Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog
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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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When two vehicles collide at relatively low speeds, it can result in substantial injury.traffic8

Consider that the average vehicle weighs about 2,000 pounds. If it hits a stationary object at just 10 miles-per-hour, the impact force is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.7 tons.  And obviously, if we’re talking about a larger vehicles, such as a sport utility vehicles, it’s going to hit with even more force. Additionally, physics dictates that a person inside a vehicle travels faster than the vehicle itself when it is struck, so the occupants end up absorbing a disproportionate amount of force.

But none of this is going to stop a defendant from arguing that because the crash was low-impact, the plaintiff couldn’t possibly have suffered the injuries he or she is alleging.  Continue reading →

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The family of a man killed when logging equipment from an over-sized vehicle toppled onto his vehicle on a bridge over the Mississippi River prevailed recently in an appeal by the logging company and owner.missouribridge

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the jury’s award of $3 million in damages in Brown v. Davis, rejecting defense arguments that decedent’s own negligence in speeding broke the chain of causation set in motion by defendant’s failure to stop decedent’s car from entering the bridge in the first place.

This was an over-sized vehicle and it physically could not traverse the bridge without one wheel being partially over the center line. That meant opposite-direction traffic had to be stopped before the truck could proceed. Continue reading →

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The Florida Supreme Court came out strongly against insurance companies that delay, deny and low-ball legitimate claims in the recent decision, Fridman v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Ill.gavel21

At issue on appeal before the court was whether an auto insurance company could file a confession of judgment on the eve of trial and avoid a bad faith insurance claim. The answer was no.

This was a case where an insurance company dragged its feet for four years, denying an uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claim. Even when the plaintiff filed notice of intent to file a bad faith lawsuit, the company didn’t respond. And then when the plaintiff filed the lawsuit, the company still didn’t respond, and nor did the company answer when plaintiff offered to settle for the policy limits of $50,000. It wasn’t until a month before the trial was scheduled that insurer sent a confession of judgment and a $50,000 check. Continue reading →

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If you are involved in an auto accident with another driver who is reckless or careless, establishing liability for injuries is fairly simple.carcrashinsurance

Minor damages are paid through one’s own insurer, per Florida’s no-fault rules. More substantial accidents may require claims or lawsuits against the other driver; their insurer should cover those damages. Where that driver lacks auto insurance or doesn’t have adequate coverage, drivers can file a claim for uninsured/ underinsured motorist benefits through their own carrier.

But what happens if the car that hits you doesn’t have a driver? The liability question is a legal snag regulators say must be resolved before these cars  hit the market en masse. Continue reading →

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