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In many Florida car accident claims, there is more than one tortfeasor (wrongdoer) who may be compelled to pay damages to the injured victim. Prior to 2006 and the passage of F.S. 768.81, Florida’s pure comparative fault statute, injured car accident victims could seek the full amount of damages from a single defendant – even if that defendant was only partially responsible for the crash. That defendant then had a right of action to pursue action against the other responsible parties to pay their fair share. This is the doctrine of joint and several liability, but it was effectively abolished with the introduction of Florida’s comparative fault law, along with the 2009 decision of the Second District Court of Appeal in T&S Enterprises Handicap Accessibility v. Wink Indus. Maintenance & Repair Inc. In that case, the court held that defendants who intend to assert fault on a non-party joint tortfeasor need to do so as an affirmative defense. Another ruling in 2011 by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (relying on the decision in Wink) rendered any contribution-related claims “obsolete.”injury attorney

The issue of joint liability is one that varies widely from state-to-state. Recently in Illinois, the state supreme court held that a counterclaim for contribution by joint tortfeasors following an injurious truck accident was rightly dismissed, despite defendants’ claims that a prior settlement was not reached in good faith because the settling defendant’s conduct was intentional.

Here’s what happened: Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle traveling on the interstate around 1:30 a.m. At the time, three lanes were closed due to construction. One defendant, a truck driver, was traveling in his semi truck behind plaintiff. He was operating this truck on behalf of his employer and the carrier of the truck, which are the other named defendants. At the same time, another defendant, a driver under the influence of cocaine, was traveling the opposite way on the interstate, made an improper U-turn through the median and collided with the vehicle in which plaintiff was riding. Plaintiff’s vehicle rotated and defendant truck driver did not have enough time to stop. He slammed into the passenger door of that vehicle, causing plaintiff serious and permanent injuries.  Continue reading →

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Can you sue your Uber driver if they cause a wreck and you’re injured in it? uber accident attorney

The short answer is yes – but you may not need to.

Let’s start by explaining that Uber and other ride-sharing services like Lyft have completely revolutionized the transportation system. It’s typically faster and cheaper than a taxi, but it may not necessarily be safer as ride-sharing services sometimes aren’t as well-regulated as livery vehicle services. However, many states, counties and cities have imposed regulation on ride-sharing services to bolster safety for the general public. And while Uber and other services have fought tooth-and-nail to avoid having drivers classified as “employees,” the technology giant does now have insurance coverage for each driver. As Uber explains, it breaks down like this:

  • If a rider is in the car, Uber offers up to $1 million in third-party liability for injuries of riders in the vehicle, other drivers, pedestrians or bicyclists (assuming the Uber driver was at-fault). There is also $1 million in UM/ UIM coverage if another party is at-fault but that person doesn’t have enough coverage to fully compensation for losses. It also covers hit-and-run accidents where the at-fault driver flees the scene.
  • If a driver is on the way to pick up a rider, Uber offers the same $1 million in third-party liability and UM/UIM coverage.
  • If the app is on and the driver is waiting for a pickup request, Uber pays at least $50,000 in injury liability per person and $100,000 total per crash plus $25,000 in property damage liability.

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Almost any employer – including government agencies – can be held vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees when those acts or omissions in question occur in the course and scope of employment. However, in a case out of Chicago, the city has agreed to pay $20 million – $10 million each – to the families of two men killed in a fatal DUI accident involving an off-duty city police officer. DUI attorney

The Chicago Tribune reports the city council was embroiled in a fierce debate over the settlement negotiations that followed the families’ wrongful death lawsuits because of concern it would open the city up to liability for a range of wrongful acts committed by employees in their free time. Ultimately, there were two factors that swayed them:

  • The families’ allegations (and supporting evidence) that the police department protected this particular officer in previous incidents of wrongdoing, declining to arrest or punish him for alleged crimes. This, the families say, led the officer to reasonably believe he could break the law with impunity.
  • The assertion by the plaintiffs’ attorneys that if the case were to be decided by a jury, the damage award could conceivably be much higher.

