Published on:

The myth of the so-called “professional plaintiff” has been pushed by certain interest groups intent on tort reform legislation, which ultimately harms those who most need relief. car accident attorney

It’s not that auto insurance fraud is an impossibility or never-event, but it’s far less common than defense attorneys and some others would have you believe. Unfortunately, sometimes this misconception has a real impact on actual victims.

Recently, the Hawaii Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s judgment in favor of a car accident defendant whose attorneys repeatedly raised the question of a plaintiff’s “motive” for filing the claim in the first place, repeatedly insinuating – despite a lack of conviction or even formal accusation – that plaintiff had committed workers’ compensation insurance fraud. The state high court ruled the “plaintiff’s motives for bringing suit were irrelevant to the merits of her claim and her credibility as a witness.” At minimum, the trial court in the case should have granted the plaintiff’s requested jury instruction underscoring the fact that her motivation for filing the lawsuit was barred from jurors’ consideration. What matters, ultimately, is the merits of the claim.

An experienced injury lawyer who routinely handles car accident cases understands the damage these kinds of insinuations can have on a jury, and also how to effectively challenge them.  Continue reading →

Published on:

Auto insurance companies have a responsibility to defend their clients when they are accused of liability. Almost all auto insurance policies make these two promises to their insureds:

  • A promise to indemnify, which is pay for the insured’s legal liability, up to the policy limits;
  • A promise to defend, meaning the insurer hires legal counsel and defends insured against the lawsuit and cover legal fees. Orlando car accident attorney

If an insurer is faced with a covered third-party claim, the insurer is responsible to defend the claim and pay any monetary award entered for that covered claim. Sounds straightforward, but in practice, insurers don’t always make it so easy. There are often exceptions and rules – not all of which may be explicitly spelled out on the policy. When disputes arise, it can impact the third-party case, filed by the person injured in the auto accident.

One such dispute was recently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, following a serious crash in Illinois. It involves a case of several teenagers and a “borrowed” car. The car belonged to a 16-year-old girl, who borrowed it on August 2013 night in question to go to a party. Another, also 16 and defendant in this action, ultimately obtained the keys to that vehicle. How she got those keys was in dispute, as the girl whose mother owned the car said she never gave them to her, but rather to another friend. Nonetheless, defendant left the party with that vehicle and picked up several passengers – plaintiff among them.  Continue reading →

Published on:

Product liability in vehicle crashes can be difficult to establish, but is nonetheless an important legal theory to explore following a collision. Vehicle makers – just like the producers of any consumer product – have a responsibility to make sure it is reasonably safe. In general, vehicles can be defective if they are unreasonably dangerous by design or defectively manufactured. Some claims also stem from insufficient consumer warnings/ failure to warn. wrongful death attorney

Some of the common vehicle defects we’ve seen in Orlando car accident cases include faulty:

  • Engines
  • Brakes
  • Tires/ wheels
  • Fuel systems
  • Ignition
  • Airbags
  • Body/ frame

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates about 2 percent of vehicle crashes can be attributed in whole or in part to a vehicle defect. Even if a vehicle defect isn’t the cause of a crash, it can be the reason injuries are far worse. For example, a poorly-placed fuel tank may not cause two vehicles to collide, but it may leave one of those vehicles more prone to a deadly fire when that fuel tank is struck, resulting in far more severe injuries – or wrongful death – that may otherwise have been avoided.  Continue reading →

Published on:

The Illinois Supreme Court has determined the “named driver exclusion” contained in uninsured/ underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) auto insurance policies is invalid for violation of the state’s mandatory insurance requirements and public policy where the exclusion bars coverage for the named insured. Unfortunately, the exclusion still stands for motorists in Florida.car accident attorney West Palm Beach

The named driver exclusion (also sometimes referred to as the “designated persons coverage exclusion”) can make it very difficult for certain plaintiffs to obtain insurance coverage for their injuries. In general, it is an endorsement added to an insurance policy stating that a specifically named individual with access to your insured vehicle will NOT be covered by the insurance provider to drive the insured vehicle. That means the vehicle’s liability insurance or UM/UIM coverage will not cover a crash if that driver is operating the insured car. Instead, what usually happens is the driver and the owner of the vehicle who allowed that excluded individual form the policy CAN be held liable for damages the at-fault driver caused.

