Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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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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Much of the focus of motorcoach accidents in Florida and elsewhere have focused on operator error. These are valid concerns as a number of motorcoach and tour bus crashes in recent years have been caused by drivers who were too tired, too inexperienced, too distracted or too careless. However, the condition of the bus or motorcoach itself is worth examining because it can point to potential liability of the bus owner, operator or manufacturer.bus accident

This is allegedly the case for a pending wrongful death case in Texas against a tire manufacturer and a tour bus operator that allegedly installed bus windows that failed to comply with local, state and federal regulations or industry standards and further failed to install seat belts on the bus. They are seeking more than $1 million in damages.

According to the 23-page complaint filed on behalf of wrongful death lawsuit complainants, defendants are the tour company, the motor carrier and the tire manufacturer. Although tire failure, particularly on commercial vehicles, is often the result of failure to replace old, worn tires (which of course are expensive but extremely dangerous). In this case, however, the faulty tire in question was reportedly just manufactured and sold several months before this bus accident occurred – yet it sustained “catastrophic tread-belt separation” while the bus was in motion, resulting in the driver losing control. Plaintiffs allege defendant manufacturer had several other tires of similar dynamics that are less safe and prone to tread separations. 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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A recent news article from the Miami New Times takes a look at the five worst intersections in the city for bike crashes.  While we are not going to focus on the specific intersections for the purpose of the blog, it is interesting to see how they are spread out throughout the city and are in places that people might not ordinarily think would be hot spots for bike-car crashes.

Bike Crash LawyerOne thing to keep in mind is that we are seeing more and more studies and articles like this, because bike riding is becoming more popular across the country, including in South Florida, and our area is becoming more bike friendly.  However, there is still a lot of work that can be done to make the area safer for bikers.  One of the major areas of needed improvement is that there must be bike lanes added. This is not only at these five deadliest intersections, but also around the city in general. Continue reading →

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A pickup truck collided head-on with a church van recently, killing a total of 13 people on a rural road in Texas. iphone

Now, after a witness asserted he had seen the truck moving erratically on the two-lane road just before the crash, the pickup truck operator admitted he was texting and driving. The witness had perceived the pickup truck driver’s maneuvers behind the wheel to be so dangerous, he called authorities and was following the truck at the time of the fatal collision. Just before the crash, he told dispatchers that they needed to send someone soon to get him off the road, “before he hits somebody.”

The witness watched in horror as the truck slammed into the bus. Soon thereafter, he spoke with the 20-year-old pickup truck driver, who was injured but survived.  The driver reportedly apologized repeatedly. The witness said, “Son, do you know what you just did?” to which the pickup truck driver again apologized and said he was, “Just texting.”  Continue reading →

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For years, state officials in Oregon dragged their heels when it came to putting up barriers they knew were needed along the interstate. They knew the deadly consequences for failing to do so, and yet set other priorities, vote after vote, year after year. guardrail

Then in 2014, a psychiatrist and mental health counselor were carpooling to work at a local hospital one morning when a pickup truck, thrown off course by a torrential downpour and a speeding oil truck, came careening from the other side of the highway, across the raised dirt median and directly into their lane. The health care workers were struck head-on and both were killed.

The widow of the deceased driver happened to be a commissioner for the City of Portland. She vowed enough was enough. She pushed state legislators and the governor into passage of the “Fritz-Fairchild Act,” so named after the victims, that gave the state a six-year timeline to install $20 million worth of cable medians along 100 miles of protected highway. She also settled for $1.45 million a pending lawsuit against the state, alleging negligent highway design. Evidence had been presented indicating state officials knew not only were the dirt berms in the median ineffective at preventing cross-over crashes, they may have actually made them worse by serving as a “launching pad.” Another negligence lawsuit for $9.5 million brought by the commissioner against the pickup truck driver and the oil truck company is still pending. Continue reading →

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An overloaded 15-passenger van careened off a rural Florida highway and into a water-filled ditch, killing eight passengers and wounding 10 others. van1

The group was on an unlit stretch of road in Glades County shortly after midnight, on their way back to Fort Pierce following a church revival on the coast of Southwest Florida. Passengers ranged in age from 4 to 89. The 4-year-old, who survived, was listed in stable condition.

The National Safety Transportation Board has launched an investigation into the accident, something that literally only happens in 1 out of every 1 million accidents, according to news reports. Factoring into that decision was the high number of deaths and the fact that this was a 15-passenger van, a vehicle with a notoriously spotty safety history.

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High-speed driving and even pursuits are an especially dangerous part of police work. This is why many states, including Florida, have laws barring officers from acting with reckless disregard for the safety of others – regardless of the circumstances (F.S. 316.072(5)(c)). policelight1

That said, establishing liability for injuries or death resulting from a police pursuit may prove challenging. It will depend on the circumstances. When innocent civilian drivers or pedestrians suffer personal injury or are killed as a result of a reckless or ill-advised high-speed pursuit, the chances of securing compensation are optimum.

However, if plaintiff or decedent was in any way involved in the pursuit, the case may prove more difficult.

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A Fort Lauderdale firefighter was killed after he stopped on the side of the road to change a flat and was struck by an oncoming vehicle on Interstate 95. The case is a reminder to drivers not to text and drive and to avoid other distractions while driving to prevent similar accidents. Drivers who must pull over to change a flat, handle maintenance, or in the event of an emergency should also remember the danger of pulling onto the shoulder. According to media and accident reports, a 48-year-old driver struck the SUV in her Hyundai Sonata in the southbound lane just north of Yamoto Road in Boca Raton.

self-driving-google-car-2A 911 call detailing the scene of the accident was made available to the media. In the recording, it is clear that the driver was overwhelmed with grief and shock as she begged the dispatcher for help. Immediately, the driver recognized that she veered off the road and “hit a man.” When the emergency rescue team arrived, the driver was standing over the victim, who was still breathing but unresponsive. Throughout the six-minute 911 call, the driver begged the dispatchers for help while they tried to keep her calm.

Police stated that the driver tried to avoid hitting the victim by veering to the right, but drove into the victim who was next to his car. The driver went to aid the victim as she called 911 and though he tried to speak, she could not understand what he was saying. When other eyewitnesses pulled onto the scene, many called 911 to report the tragedy. All of these reports will be relevant in a criminal or civil matter. At least one eyewitness said the driver “panicked” and hit the victim. No charges have been filed, but the case remains under investigation.

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Wrong way accidents are one of the deadliest causes of collision on the nation’s highways. Many of these accidents occur near on-or off-ramps, where improper signage can mislead drivers; however, a substantial number of the accidents have also involved drunk drivers or drivers under the influence of narcotics or prescription medications. Among the most recent tragedies, 11 people died on a February Sunday in two separate highway collisions—both involving wrong way accidents. The accidents occurred on opposite sides of the country, but both have confounded law enforcement officials who are seeking to understand and prevent these fatal collisions.

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Deadly car accidents involving wrong way accidents are making headlines nationwide. Law enforcement agencies and other safety advocates have continued to study the cause of wrong way collisions, because they pose such a significant risk to motorists. Our car accident attorneys in Fort Lauderdale are committed to providing sound counsel to victims and families of auto collisions. In addition to helping uncover the cause of any accident, we will also work aggressively to maximize compensation for victims and families.
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