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There a long-standing reluctance of many injury plaintiffs to pursue claims against their friends or loved ones. Part of this is a natural instinctual reaction when we know someone didn’t truly mean for us to get hurt and they feel awful about it. However, our Orlando truck accident attorneys know it’s also partially fueled by the long-term successful campaign by tort reform advocates to paint personal injury claims and lawsuits as little more than efforts by injury lawyers to exploit your misfortune or tragedy, with many seeking damages far in excess of actual losses. truck accident

The truth of the matter is, advocates of tort reform (which aims to raise the bar on the standards claims need to meet AND impose damage caps) are almost always those shrilling for the insurance industry and large corporations. It’s been proven time and again that larger claims sought by individuals who are severely hurt do not typically have a substantial impact on these sizable entities. It also hasn’t proven to be an effective means to compel more doctors or businesses or to lower insurance and health care cost rates. What it does do is cause the people most profoundly affected to suffer the most. A fair amount of those costs get passed on to taxpayers too. Injury lawyers DO need to make a living, but given that we all work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we aren’t paid attorneys’ fees unless we prevail in the case, we must carefully vet each case to make certain it’s likely to be worth our time – and yours. This alone significantly undercuts most instances of “frivolous claims.”

As for lawsuits against friends and family members, it’s important to point out that you aren’t actually seeking monetary damages from the individual. What you are after is the insurance compensation – theirs, yours and/ or third parties, depending on the circumstances. This compensation comes direct from insurance polices that are bought and paid for to cover losses in these exact circumstances. Most individuals don’t have the assets to pay what these claims are worth anyway, but you can’t name an insurer directly in a car accident lawsuit (unless it’s a bad faith claim). Instead, the named defendant is your friend or loved one. However, it is the insurance company that covers the cost of their defense and ultimately pays the damages if awarded. Continue reading →

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Florida truck accidents can inflict catastrophic injuries, devastating families and imposing enormous costs on society as a whole. While debate is bubbling about driverless truck technology and other futuristic advances that might help us come close to ending truck accidents altogether, those visions are a long way from reality. Furthermore, there are some simple and far more cost effective ways to make trucks safer now. One of those, proposed by federal lawmakers earlier this year, is a mandate to install tractor-trailer side underride guards.truck accident attorney

Consumer Reports noted in a recent article that such low-tech upgrade could save hundreds of lives annually by preventing smaller passenger vehicles from ending up partially or completely underneath the truck. It essentially works like a metal bumper, hanging from the sides and rear of the trailer so cars won’t get smashed underneath in the event of a truck accident.

In 2016, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported there were 250 deaths resulting from a vehicle smashing into the rear of a tractor-trailer and 305 that involved hitting a large truck from the side. Testing by that agency showed a side underride guard was effective in blocking a passenger vehicle from becoming wedged under the side of the truck when the vehicles were traveling at 40 mph. When side underride guards on trucks are strong, they can slash the risk of serious injury in approximately three-fourths of all cases. Many are calling for legislative action to make this a required feature on all large trucks in the U.S.  Continue reading →

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Following the death of a high school basketball player and her boyfriend in a single-car accident shortly after the pair left the home of her coach, who provided alcohol, the girl’s mother sued the school district for liability. However, the State of Washington Supreme Court ruled in this case, the school district could not be held liable.drunk driving attorney

Although the court noted the actions of the coach were “so extremely indifferent to the risk of injury to (decedents) that someone must be liable for (plaintiff’s) claims.” However, plaintiff, as the representative of her daughter’s estate, did not choose to bring action against the coach. Instead, she brought a number of claims against the school district for direct liability and vicarious liability for the negligence of its employee. Direct negligence claims included negligent hiring and retention, negligent training and negligent supervision. On these and the vicarious liability claims (for which the negligent employee would have needed to be acting in the course and scope of employment), the court held plaintiff failed to present genuine issues of material fact as to the school district’s liability, and thus the district was entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.

