical Exam

July 6, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

The tragic death of a young woman following a Florida car crash prompted her parents to file a lawsuit against the driver who struck her head-on after she was rear-ended while attempting to pass a semi-truck.
driving3.jpg
In preparation for that lawsuit, the plaintiffs requested the defendant undergo a compulsory medical exam, asserting the defendant's age, mental state and alleged dementia (as asserted by a plaintiff's expert witness) were factors in the crash.

West Palm Beach car accident lawyers know it's common for compulsory medical exams to be requested of plaintiffs in injury cases. This is because the plaintiff's injuries are an essential element of the case, upon which issues of causation and damages rest.

Continue reading "Gray v. Richbell - Requirements for Compulsory Medical Exam" »

Spaid v. Integon Indemnity Corp. - 1st DCA Remands Crash Case for Ambiguous Insurance Policy

June 29, 2014 by Dean H. Freeman

An ambiguously-worded insurance policy was cited by Florida's First District Court of Appeal in its reversal of an earlier summary judgment in favor of the insurer. Instead, the court ruled, the plaintiff's request for coverage of all reasonable medical expenses related to the crash - without limit of liability - should be honored.
blackcar.jpg
The case of Spaid v. Integon Indemnity Corp. is just one of many examples in personal injury cases where the exact language of the insurance policy requires careful analysis by an experienced Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer.

According to the background facts provided in the court records, the crash in question occurred in February 2011 in Pensacola. The plaintiff/policy holder was injured and incurred more than $10,000 in medical bills as a result.

Continue reading "Spaid v. Integon Indemnity Corp. - 1st DCA Remands Crash Case for Ambiguous Insurance Policy" »