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Occasionally our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys are asked, “A drunk car hit me? Now what?”

First we need to clarify: While the car may have been the object that struck you or your vehicle, it was in fact the driver who was impaired. It is also the driver who would be held accountable if you’re asking what to do if a “drunk car hit me.” drunk car hit me

The good news is Florida law enforcement officials launch regular crackdowns on drunk drivers over holiday weekends – necessary because drunk driving accidents in Florida tend to be higher over these high travel periods. NBC-2 in Cape Coral-Fort Myers on Florida’s Gulf Coast announced numerous police departments plus the Lee County Sheriff’s Office would be launching their own, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign over the recent Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a national effort repeated by law enforcement agencies across the country. Heightened enforcement has been shown to reduce drunk driving crashes, injuries and wrongful deaths in Florida, but of course they don’t eliminate them entirely.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 2.1 percent of Florida drivers admit to driving after having too much to drink, higher than the national average of 1.9 percent.  Continue reading →

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With the Thanksgiving travel rush now over and December holidays upon us, our South Florida injury lawyers sought to answer a question we often hear: What holiday has the most accidents? what holiday has the most accidents

Of course, it depends on the type of car accident we’re talking about, and the area of the country has a lot to do with it too. For instance, if we’re talking about what holiday has the most accidents in parking lots, those peak in December, though Black Friday is ripe for such collisions too.

An Osceola County car accident on the Florida Turnpike left one person dead when a Ford Explorer driver carrying 10 passengers swerved to avoid another sport utility vehicle that abruptly changed lanes, causing the Explorer to flip multiple times. Nine people – including five children – were injured, and one died, according to FOX35 Orlando. Another crash the same day, same county, same stretch of Florida Turnpike also proved fatal, when a driver reportedly made an abrupt lane change and was rear-ended. That driver suffered serious injuries. His passenger, age 28, died. The other motorist suffered minor injuries. (As our car accident attorneys in Orlando can explain, there is a presumption in rear-end crashes that the rear driver was at fault, that presumption can be rebutted if the driver in the lead makes a move that is wholly unexpected or unwarranted, contributing to or causing the crash.)  Continue reading →

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If you drive a motor vehicle in Florida, chances are that when you arranged for auto insurance, as required by law, your policy came standard with uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage (also sometimes referred to by acronym UM/UIM coverage). As Palm Beach car accident lawyers know, Florida law requires all insurance polices that provide bodily injury liability coverage to also provide UM/ UIM coverage – unless one has supplemental coverage that already provides it OR the insured supplies his or her written rejection of the coverage on behalf of all insureds under the policy. Anyone leasing a car for longer than a year has the sole privilege to either reject UM/UIM coverage or to lower the limits.Palm Beach car accident attorney

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage will help cover your injury losses if those at-fault have no insurance at all, or in the case of a hit-and-run crash. Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is defined as a crash scenario wherein the at-fault driver is insured according to statutory minimum levels (notoriously low in Florida) but insufficiently to pay the injured person’s losses.

While more drivers have UM/UIM coverage than not, that doesn’t mean getting the auto insurance company to pay up is easy. Palm Beach car accident attorneys know the reality is all insurance companies are loyal their bottom line – not you, not matter how long you’ve been a faithful customer. This is why having an experienced car accident lawyer working with you from the start when you file your claim is important.

As outlined in F.S. 627.727, order to prevail in a UM/UIM claim, you must not only prove that you have coverage, but that the other driver(s) were negligent and liable for your injuries, that your injuries were serious enough to meet the “serious injury threshold” to step outside of the state’s no-fault system and that the at-fault driver(s) lacked adequate auto insurance to adequately cover your crash-related damages.

Hiring an injury lawyer with a track record of success in car accident settlement negotiations and in the courtroom is imperative. Continue reading →

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Florida Supreme Court justices recently weighed a Florida bad faith auto insurance claim in the case of a deadly crash 12 years ago. In a divided ruling, the court affirmed the jury’s decision, which concluded an auto insurance company acted in “bad faith” the way it handled a wrongful death claim against its insured. In a 4-3 ruling, justices agreed with jurors that the auto insurer improperly exposed the policyholder to an $8.5 million verdict issued reached in a fatal car accident claim. Florida bad faith auto insurance attorney

How Does Florida Define Bad Faith Auto Insurance? 

