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Winning a favorable verdict in a Florida auto accident lawsuit isn’t necessarily the last word in the matter. This can be good or bad, depending on which side of the courtroom you’re sitting. A series of post-trial motions can alter the verdict, resulting in less compensation, more compensation or a new trial altogether. cars

When a defendant asks that the amount of damages be lowered, this is known as a remittitur. When a plaintiff asks for higher damages, this is known as an additur. Trial court judges usually will not disturb a verdict unless there is credible evidence that the jury’s award is grossly excessive or that there has been some gross error in awarding damages. Trial courts have a lot of discretion when it comes to these matters, but of course, it’s not without limit.

In the recent case of GEICO v. Isaacs, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s ruling not to disturb the jury’s damage award, finding a remittitur request from the defendant should have been granted.  Continue reading →

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With the vast majority of car accidents caused by error of the drivers involved, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seeks to give motorists more automated features to increase their awareness of potential hazards. The latest effort involves the advancement of Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication systems, which the NHTSA wants to make mandatory for all cars and light trucks in the U.S. driving

The agency issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on the technology, which gives cars – and other devices – the ability to transmit their location, speed, direction and other information at a rate of 10 times per second. That lets other cars (and drivers) nearby know when a vehicle ahead is braking hard or about to run a red light or changing lanes or barreling fast around a blind curve. These alerts would give drivers enough time to react and prevent a collision.

Officials with NHTSA believe this technology has the potential to mitigate or prevent the severity of 8 out of 10 crashes that don’t involve drugs or alcohol (which is about two-thirds of the total 13 million accidents that happen every year). In essence, V2V has the ability to give drivers a total 360-degree awareness of what’s happening on the road.  Continue reading →

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A car accident can have a number of different causal factors. Almost always, there is some degree of driver error by at least one motorist. In some cases, these crashes might also be the result of poor road design.trafficlight1

Poor road design and poor road maintenance are two different things, but they can sometimes overlap in litigation.

Government agencies that own the streets, roads and highways have a responsibility to make sure they are reasonably safe for motorists. That means using the appropriate care in the design of the roads, and also in road maintenance. Continue reading →

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Florida is a prime destination over the holidays. AAA reports that just over Thanksgiving, some 49 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more for the holiday, and more than 90 percent drove a car. Over the Christmas/ New Year’s Eve holidays, the same agency opines an estimated 100 million people will be making similar trips. traffic10

According to CarRentals.com, three of the top 10 cities for holiday car rentals (an indication of top destinations) are in Florida. No. 2 is Orlando – just behind Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Holiday road trips may be an annual tradition, but that doesn’t mean drivers should be complacent. There are a host of hazards that may confront drivers, and it’s important to be aware and be prepared. Continue reading →

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Although self-driving vehicles aren’t completely autonomous or vastly widespread at this point, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is moving in that direction. The agency not long ago crafted a formal Federal Automated Vehicles Policies that recognizes the way in which this technology could transform transportation, and the many dilemmas it faces. The policy outlines vehicle performance guidance, recommendations for national (rather than state) policies for testing, existing regulatory tools and potentially new regulatory tools.drive in

One of those issues that has been raised – but not resolved – is how automated vehicles would handle a conflict in public safety, and how liability for resulting car accident injuries might be affected by this.

The New York Times recently explored this issue by asking who your car should save if an accident is pending? For example, what if a vehicle is faced with a situation in which it must either run off the road to avoid a head-on collision with another car or careen into a large crowd of people on the sidewalk? Whose risk should be minimized by the autonomous vehicle’s algorithm? Should the vehicle’s first priority be the protection of its own occupants? Or should it be the pedestrians who face a more serious risk of injury if struck?  Continue reading →

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Our nation’s streets, roadways and thoroughfares are an increasingly dangerous place to be. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the number of highway deaths in the first six months of this year spiked 10.4 percent – to 17,775 – as compared to the first six months of 2015. And last year marked the biggest yearly percentage increase in traffic deaths in five decades.