You can see where this would create major problems, not just for the excluded driver, but the insured who allowed that driver behind the wheel and anyone else involved in a crash with them. Pursuing a claim for damages directly against those involved – without insurance coverage – is a tall task because even if you win, there may be slim chances you’ll actually collect those damages. It can leave innocent motorists without remedy for their injuries. Continue reading →

Published on:

Crashes in construction zones are an ongoing and serious problem – in Florida and beyond. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports in a single recent year, there were nearly 97,000 crashes in work zones – which represented an 8 percent increase over the previous year and a stunning 43 percent increase in the span of just two years. A crash occurs in a work zone every 5.4 minutes. For the roughly 70 work zone crashes that happen daily, more than 26 percent result in at least one injury.car accident lawyer

In many cases, driver error is to blame. Drivers are distracted, impaired or speeding through construction zones with disregard for workers and warning signs. However, sometimes these car accidents can involve errors on the part of the construction companies and failure to give drivers clear warning of dangerous conditions.

This is what was alleged in a fatal car accident lawsuit recently before the Delaware Supreme Court. It involved allegations of an unsafe road condition known as “raveling.” As explained by Asphalt Magazine, this is a type of pavement distress identified as the wearing away of aggregate particles from the asphalt cement. It can be caused by use of a poor quality mixture, inadequate compaction or dislodging by certain types of heavy traffic.  Continue reading →

Published on:

Drunk driving remains one of the leading causes of serious car accidents resulting in injury or death. Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance, but if you meet the “serious injury threshold,” as outlined in F.S. 627.737, you can collect more than just personal injury protection (PIP) benefits by pursuing action against the at-fault driver. What many drunk driving victims don’t realize is that in addition to this, they may have the option of a third-party liability claim. drunk driving injury

While it’s true drunk drivers are generally the only ones criminally charged, civil liability is different. Third parties can be accountable in civil court for the negligence and even criminal conduct of someone else if they breach a duty of care that in turn allowed the injurious incident to occur.

In Florida drunk driving cases, such third party defendants may include: Continue reading →

Published on:

The sunroof is a popular vehicle feature, especially in Florida, where it can be enjoyed virtually year-round. However, a recent court case and New York Times report have highlighted safety concerns about the sunroof, particularly in rollover crashes and even when the window is closed. car accident attorney

For anyone who may not be familiar, a sunroof is a panel on the roof of a car that can be opened for additional ventilation and light. The panel is non-removable, though some can be opened completely to allow for an open window in the roof. A moonroof is a type of sunroof that will tilt open slightly to allow in fresh air, but won’t open completely like a sunroof. It’s estimated 7 million (or 40 percent of all 2017 model cars and light trucks) are sold with a sunroof, compared to 33 percent for the 2011 model year.

The issue, as the Times reported, is that while these features have gained immense popularity, the government regulations regarding them have remained unchanged – which is to say, there are no regulations. It’s estimated there are hundreds of sunroof ejections that happen each year, many of those resulting in serious injury or death. Some automakers are even introducing “panoramic” sunroofs, which stretch the entire span of the vehicle’s top. This is touted as a luxury feature, but the reality is it can be extremely dangerous, particularly when made with glass that isn’t laminated. Some car makers have on their own made laminated safety glass standard for newer models. Others are working on devices that will help reduce the odds of ejection in the event of a rollover. However, those features aren’t required and motorists and passengers continue to be at heightened risk in the event of a rollover because numerous studies have shown vehicle occupants are safest in a rollover if they can stay in their vehicle. Continue reading →

Published on:

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 →

Published on:

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.

Continue reading →

Published on:

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.

Continue reading →

Contact Information