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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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Most are familiar with the concept of hiding assets in the midst of a divorce. We don’t often hear about hidden assets in personal injury lawsuits, but that’s because the majority of defendants aren’t independently wealthy. Mostly, claims for injury as a result of DUI or other negligence behind the wheel is covered by auto insurance companies. That’s not to say individuals can’t legally be held personally liable for damages over and above that amount, but it often makes little sense to pursue it when defendant has few assets anyway. car accident lawyer

However, debts for personal injury caused while driving under the influence is not dischargeable under U.S. Bankruptcy Code Section 523(a)(9). That means if a court has ordered defendant to pay plaintiff a sum in compensation for DUI injuries, that debt can’t simply be wiped clean by bankruptcy, as so many other debts can be. Still, collecting this compensation directly from a drunk driving defendant can be a challenge.

In a recent Palm Beach County DUI lawsuit, an 82-year-old Uber driver killed in a September crash, and defendant’s insurer now accuses defendant of hiding assets to avoid paying insurance claims benefiting the family’s estate.  Continue reading →

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Prevention of drunk driving doesn’t begin and end with the driver. More than 40 states have statutory provisions that give those injured or survivors of those killed in DUI accidents the right to pursue damage claims against licensed establishments (i.e., bars, restaurants, liquor stores) for serving alcohol to individuals who cause serious injury or death as a result of their intoxication. These are called dram shop laws.dram shop liability

However, there are varying strengths to these statutes. Florida, for instance, has a relatively weak dram shop law in F.S. 768.125. The law only allows liability claims in cases wherein the licensed establishment served to an individual was under the lawful drinking age of 21 and in cases where the establishment knowingly serves a person habitually addicted to alcohol. While it can be fairly easy to establish a case against a vendor that served alcohol to a minor, it can be tougher to prove staffers knew or should have known a person was an alcoholic and served them anyway. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth pursuing.

Earlier this year, the parents of a former star high school football player who died at age 36 in a drunk driving accident in October filed a dram shop lawsuit against the bar their son went to often. According to the Tampa Bay Times, plaintiffs say their son was at the bar so often, employees there were aware he was an alcoholic, but served him anyway.  Continue reading →

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It’s well known that smoking or otherwise consuming marijuana before getting behind the wheel dramatically increases the likelihood of a car accident – even when the dose in question is small. However, proving marijuana impairment is much more difficult than proving intoxication by alcohol. That’s because marijuana remains in one’s system for much longer than alcohol. The effects may have long worn off, but traces of the drug remain days or even weeks after consumption. car accident lawyer

Although some states have a legal limit allowable, scientists and medical experts mostly agree these limits are arbitrary, and aren’t necessarily the most accurate markers for determining impairment. Florida does not have a per se limit for drivers when it comes to marijuana.

In car accident civil injury lawsuits, that can be a double-edged sword. If it is believed defendant driver was under the influence, plaintiff attorneys will be tasked with carefully piecing together the circumstantial evidence to show impairment was a causal factor – knowing the presence of the drug in one’s bloodstream in and of itself isn’t proof positive. On the other hand, it will be tougher for defendants to assert plaintiff impairment simply by virtue of the drug’s presence in the body. If a defendant is successful, it could significantly hurt plaintiff’s case in determining both liability and damages.  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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As the national rate of traffic fatalities fell by more than 20 percent between 1975 and 2015, the rate in Florida spiked by 47 percent. That’s according to recent data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Where there were 1,998 people killed in 1975, there were 3,357 in 2006 and 2,939 in 2015. Although these figures fell by about 12 percent between 2006 and 2015, there was a jump of 18 percent just between 2014 and 2015.car accident attorney

Meanwhile in the U.S., there were 44,525 traffic deaths in 1975, compared to 35,092 in 2015. This latest figure is a slight increase since 2006, but it’s still overall a lower number. That’s great news, but clearly, we here in Florida need to be doing more to curb the number of traffic accidents that cause serious injury and death.

To our Orlando car accident attorneys, this is bigger than the numbers. The fact is, these are not merely statistics. These are real people with spouses and children and parents and loved ones and communities who rely on them. For us, seeking compensation is personal. We work tirelessly to help our clients be made whole by seeking recompense from at-fault drivers, automobile owners, vehicle manufacturers, insurance companies and those responsible for road design and maintenance. Continue reading →

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Florida drivers are among the worst in the country, according to a new state-by-state analysis by EverQuote.distracted driving

The findings are especially troubling when you consider the details on texting-and-driving, which is currently still only a secondary offense in Florida, meaning law enforcement officers must observe some other offense (i.e., speeding, swerving, running a red light) in order to cite a driver for a violation. Even then, the fine schedule is so small it hardly qualifies as a deterrent.

The EverQuote analysis found that in Florida:

  • 44 percent of drives involve the use of a phone;
  • 38 percent of drives involve a motorist who is speeding;
  • 19 percent of drives contain some type of aggressive acceleration;
  • 32 percent of drives involve some type of harsh braking;
  • 15 percent of drives contain some degree of poor turning.

Continue reading →

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As Florida personal injury attorneys, our legal team has seen numerous cases wherein car accident victims aren’t sure whether they have uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage (often denoted UM/ UIM coverage) as part of their auto insurance plan. In fact, many people don’t even know what it is. car accident lawyer

This is troubling indeed when you consider that this is often the primary source of recovery for those in accidents with drivers who either don’t have insurance or don’t have enough insurance to fully cover the damages incurred in a serious crash.

As noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida car accidents rack up a total of $32 million in medical costs and nearly $3 billion in work loss costs every single year. More than $2,450 people are killed in Florida crashes annually, and motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for people under the age of 54. Many of these people are the primary breadwinners in their family, and they can’t afford to be saddled with crippling debt for medical costs and other expenses that stem from a car accident. Continue reading →

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