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Vicarious liability is the legal means by which we can pursue action against a vehicle owner or an employer for the negligent and injurious actions of those driving their vehicle or employees acting on behalf of the company. It’s not just long-haul truckers who fall into this category. car accident

Recently, DNCE singer Joe Jonas was named a defendant in a car accident lawsuit that occurred when his assistant was driving his vehicle in Hollywood, CA. According to TMZ, plaintiff alleges the assistant made a left turn into an intersection, t-boning plaintiff, who had the right-of-way. There was no police report filed and there were reportedly no witnesses, but the plaintiff did take down the license plate number, which her injury attorney later traced back to Jonas. The assistant gave her name as the driver, though it’s unclear if Jonas was in the car at the time.

But even if Jonas wasn’t there, he could still be liable because not only was the vehicle his, but the person driving it was reportedly acting in the course and scope of employment. Both situations would fall under the umbrella of vicarious liability. She is seeking damages for physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses and lost wages.  Continue reading →

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Shoddy repair work by an auto body shop nearly cost a Texas couple their lives, and has left them with major burns and crushing injuries. It was a crash from which they otherwise should have walked away relatively unscathed. car accident attorney

The Dallas Morning News reports that prior to the 2013 crash, the couple brought the vehicle into a local repair shop to address damage to the vehicle roof after a bad hail storm. But instead of welding the repair, as is recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, the body shop used an approach that was cheaper, untested and involved a glue-like adhesive. This, plaintiffs attorney argued at trial, made a huge difference in the outcome of a subsequent crash.

The message the jury sent with its $42 million verdict favoring the plaintiff is that repair shops must fix vehicles properly, or else pay the price if someone is hurt when you don’t. Plaintiffs are also suing their auto insurer, alleging agents there bullied the auto shop into using the cheaper method – something that is common practice among auto insurers seeking to bolster their bottom line.  Continue reading →

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Investigators examining the evidence in a fatal wrong-way car accident that killed two teenagers – best friends – have concluded the recreational vehicle that struck them head-on had no working headlights. Local media reports are the RV driver, 98, and his 75-year-old companion, were likely not seen by the two teens, 17 and 18, until it was too late. The RV was reportedly traveling west in an eastbound highway lane in St. Lucie County. The girls were transported to a hospital in Fort Pierce, where they were pronounced accident attorney

Authorities have said the stretch of road where the crash occurred was rural and poorly-lit, so without operational headlights, the RV would have been virtually impossible to see. The girls had almost no opportunity to take evasive action to protect themselves.

Negligent maintenance of a vehicle is a claim that is an extension of one’s duty to use reasonable and prudent care in operating a vehicle. The person who owns or is responsible for managing the vehicle have a responsibility to do their best to ensure it is properly maintained because it’s understood that certain parts of a vehicle are vital to safe driving. If the driver or vehicle owner knew or should have known certain components of the vehicle were in failure or even just untrustworthy and the failure of that component leads to a crash or an exacerbation of injuries, they may be legally liable for the resulting damages.  Continue reading →

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Safety regulators in Florida shuttered a large, third-party commercial drivers license testing company after an investigation uncovered practices that posed “an immediate serious danger to the public health, safety and welfare” of others who share the road. Specifically, the state found the firm was not properly training its workers, left out key portions of a multi-part skills test and altered testing data to make it seem as if its students scored higher than they actually did. truck accident attorney

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has canceled its contract with the driving school, which up until then was the No. 3 biggest commercial driver license testing firm in the state, which locations from Miami to Labelle. Taking it even a step farther, the state agency ordered some 1,500 commercial truck drivers whose licenses were issued by the company to rush for a retake of their CDL tests, or else they would lose their right to legally operate a commercial vehicle (and thus likely their jobs).

