Articles Posted in Car Accident

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A fatal car accident in West Palm Beach over the summer involved tennis superstar Venus Williams. Initially, police indicated they believed Williams to be at-fault in the crash that killed a 78-year-old man, who was a passenger in a vehicle driven by his wife. However, authorities later altered their position, saying Williams was not unlawfully in the intersection. Williams was not injured in the crash.car accident attorney

As we are seeing with the events still unfolding, the civil case does not have to be halted by the conclusions reached by police. It is ultimately the judge and jury who make the call on civil liability. It should also be noted that the state’s comparative fault law, F.S. 768.81, allows that partial liability by a plaintiff won’t prohibit a claim from being filed. It only means that damages will be proportionately reduced. So if Williams were found to be just 1 percent at-fault for this Palm Beach County crash, decedent’s estate could collect on that 1 percent.

That’s not to say all cases with such slim odds are worth filing. However, damages in wrongful death cases tend to be substantial. Let’s say a jury finds damages in the case to be $1 million, but find decedent’s wife to be 95 percent at fault and Williams only 5 percent to blame. Once damages are proportionately reduced, that would amount to a $50,000 payout. So in a case like that, it may still be worthwhile to pursue a claim, even when the police have already made their determination. The conclusions of law enforcement investigators will only be one piece of the evidence.  Continue reading →

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Although Florida is a “no-fault” state when it comes to auto insurance, personal injury protection (PIP) benefits (paid to insureds, regardless of who is to blame) only goes so far. You’ll get up to $2,500 for emergency medical coverage and up to $10,000 total for medical expenses. If you’re in a serious crash, that won’t go far. PIP also won’t cover your damages for pain and suffering. However, you can step outside of the no fault law and file a liability claim against the at-fault driver for damages that extend beyond PIP, but only if you’ve suffered a disabling condition, permanent scarring, broken bones or your loved one died. car accident attorney

You can’t expect, though, that it will be an easy win. In most cases, insurers put up a fight, whether it’s about the issue of liability or how much they should pay in damages. The fact that this is the norm made it somewhat rare when recently a big name auto insurer agreed to pay the maximum limit on a liability policy to the families of three teens killed in a crash – even though the teens were almost certainly at-fault and the insured was also injured.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, a representative for the insurer insisted that while there was no evidence the insured was at-fault, it was only trying to protect its 29-year-old insured when it paid out $20,000 – the liability limit on the policy – to the families of the three teens who died in the crash and a fourth who survived, but was injured. The insured was injured too, and is still using a wheelchair and enduring physical therapy.  Continue reading →

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Professional drivers – and truckers especially – have a responsibility to use great care because it’s well-known that larger vehicles have the potential for greater harm when they are involved in a collision. When they fail to use reasonable care, they may be held accountable. truck accident lawyer

Jurors in Palm Beach County awarded $45 million to the parents of a medical student who was killed in a May 2015 crash involving a tractor-trailer in a construction zone. The construction company was ordered to pay $35 million in damages while the driver of the truck crash was ordered to pay an additional $10 million.

Another wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of a 17-year-old girl in that same crash is still pending. She had just graduated high school and was looking forward to attending the University of Miami on a full scholarship.

The truck driver who was operating the flatbed truck with an unsecured load of concrete barriers was charged earlier this year with one count of reckless driving causing serious bodily injury (the medical student’s 25-year-old passenger was badly hurt in the crash) and two counts of vehicular homicide. His criminal defense attorney called the incident a “tragic accident.” However, as injury attorneys in Fort Pierce, we find the term “accident” lacking – not because the driver intended harm, but because these are avoidable scenarios when drivers use reasonable care to prevent foreseeable harm.
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Florida law – specifically, F.S. 95.11(3) allows claims of damages for personal injury resulting from negligence (such as those for car accidents) must be filed within four years. This is the statute of limitations. The circumstances under which one can file an injury lawsuit after for years are extremely limited. car accident

However, there is one means by which a new legal claim for which the statute of limitations has expired could be raised: In an amended complaint, so long as they are based on the same facts set out in the original complaint. In fact, the Florida Supreme Court just ruled on this issue to clarify earlier this year. Previously, there had been two lines of interpretations on the “relate back doctrine” (Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.190) in the state’s appellate courts. Justices stated in the new opinion that they sided with the interpretation making it clear an amendment asserting a new cause of action can relate back to the original pleading – so long as the claim arises out of the same conduct, transaction or occurrence as the original. That ruling makes it less complicated to amend complaints and counterclaims.

