Articles Posted in Car Accident

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Florida has an estimated 21 million residents and another 116 million tourists a year. A huge portion of them drive a motor vehicle to get to where they’re going. If you’re involved in a West Palm Beach car accident (or a collision anywhere in the Sunshine State), it’s worthwhile to know the worth of the average claim for auto insurance.Florida auto insurance claim

As long-time injury attorneys in Palm Beach County can explain, claims for damages in Florida crashes work a bit differently than those in many other states because of the fact this is a no-fault state. That means every motorist is required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, pursuant to F.S. 627.736.

PIP benefits impact the amount of the average claim for auto insurance because the initial amount – up to $10,000 – is paid by your own auto insurance company, regardless of who is at-fault in the crash. That includes up to 80 percent of your medical bills, 60 percent of your lost wages and death benefits, up to that $10,000 limit. However, that presumes your injuries are “emergent,” (as outlined in F.S. 395.002) meaning they require immediate medical services within a period of 14 days. Otherwise, the most compensation you can expect to receive in PIP benefits is $2,500 (a 75 percent drop in benefits). It is only if your injuries cross the “serious injury threshold,” as outlined in F.S. 627.737 that you can step outside of Florida’s no-fault system and pursue litigation against the at-fault party. Continue reading →

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Distracted driving is a plague across America. Florida isn’t immune. In fact, with car accident injury attorneys noting the rising number of collisions overall, it’s no wonder traffic officials are citing inattention as a top concern heading into the busy snowbird travel season. Those in Orlando should be on special alert, given a recent report by WKMG Click Orlando, which revealed this county to be No. 1 in the state for distracted driving.car accident injury attorney

Reporters detailed the case of one such woman who was struck – and injured – twice in the course of just four months by other at-fault drivers – who in both cases were cited for distraction.

In an in-depth analysis citing Florida distracted driving statistics from state officials between 2013 and 2017, there were thousands of distracted driving collisions just in a single recent year. The Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles revealed that since state legislators passed a measure allowing for secondary enforcement of texting-and-driving five years ago (F.S. 316.305), the number of distracted driving collisions and fatalities has not fallen. In fact, it has risen. Dramatically.

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If you’re involved in a crash wherein there are multiple victims and/ or multiple drivers, it’s likely you’ll be dealing with more than one auto insurance company. One insurer is often a handful enough. Facing many is more than just a headache, and even the smallest mistake could have a big impact in how much money you ultimately receive.car accident

That was the situation in a recent case out of Montana, wherein a plaintiff was dealing with multiple insurers to cover some $75,000 in damages. Plaintiff was a passenger in a crash resulting in five injury claims. Insurers involved included those covering the driver of the other vehicle, the driver of the vehicle she was in and her own uninsured/ underinsured motorist carrier.

This is the type of car accident case in which involvement of a South Florida injury lawyer is imperative. Continue reading →

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Some of the first people you’ll likely see in the aftermath of a serious West Palm Beach car accident are the Palm Beach County EMS workers. These include firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Their appearance on site is a relief. It means help is finally here, and you trust them to give you the medical care you need and get you (or your loved one) to the hospital as quickly and safely as possible.car accident attorney blog

However, if these professionals fail to provide you with proper care or are in some way generally negligent, both on scene at the crash and during transport, you could have grounds for a personal injury claim or lawsuit against Palm Beach County (or whatever the respective government entity or private contractor).

This was exactly the scenario reported recently by The Palm Beach County Post after the county agreed to settle with a woman for $100,000 after she was allegedly dropped by paramedics loading her into the ambulance on a stretcher at a West Palm Beach car accident scene.  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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