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He survived the loss of both legs due to crushing injuries sustained in a crash as he was helping his Uber driver move a stalled car onto the shoulder. Now, a 23-year-old California man is suing Uber, the Uber driver, Uber’s insurance carrier and the driver of the vehicle that struck him. car accident attorney

According to local news reports, the victim was an Uber customer passenger in a newer model Jeep around 1 a.m. in March when the Jeep ran out of gas. The driver attempted to coast onto the shoulder, but instead the vehicle came to a rest in one of the lanes of the freeway. Both the driver and the passenger got out and started to push the vehicle onto the shoulder. It was at that time a second driver lost control of his vehicle and struck the customer. The severity of crushing injuries required that both legs be amputated.

Plaintiff’s personal injury lawsuit, which his injury lawyers have valued at between $25 million and $50 million, alleges the driver was not fit to operate the vehicle, and that this was a “substantial factor” in causing him to be in a position where he was hit.  Continue reading →

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Emergency vehicles are given special privileges and legal protections in Florida, specifically as outlined in F.S. 316.126. However, that does not mean that cities, municipalities or states (which generally own/ operate emergency vehicles as part of public service) are immune from liability when public servants are involved in collisions that result in injury. In fact, part of that statute specifically indicates, “This section does not diminish or enlarge any rules of evidence or liability in any case involving the operation of an emergency vehicle” and further, “does not relieve the driver of an emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.” car accident attorney

Recently in a case out of West Virginia, the state supreme court there affirmed a trial court ruling in favor of a plaintiff, denying defendant a new trial in this personal injury lawsuit.

According to court records, a city police officer was assigned to work at a local high school. Shortly after arriving, he had to return home to attend to a homeowner emergency. After briefly meeting with a plumber, he left to return to work. While en route, he overheard a radio dispatch from another officer, in distress and pursuing a suspect on foot. The officer activated his lights and siren and traveled at a high rate of speed. Meanwhile, plaintiff pulled out from a parking lot into the same travel lane as the officer. The officer, traveling 65 mph, skidded more than 150 feet before rear-ending plaintiff. An investigating deputy sheriff testified that the skid marks and speed of the officer’s vehicle indicated plaintiff could not have seen the patrol car when he entered the roadway.  Continue reading →

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The majority of Florida car accident claims are settled prior to a trial, and one form of settlement is called a “high-low agreement.” This is when the parties in the case agree that no matter what the outcome of a case, defendant will pay a minimum amount – but no more than an agreed-upon maximum amount. This takes some of the “all-or-nothing” guesswork out of the trial process, and ensures a plaintiff will receive some amount of compensation no matter what. car accident attorney Orlando

However, injury lawyers can explain it might still be risky, and it must be done with all parties – including insurers – being appropriately informed.

Although certain procedures and timelines can vary from state-to-state, the same basic principles of high-low agreements typically apply across the board. In a recent case out of New Jersey, a plaintiff who agreed to a high-low agreement ran into trouble by failing to inform his uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage carrier of the arbitration, high-low agreement, completed jury trial or verdict. When it came time to collect, the UM/UIM insurer refused.  Continue reading →

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The myth of the so-called “professional plaintiff” has been pushed by certain interest groups intent on tort reform legislation, which ultimately harms those who most need relief. car accident attorney

It’s not that auto insurance fraud is an impossibility or never-event, but it’s far less common than defense attorneys and some others would have you believe. Unfortunately, sometimes this misconception has a real impact on actual victims.

Recently, the Hawaii Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s judgment in favor of a car accident defendant whose attorneys repeatedly raised the question of a plaintiff’s “motive” for filing the claim in the first place, repeatedly insinuating – despite a lack of conviction or even formal accusation – that plaintiff had committed workers’ compensation insurance fraud. The state high court ruled the “plaintiff’s motives for bringing suit were irrelevant to the merits of her claim and her credibility as a witness.” At minimum, the trial court in the case should have granted the plaintiff’s requested jury instruction underscoring the fact that her motivation for filing the lawsuit was barred from jurors’ consideration. What matters, ultimately, is the merits of the claim.

An experienced injury lawyer who routinely handles car accident cases understands the damage these kinds of insinuations can have on a jury, and also how to effectively challenge them.  Continue reading →

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Auto insurance companies have a responsibility to defend their clients when they are accused of liability. Almost all auto insurance policies make these two promises to their insureds:

  • A promise to indemnify, which is pay for the insured’s legal liability, up to the policy limits;
  • A promise to defend, meaning the insurer hires legal counsel and defends insured against the lawsuit and cover legal fees. Orlando car accident attorney

If an insurer is faced with a covered third-party claim, the insurer is responsible to defend the claim and pay any monetary award entered for that covered claim. Sounds straightforward, but in practice, insurers don’t always make it so easy. There are often exceptions and rules – not all of which may be explicitly spelled out on the policy. When disputes arise, it can impact the third-party case, filed by the person injured in the auto accident.