Florida’s bad faith insurance law is spelled out in F.S. 624.155, which creates a clear, unambiguous means by which any person (including third parties) injured as a result of an insurer’s bad faith dealings has grounds to file a bad faith claim. Third-party bad faith claims are those that can be established by showing violation of the Florida Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Act. Some examples of bad faith insurance as explained in provisions of that law include:

  • Materially misrepresenting to an insured or any interested person the proceeds payable under the contract or policy in order to impact the effecting settlement of such claims.
  • Failing to acknowledge and act promptly to communicate on issues pertaining to claims.
  • Denying claims without conducting a reasonable investigation based on the information available.
  • Failing to affirm or deny full or partial coverage, and if a denial or partial coverage, give a reasonable explanation of why.
  • Failing to promptly notify the insured of any additional information necessary to process the claim.

Florida recognizes claims for third-party common law bad faith (as noted in the 1938 Florida Supreme Court case of Auto Mut. Indem. Co. v. Shaw). Such claims stem directly from the insured’s claim (as an insurer owes no duty of good faith directly to an injured third-party). Continue reading →

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A Florida car accident injury lawsuit against an uninsured motorist coverage insurer  will proceed once more, following a state appellate court ruling that the trial court improperly tossed the claim and deprived plaintiff of the right to refile. Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeal held the lower court abused its discretion by imposing the “extreme” sanction of dismissal with prejudice after plaintiff’s willful disobedience in going ahead with a scheduled surgery before undergoing a compulsory medical exam (or CME) at defendant insurer’s request. Florida car accident injury lawyer

Although plaintiff’s injury claim can proceed, our car accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale know disregarding a court’s order can be fatal to a civil case, and is generally never advisable. Even the 5th DCA didn’t disagree that what the plaintiff did was out of line and potentially worthy of sanctions. It was just that the dismissal with no chance to refile is one of the most severe sanctions that can be imposed – and here, the punishment didn’t fit the crime.

According to court records in Faris v. Southern-Owners Insurance Company, plaintiff filed his car accident injury lawsuit following a September 2014 crash, wherein an uninsured motorist ran into his car while they were both traveling on a highway in Georgia. Fortunately, plaintiff had auto insurance through his own insurer that came with $250,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. Unfortunately, the auto insurer denied the claim. Plaintiff then filed a breach of contract claim, alleging his insurer wrongfully denied his claim.

Sanctions in Florida Car Accident Injury Lawsuit for Failure to Comply With Discovery Requests Continue reading →

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A rash of early-morning school bus accidents across the country – in Florida, Indiana, Mississippi and Pennsylvania – over the course of a single week have highlighted the serious scourge of distracted driving. Florida bus accident attorneys understand these incidents collectively ended in the deaths of five students, while six others were hospitalized. school bus accidents

Florida law very clearly outlines the rules for drivers encountering school bus stops. F.S. 316.172 requires any driver who approaches a school bus displaying a stop signal to bring their vehicle to a full stop and not pass the bus until the signal has been withdrawn. The only exceptions are motorists driving on a divided highway with an unpaved space of at least 5 feet, a raised medium or physical barrier; they aren’t required to stop when traveling the opposite direction.

Tougher Penalties for Florida School Bus Accidents  Continue reading →

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Florida is a “no-fault” state when it comes to auto insurance and how people are compensated for car accidents. To be crystal clear though: Fault still matters in Florida crash litigation. Jurors are asked to “score” each party’s fault. Based on the comparative negligence finding, total damages plaintiff can collect are proportionately reduced. It’s rarely “all-or-nothing,” but an experienced car accident lawyer will work diligently to dispel or minimize any allegations of comparative negligence.car accident lawyer

Recently, a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer at Freeman Injury Law cleared a major fault-related hurdle when he was able to secure a multi-million-dollar settlement on behalf of a crash victim seriously injured in a wrong-way, head-on collision.