According to, when state investigators started examining claims that the books were cooked at the school, they sat in on the training and testing for existing students. With those investigators overseeing the process, the pass rate for CDL applicants plummeted from 60 percent to just 11 percent. That’s a solid indicator that the school had been passing students who weren’t properly trained and lacked the necessary skills to operate a mammoth commercial truck. Continue reading →

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The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that an appellate court’s decision to grant a second trial to a plaintiff in a car accident injury case was the right move, thus securing the $250,000 in damages she won in the second jury verdict after suing her mother for alleged negligence while accident attorney

It’s important to point out that anyone reluctant to pursue damage claims against loved ones (spouses, children, parents, siblings, cousins, friends, etc.) that naming your loved one as a defendant is really only a technical matter. What you are really after is fair and just compensation from the defendant’s insurance policy. It’s not an indication that you harbor the notion your loved one meant you harm or even that you expect them to pay anything directly from their own coffers. Auto insurance is required for the registration of any motor vehicle in Florida, and therefore if you are a passenger in a vehicle driven by a relative or friend whose negligence caused or contributed to a crash that resulted in your injuries, you may be entitled to pursue damages on that claim just like anyone else. In most cases, plaintiffs cannot name the insurance company as a defendant because courts generally agree that jurors’ knowledge that defendant had insurance can be prejudicial.

Some auto insurance policies have exclusions for “resident relatives,” which are those related by blood or marriage who also reside in the insured’s household. The question of whether benefits are payable to the injured party will depend on the exact language of the policy and the relationship between the insured and claimant. Continue reading →

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Florida truck accident lawsuits are among the most complex in motor vehicle litigation for numerous reasons. Successful truck accident attorneys know this is in large part because the sheer size and weight of these vehicles and the fact that collisions often occur at high-speeds on highways inevitably means a greater severity of injuries. Another reason is there are often numerous defendants. It’s not just the driver, but the driver’s employer and the carrier and the owner of the cargo and possibly others. Employers or companies acting as employers may be held vicariously liable for the negligent acts of a driver who was acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident.truck accident attorney

Although occupants of passenger vehicles most often suffer the worst outcomes in truck accidents, truck drivers aren’t immune from injuries, especially if the collision involved another large vehicle. That typically opens another avenue of recovery in workers’ compensation, though this doesn’t necessarily foreclose on other legal remedies.

In a recent case weighed by the Wyoming Supreme Court, justices reversed in part a summary judgment in claim filed by a truck driver who was struck by another large truck while he worked to free his truck from its stationary position on a snow-covered highway. The court ruled that while claims against plaintiff’s co-driver and the owner of the cargo they were hauling for direct negligence were correctly decided in defendants’ favor, plaintiff’s claim for damages on the issue of vicarious liability should have survived summary judgment. That means he may continue with his claim, though justices noted in their ruling, “(plaintiff) will undoubtedly have a difficult case to try,” namely because he bear the burden of proof on issues of negligence, causation and damages, as well as probable assertions of comparative fault.  Continue reading →

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We know that 2015 and 2016 were record years for auto recalls, fueled largely by defects in airbags and ignition switches. This rush of recalls began over the last couple of years after it was revealed a number of potential fatal flaws – often ones that could have been fixed for just a few dollars per vehicle – were hidden from the public, in some cases for accident attorney

Unlike the typical Orlando car accident lawsuit, those that involve defective vehicles name a product manufacturer, as opposed to another driver, as the defendant. In some cases, litigation will name both. Defective vehicles or flawed vehicle parts are always a possibility that our best accident attorneys in Orlando explore following a crash, given the pervasiveness of these problems, which include everything from wiring and fuel problems leading to fire hazards to airbags that fail to deploy – or deploy with explosive force – putting drivers, passengers and other motorists at serious risk of injury or even death.

Just since the beginning of this month, has issued nine vehicle recall notices. That doesn’t necessarily encompass the full number, but it gives you a sense of the fact that these problems are near constant and ongoing. A dedicated accident attorney will not overlook this critical fact when reviewing the details of your accident and injury.  Continue reading →

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