One such dispute was recently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, following a serious crash in Illinois. It involves a case of several teenagers and a “borrowed” car. The car belonged to a 16-year-old girl, who borrowed it on August 2013 night in question to go to a party. Another, also 16 and defendant in this action, ultimately obtained the keys to that vehicle. How she got those keys was in dispute, as the girl whose mother owned the car said she never gave them to her, but rather to another friend. Nonetheless, defendant left the party with that vehicle and picked up several passengers – plaintiff among them.  Continue reading →

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Product liability in vehicle crashes can be difficult to establish, but is nonetheless an important legal theory to explore following a collision. Vehicle makers – just like the producers of any consumer product – have a responsibility to make sure it is reasonably safe. In general, vehicles can be defective if they are unreasonably dangerous by design or defectively manufactured. Some claims also stem from insufficient consumer warnings/ failure to warn. wrongful death attorney

Some of the common vehicle defects we’ve seen in Orlando car accident cases include faulty:

  • Engines
  • Brakes
  • Tires/ wheels
  • Fuel systems
  • Ignition
  • Airbags
  • Body/ frame

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates about 2 percent of vehicle crashes can be attributed in whole or in part to a vehicle defect. Even if a vehicle defect isn’t the cause of a crash, it can be the reason injuries are far worse. For example, a poorly-placed fuel tank may not cause two vehicles to collide, but it may leave one of those vehicles more prone to a deadly fire when that fuel tank is struck, resulting in far more severe injuries – or wrongful death – that may otherwise have been avoided.  Continue reading →

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The Illinois Supreme Court has determined the “named driver exclusion” contained in uninsured/ underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) auto insurance policies is invalid for violation of the state’s mandatory insurance requirements and public policy where the exclusion bars coverage for the named insured. Unfortunately, the exclusion still stands for motorists in Florida.car accident attorney West Palm Beach

The named driver exclusion (also sometimes referred to as the “designated persons coverage exclusion”) can make it very difficult for certain plaintiffs to obtain insurance coverage for their injuries. In general, it is an endorsement added to an insurance policy stating that a specifically named individual with access to your insured vehicle will NOT be covered by the insurance provider to drive the insured vehicle. That means the vehicle’s liability insurance or UM/UIM coverage will not cover a crash if that driver is operating the insured car. Instead, what usually happens is the driver and the owner of the vehicle who allowed that excluded individual form the policy CAN be held liable for damages the at-fault driver caused.

You can see where this would create major problems, not just for the excluded driver, but the insured who allowed that driver behind the wheel and anyone else involved in a crash with them. Pursuing a claim for damages directly against those involved – without insurance coverage – is a tall task because even if you win, there may be slim chances you’ll actually collect those damages. It can leave innocent motorists without remedy for their injuries. Continue reading →

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Crashes in construction zones are an ongoing and serious problem – in Florida and beyond. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports in a single recent year, there were nearly 97,000 crashes in work zones – which represented an 8 percent increase over the previous year and a stunning 43 percent increase in the span of just two years. A crash occurs in a work zone every 5.4 minutes. For the roughly 70 work zone crashes that happen daily, more than 26 percent result in at least one injury.car accident lawyer

In many cases, driver error is to blame. Drivers are distracted, impaired or speeding through construction zones with disregard for workers and warning signs. However, sometimes these car accidents can involve errors on the part of the construction companies and failure to give drivers clear warning of dangerous conditions.

This is what was alleged in a fatal car accident lawsuit recently before the Delaware Supreme Court. It involved allegations of an unsafe road condition known as “raveling.” As explained by Asphalt Magazine, this is a type of pavement distress identified as the wearing away of aggregate particles from the asphalt cement. It can be caused by use of a poor quality mixture, inadequate compaction or dislodging by certain types of heavy traffic.  Continue reading →

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Drunk driving remains one of the leading causes of serious car accidents resulting in injury or death. Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance, but if you meet the “serious injury threshold,” as outlined in F.S. 627.737, you can collect more than just personal injury protection (PIP) benefits by pursuing action against the at-fault driver. What many drunk driving victims don’t realize is that in addition to this, they may have the option of a third-party liability claim. drunk driving injury

While it’s true drunk drivers are generally the only ones criminally charged, civil liability is different. Third parties can be accountable in civil court for the negligence and even criminal conduct of someone else if they breach a duty of care that in turn allowed the injurious incident to occur.

In Florida drunk driving cases, such third party defendants may include: Continue reading →

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The sunroof is a popular vehicle feature, especially in Florida, where it can be enjoyed virtually year-round. However, a recent court case and New York Times report have highlighted safety concerns about the sunroof, particularly in rollover crashes and even when the window is closed. car accident attorney

For anyone who may not be familiar, a sunroof is a panel on the roof of a car that can be opened for additional ventilation and light. The panel is non-removable, though some can be opened completely to allow for an open window in the roof. A moonroof is a type of sunroof that will tilt open slightly to allow in fresh air, but won’t open completely like a sunroof. It’s estimated 7 million (or 40 percent of all 2017 model cars and light trucks) are sold with a sunroof, compared to 33 percent for the 2011 model year.

The issue, as the Times reported, is that while these features have gained immense popularity, the government regulations regarding them have remained unchanged – which is to say, there are no regulations. It’s estimated there are hundreds of sunroof ejections that happen each year, many of those resulting in serious injury or death. Some automakers are even introducing “panoramic” sunroofs, which stretch the entire span of the vehicle’s top. This is touted as a luxury feature, but the reality is it can be extremely dangerous, particularly when made with glass that isn’t laminated. Some car makers have on their own made laminated safety glass standard for newer models. Others are working on devices that will help reduce the odds of ejection in the event of a rollover. However, those features aren’t required and motorists and passengers continue to be at heightened risk in the event of a rollover because numerous studies have shown vehicle occupants are safest in a rollover if they can stay in their vehicle. Continue reading →

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