The case that clarified the rule was actually a family business deal gone south – not a personal injury case – but the rule can be applied to injury cases all the same. Recently, the Arizona Supreme Court did consider an injury case involving the relate back doctrine. Although that ruling technically has no bearing on Florida cases, state high courts will often review sister court rulings in considering how to proceed when similar circumstances arise.  Continue reading →

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When you take your vehicle for repair or service, you have the right to expect the work will be performed competently. That’s part of the duty of care held by the party servicing the vehicle. When the servicer or repair shop fails in this duty, resulting in injury, it can be cause for legal action.car accident lawyer

Auto mechanic liability alleges the mechanic or shop is responsible to pay damages caused by negligence. For instance, if a mechanic rotates the tires on a vehicle but does not properly reattach the lug nuts on one of those wheels and it results in an injurious crash, that could be cause for injured parties to seek damages against the mechanic. Shops may also be liable if they negligently hire mechanics who are not properly qualified for the work they perform.

Recently in Massachusetts, parents of a teen killed in a car accident filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the auto repair service that had allegedly improperly installed tires on her vehicle.  Continue reading →

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Florida follows a pure comparative negligence theory when it comes to sharing blame for incidents resulting in personal injury. What this means is per F.S. 768.81, share of the blame for the car accident or pedestrian accident will not prohibit you from pursuing or collecting damages from other at-fault parties. However, it will have the effect of reducing how much you can collect, so your injury lawyer will try to argue for as little comparative fault as possible.pedestrian accident lawyer

Florida is pure comparative (compared to modified comparative), which means plaintiffs can (in theory) recover 1 percent of damages from a defendant even if plaintiff is 99 percent liable for the accident. Other states only allow one to recover if they are less than 50 percent responsible.

This is important point to make for many clients, because it’s a fear that often keeps them from seeking attorney advice in the first place. They are afraid that because they were partially at-fault, they don’t have any right to file a claim. In some other states, that’s true. In Florida, it’s not. Continue reading →

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Your auto insurance policy is, at its core, a contract. It outlines the scenarios under which your insurer will cover you for an accident, the maximum it will pay and your responsibilities as an insured. car accident

Those responsibilities can include things like paying your bill on time or notifying your insurer if you have an accident. It can also include things like cooperating with the investigation. Failure to meet those responsibilities can result in a denial of coverage for your injuries.

Working with the best Orlando car accident attorney can help ensure your rights are protected and also that you meet your obligations.  Continue reading →

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An auto manufacturer was ordered to pay $1 million to a man who was catastrophically and permanently injured in a rollover crash when his seat belt failed to protect him. He was rendered quadriplegic, though has retained some limited use of his hands through therapy and a nerve transplant.car accident attorney

However, after the close of the trial, the judge granted defendant auto maker’s motion for judgment as a matter of law, finding the evidence insufficient to support a plaintiff win. Plaintiff appealed this JML ruling, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed, reinstating the jury verdict, but allowing for a new trial on the issue of damages.

According to court records, it was five years ago when plaintiff, driving two of his sons and a group of other boys home from a Boy Scout camp, was seriously injured when he struck a boat and trailer towed by a pickup truck. The initial impact didn’t cause any severe damage, but then the sport utility vehicle he was driving overturned.  Continue reading →

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An insurance company is liable to cover a $15 million trial verdict won by the mother of one victim of a horrific drunk driving crash in South Florida several years ago. car accident

The insurer might have had a leg to stand on in its assertion that the claim isn’t covered, but because of its failure to comply with the Claims Administration Statute, F.S. 627.426, and did not give proper notice of its refusal to defend (based on the assertion defendant was not a named insured).

In fact, the insurer hired a defense lawyer to represent the defendant throughout the trial. It also failed to obtain a non-waiver agreement from defendant or retain an independent counsel mutually agreeable to both insurer and defendant.  Continue reading →

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There may be a number of potential legal avenues to explore in civil court following a DUI death in Florida. These can include dram shop liability, vicarious liability (of vehicle owner or employer) as well as claims for uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage. Premises liability, though, isn’t typically one of them. A recent case tested this theory – and won at trial – but was later reversed by the Florida 4th District Court of Appeal.car accident lawyer

Plaintiff in this case suffered a terrible tragedy while on vacation for a church retreat in South Florida with his pregnant wife. While sunbathing near the pool cabana, an intoxicated driver recklessly drove her vehicle into the wall of the cabana, collapsing the structure and killing plaintiff’s wife and unborn child, who was 7 months along.

Plaintiff alleged premises liability for negligence in failure to address a potentially dangerous condition on the property (i.e., lack of protective features around the rear of the cabana that abuts a curve around which drivers were known to speed). Jurors at trial returned a verdict finding the hotel’s negligence was a partial cause of death here. Jurors awarded $24 million in total damages, determining the hotel was 15 percent liable and owed $3.6 million to plaintiff. But the 4th DCA ruled the lower court should have granted defense motion for a directed verdict in this matter. Continue reading →

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