One of the main culprits? Distraction.phone

Specifically, our gadgets, and in particular, those that are intended for use in a moving vehicle. There is hands-free calling, which research has shown is no safer than use of handheld devices, despite the disparity in Florida law and in laws across the country. There is an app on Snapchat that allows drivers to post images of the the driver while recording his or her speed. There is an app called Waze that gives users points for immediately reporting traffic crashes and snarled traffic. Then of course there is the Pokemon Go app that has prompted drivers to search for virtual creatures along their route. All of this collectively amounts to a much different landscape of distraction than just a decade ago when we first starting talking about, “distracted driving.”

Back around 2005 or so, the nation was talking about how problematic it was that so many people were using their cell phones to send text messages. At the time, most people didn’t even have the smartphones we’re so familiar with today. Now, according to a Pew Research poll conducted in 2015, half of users say they, “couldn’t live without” their smartphone. Text messages continue to be the most popular feature, but internet use, video calls, email, video and music are also popular features.  Continue reading →

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The goal of any injury lawyer at trial is to win the case and obtain fair compensation for the client. Unfortunately, even the most skilled attorneys can’t promise they will win every case. Our Orlando injury lawyers strongly believe in our clients, and we will fight tenaciously for a favorable outcome. Part of doing that means preparing properly for an appeal – which actually starts even before the trial gets underway. It’s sort of like insurance: The hope is that you won’t need it, but if you do, you want to know it’s there. gavel

The reason this is important is that generally appellate courts will not take notice of issues and disputes that were not properly raised, challenged or preserved before the trial court.

There are many ways to do this. As The American Bar Association points out, preserving matters for appeal is usually an ongoing effort throughout trial. It involves:

  • Making sure the pre-trial record is clear and pretrial orders are carefully reviewed for error or oversight;
  • Making sure that the statements of fact are coherent, cohesive and interesting (because appellate courts will simply be reviewing the cold record of the case);
  • Making good objections to challenge to correct any misstatement of the court or defense counsel immediately;
  • Carefully reviewing/ requesting modifications to the jury charge;
  • Filing post-trial motions such as judgment notwithstanding verdict, request for a new trial, etc.

Continue reading →

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The brother of a Central Florida man killed in a DUI accident is suing two bars and their employees for serving alcohol to a man who was known to be habitually addicted – the same man who after leaving those establishments got behind a wheel drunk and killed his brother.drunk driving

The claim is based on Florida’s dram shop law, which is codified in F.S. 768.125. Florida’s dram shop liability law is less favorable to plaintiffs than statutes in other states, but it does allow compensation under a certain set of circumstances. Although there are some states in which bars, restaurants and other places that serve alcohol can be liable just for serving to someone who appears to be intoxicated, Florida only allows liability in DUI cases where:

  • The driver was served alcohol despite being under the age of 21;
  • The driver was known to be habitually addicted to alcohol.

Both scenarios of course assume that the injury or damage was caused by or resulted from the intoxication of such a minor or person.  Continue reading →

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Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal has reversed a lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a school bus driver who, against district policy, advised students to cross a busy road in the dark before the bus arrived at their stop each morning. One of those students was struck by a car while crossing the street early one morning before school. school bus

According to court records in Davis v. Baez, plaintiff was an 18-year-old senior in high school in the Miami-Dade County school district. She was hit by a car while she was crossing from the west side of the street to get to the east side of the street, where her school bus stop was located. It was 5:50 a.m., so it was still dark, and the bus hadn’t yet arrived. Plaintiff suffered severe injuries as a result of the collision.

Her 16-year-old brother, who also waited at the stop with her, had already safely crossed by that point. But both children had previously been instructed by the school bus driver that they needed to cross the busy street – from the west side to the east side – to be waiting for him on the east side before he arrived. If they weren’t already on that side of the street when he pulled up, the driver told them, he would leave without them.  Continue reading →

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A Virginia mom of a 6-year-old girl is advocating for parents to make sure their child is properly buckled in a car seat or booster seat – every time. seat belt

The Today Show reports the girl had not been in a booster seat one day in September when her father, who had simply forgotten the booster seat that day, veered off the road and struck a tree. The girl had been sitting with the shoulder strap behind her upper body, and the lap belt ran across her stomach. When her father crashed, the force of the impact was so severe, the seat belt dug into her abdomen, shredding the muscle and fat underneath. It even cut through the left side of her body, causing several inches of her intestines to spill outside of her belly.

A pediatric surgeon who treated the girl told Today the seat belt in this scenario acts “almost like a knife.”  Continue reading →

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