Before delving further, we should note that Florida’s own dram shop and social liability laws when it comes to drunk driving accidents are rather limited also. F.S. 768.125 holds that a person who sells or furnishes alcohol to someone of lawful drinking age OR who is not known to be habitually addicted to alcohol won’t be liable for damages resulting from that person’s intoxication. (Here, both decedents were minors under 21, so it may have been possible to hold him personally liable for what occurred, but the question is still whether his employer would have been responsible.) Florida also has an “open house parties” statute, F.S. 856.015, that holds a person who owns or controls a residence may not allow an open house party to occur at the residence if alcohol or drugs are being possessed by people known to controlling party to be a minor and where the person fails to take reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of the alcohol or drugs. A first offense is a second-degree misdemeanor; second offense OR one that results in serious bodily injury or death is a first-degree misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year in jail). In addition to a criminal conviction, one could be found negligent per se (meaning automatically negligent, regardless of whether they acted reasonably).  Continue reading →

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A recent decision by the Kansas Supreme Court held that a landowner whose property abuts a rural intersection does not owe a duty of care to passing drivers to either trim those trees or remove other vegetation from the property.Orlando car accident lawyer

Florida, meanwhile, has taken a different approach on this issue, as carefully laid out in the 2007 Florida Supreme Court case of Williams v. Davis. The conclusion involved the same issue – whether non-commercial owners of property that contains foliage that blocks motorists’ view of an adjacent intersection causing an accident with injuries should be liable. Citing the 1992 Florida Supreme Court decision in McCain v. Florida Power Corp. (which ruled that defendants who create a foreseeable zone of risk can be held negligent) and the 2001 case of Whitt v. Silverman, which based on McCain imposes a duty of care upon landowners to maintain their property free of unsafe obstructions to the view of passing motorists.

According to court records in the Williams case, a fatal Orlando car accident in August 1997 killed the daughter of plaintiff, who filed her complaint in 1999. Numerous defendants were named, but at issue before the Florida Supreme Court were allegations against just one of those, who owned property adjacent to the intersection where this fatal crash occurred. Plaintiff was in a procession of other rental car customers, driving their rented vehicles to an end destination to return her rented car. She entered an intersection as part of those procession and was struck and killed by a dump truck that struck her vehicle broadside from the left. Continue reading →

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As noted by peer-reviewed traffic research, lane-changing collisions are among the most common types of crash on multi-lane freeways. These crashes generally happen when a driver miscalculates how much space/ time they have to make a lane change maneuver or they simply fail to glance in their mirrors to note whether other vehicles are in their blind spots. car accident attorney

Newer and emerging driver assist vehicle technology can help to reduce lane change car accidents by using advanced sensors to alert drivers when another vehicle is in their blind spot. Usually, this is in the form of a small activated light on either side mirror. Some vehicles also allow reduce crash risk by programming a blinking visual warning or audible beeping warning if the driver has signaled intention to change lanes or moves to do so while another vehicle remains in their blind spot. This could go a long way to reducing these crashes long-term, but analysis on just how much probably won’t be out for a few more years.

In the meantime, lane change crashes continue to be a major problem. Just recently, a driver filed a personal injury lawsuit in Orange County Circuit Court, alleging injuries sustained in an Orlando car accident were the result of another motorist failing to operate her vehicle in a careful and prudent manner when changing lanes. The Florida Record reports the complaint alleges defendant driver failed to maintain her lane and carelessly tried to change lanes when it was not safe to do so.  Continue reading →

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An auto parts company recently agreed to settle a wrongful death car accident lawsuit involving a 29-year-old mother, her 12-year-old daughter and 14-year-old killed on a New York highway two years ago when their vehicle was struck by one of the company’s truck drivers. Multiple sources have reported the truck accident occurred when the mother called 911 for help after running out of gas. The woman was in the driver’s seat, her niece in the front passenger seat and her daughter in the rear. (The crash also killed two dogs that were in the vehicle.)West Palm Beach truck crash attorney

Traffic homicide investigators concluded the woman was stopped in the right driving lane with her flashers on when the smaller vehicle was rear-ended by the tractor-trailer, driven by AutoZone’s 52-year-old employee. Defendant company, based in Tennessee, did not comment on the settlement agreement which resolves the estates’ wrongful death claims. There is no indication based on media reports that the defendant conceded any wrongdoing, which is typical of most injury and wrongful death settlements prior to trial.

Why File Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida Trucking Accident?

While money is never going to come close to compensating survivors for such a profound loss, it’s nonetheless important to pursue wrongful death litigation in crash cases for two reasons.