Let’s start with the fact that wrong-way car accidents are relatively rare compared to other types of crashes. Hundreds of thousands of crashes are reported to police every year, and of those, just 2,600 in 2016 were wrong-way crashes, many involving drivers who are novice, elderly or impaired. They are the sort of occurrence that just should never happen. From the perspective of a car accident lawyer, fault in wrong-way crashes is typically straightforward – and all on the wrong-way driver. But Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyer Christopher Lassen‘s case was a bit more complicated. Continue reading →

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If you’re in a serious car accident in South Florida resulting in damage to the spinal cord or paralysis, a consult with a spinal cord injury attorney is imperative. Depending on the circumstances, you may be have numerous options for compensation. Given the disabling and permanent nature of such injuries, full and fair damages recovery is critically important. Sometimes, all it takes is filing a claim, such as with the state’s brain and spinal cord injury program, as outlined in F.S. 381.76. In other cases, it may unfortunately require a drawn-out spinal cord injury lawsuit. Such claims may still resolve in settlement prior to trial, but a dedicated spinal cord injury lawyer may be needed to help ensure the compensation you get is complete and equitable. spinal cord injury attorney Florida

In addition to incurring much higher medical bills than the average Broward County car accident victim, those with spinal cord injuries are much more likely to require ongoing physical rehabilitation to cope with their new impairments. Many tend to find it extremely challenging if not impossible to return to their previous line of work. Many a Florida spinal cord injury plaintiff has asserted they weren’t able to return to work at all. Most patients need some form of ongoing psychological therapy to mentally and emotionally process the changes this will mean for their lives.

The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center reports annually yearly expenses just for health care for an average 25-year-old with paraplegia is about $2.3 million. This does not include indirect losses in wages, fringe benefits and productivity, which vary depending on one’s neurological impairment, pre-injury employment history and education, which average out to an additional $72,000 a year.  Continue reading →

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When it comes to hired driver accidents (such as those involving Uber and Lyft drivers, taxis and limousine services), Florida personal injury compensation guidelines and expectations will depend heavily on a number of factors. Among important elements: The type of service, whether the driver was an independent contractor or employee, whether a vehicle defect was a factor (and if so, how long ago the vehicle was manufactured), how many other people were hurt and how much fault is assigned each motorist if more than one vehicle was involved.Fort Lauderdale personal injury compensation claim

Recently, a hired driver accident in New York that resulted in 20 deaths, including all 17 passengers, the driver and two pedestrians, raised questions about whether the limousine company (a national firm with locations in Florida) had the appropriate level of auto insurance and whether the driver (who reportedly ran a red light) was properly licensed. There is a reason why the personal injury compensation guidelines pertaining to commercial and for-hire vehicles is so much higher, and it’s precisely because such crashes can result in utter devastation.

The Sarasota Herald Tribune recently asserted that the limousine crash in New York isn’t an “isolated incident,” detailing one incident in August 2016 when an Uber passenger picked up from the Tampa airport on his way home had to leap from the moving car on I-275 after the vehicle caught fire and the driver screamed the brakes weren’t working. The driver was killed. The passenger was rushed to the intensive care unit’s burn center, where doctors gave him a 20 percent chance of survival. He was able to recover about $1 million in medical expenses, but had no legal recourse to recover damages from the vehicle manufacturer (thanks to the Statute of Repose, barring product liability lawsuits for any vehicle made more than 12 years earlier). This was despite the fact the vehicle had been recalled for a faulty switch that could cause fires and electrical failures. Though they did not pursue a personal injury compensation claim against the driver, they did file one against the car service, learning it had minimal liability insurance. Continue reading →

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A teenager in Weston recently suffered serious head injuries when the bicycle he was riding on his way to school was struck by a car while crossing the intersection of Bonaventure Boulevard and Orchard Road. Authorities reported the student was not wearing a bicycle helmet at the time of the collision – something long-time traumatic brain injury attorney Dean Freeman has stressed for years as an imperative for bicycle safety. It’s necessary to point out that while F.S. 316.2065(3)(d) requires bicycle passengers under 16 to wear a properly-fitted, federally-approved safety helmet, state law expressly forbids using one’s failure to do so as evidence of negligence or contributory negligence. traumatic brain injury attorney

Local ABC-10 News reported the car driver remained at the scene of the crash (something unfortunately not all do, though required by law, as bicycling accidents are commonly associated with hit-and-run drivers). Investigators did not indicate whether the woman would be cited for failure-to-yield to the injured teen bicyclists, who was airlifted to a hospital in Hollywood and later upgraded to fair condition.

Fort Lauderdale Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney Underscores Florida Bicycle Safety

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in just one recent year alone, more than 1,000 bicyclists died and nearly 467,000 were injured as a result of bicycle-related injuries, many of those involving some type of traumatic brain injury. Florida leads the pack. Continue reading →

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