The first is that in many cases, those who died were active, contributing family members whose loss has a huge financial impact to survivors. But even in a case like this, wherein those killed were teenagers/ not contributing family members, many survivors find legal action one of the key means through which to hold individual drivers and companies accountable for their negligence. Specifically as it relates to businesses and professional drivers, such sizable settlements serve as an incentive for implementation of and strict adherence to critical safety measures.  Continue reading →

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A South Florida car accident reportedly left one woman disfigured and disabled. The Florida Record reports that in a subsequent lawsuit she filed against the alleged at-fault driver, she is seeking “loss of life enjoyment” in addition to damages for serious injury, medical expenses, pain, disability (lost wages) and disfigurement.West Palm Beach car accident attorney

This particular type of damages is worth exploring because while medical bills and lost wages are quantifiable losses, the impact of one’s “loss of life enjoyment” is far more subjective. Nonetheless, it can mean a sizable increase in the sum of one’s total calculated damages. It can be a significant portion of one’s damage award, too, if the individual didn’t suffer any significant loss of income, such as a young person, someone who is retired or a stay-at-home parent.

Loss of life enjoyment is a component of pain and suffering damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Not all states recognize this as a distinct and calculable compensable loss, but Florida does. Here, pain and suffering refers to the direct pain resulting from injuries sustained as a result of a Florida car accident. Loss of life enjoyment, meanwhile, pertains to the emotional, physical and psychological losses one endures long-term as the result of that crash.  Continue reading →

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A car dealership has agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit for $5.5 million – while still denying liability – after it reportedly sold a vehicle to an unlicensed driver who was later behind the wheel in a hit-and-run crash that resulted in catastrophic brain injuries for the pedestrian he struck. pedestrian accident attorney

Technically, car dealerships can sell a vehicle to an unlicensed driver, but it’s a rare scenario. It’s not one that is likely to happen unless the individual:

  • Is paying cash for the vehicle in question (most banks offering a vehicle loan will require the vehicle be registered, which typically requires a valid license).
  • Does not drive the vehicle off the lot – either for a test drive or after purchase.

In the recent settlement, the Washington car dealership (part of a national chain) insisted it had done nothing wrong, as kit did not hand the unlicensed buyer the keys and it was his mother her drive the vehicle off the lot. It was the expectation or assumption of the dealership, according to The News Tribune, that the buyer would obtain a license if he was going to drive the vehicle. However, he reportedly did not do that. This hit-and-run pedestrian accident occurred approximately one year after the vehicle was purchased in June 2015.  Continue reading →

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Personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, as outlined in F.S. 627.736, legislation that was designed to reduce lawsuits in Florida, instead resulted in a record number of 60,000 lawsuits filed in Florida in 2017, according to a report by the Florida Justice Reform Institute. This amounts to a 50 percent increase in PIP litigation in a single year. car accident lawyer

However, insurers weren’t rushing to the halls of the state legislators to urge them back a repeal of the state’s no-fault PIP statute (which faltered in the state Senate this past session). But that’s probably because Florida’s top 25 automobile insurers raised their PIP rates 54 percent just since the beginning of 2017. On average, premiums increased 35 percent faster than other types of insurance premiums. Motorists in Florida are within the top six when it comes to the highest auto insurance bills for those within a no-fault system.

Statewide, drivers are compelled to pay $10,000 in PIP coverage to foot the bill for their own injuries in the event of a Florida car accident, regardless of who is at-fault, regardless of how much health insurance a person already has. The PIP system was established in the 1970s as a means of reducing litigation following minor car accidents and fender-benders. Nearly 50 years later, the relatively small benefit insureds receive hasn’t changed (failing miserably to keep pace with medical inflation), which pushing consumer rate increases and – as we now know – resulting in even more injury lawsuits. Continue reading →

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A new audit takes vehicle safety regulators to task for delayed reaction in its oversight of automobile recalls that likely left consumers in the dark about dangerous defects for months.injury attorney

The vehicle recall oversight audit, issued by the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General (requested by Congress in 2015), concluded the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) isn’t doing enough to make sure vehicle manufacturers are following through on their safety recalls and the public is deprived of critical information about the safety of their vehicles. The analysis delved into several years’ worth of data, with particular interest in the several years during which vehicle recalls spiked. It includes the time frame during the Takata airbag recall, now recognized as the largest and most complex vehicle safety recall ever. A total of 15 deaths and more than 220 injuries in the U.S. have been linked to the airbag defect, which involves spraying shrapnel at drivers when deployed. (A total of 23 Takata airbag-related deaths have been reported globally.) Vehicles involved include 21 vehicles manufactured by Honda and two by Ford Motor Co.

The inspector general noted the number of light passenger vehicle recalls issued annually rose from 180 in 2012 to 346 in 2016 – a stunning increase of 92 percent. The number of actual vehicles involved in those recalls also rose during that time, from 15.6 million to 46.6 million – a rise of 200 percent. Overseeing those recalls at the NHTSA was an office of just eight people, including five recall specialists, one program management, an assistant and a single engineer. Continue reading →

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