Articles Tagged with car accident attorney

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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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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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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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Auto insurance companies universally set per accident and sometimes per person limits on how much can be collected after a collision for which they are liable. These limits are based on the specifics of the policy in question, usually involving how much the insured pays.bicycle accident

While the question of how many accidents occurred is typically a simple one, there are scenarios wherein certain facts could raise doubt. This is commonly the case in multiple-vehicle accidents. It’s not uncommon in these situations for plaintiffs to argue more than one crash occurred. The simple reason for this the more accidents there were, the more insurance money will be available. In many cases, the number of claimants will not affect the per-accident payout (so the more claimants there are, the less can be paid to each individually). Meanwhile, proving there was more than one accident could mean more damages collected per claim.

In a case recently before the Wyoming Supreme Court, this issue was raised by a widowed bicyclist who was seriously injured – and her husband killed – when they were struck by a driver as they rode along a roadway.  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 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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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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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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Statewide rules on Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing services went into effect earlier this month, after Gov. Rick Scott agreed to create uniformity as it relates to the services, which had previously been regulated by a patchwork of local statutes.car accident attorney

The new law went into effect July 1st. HB 221 establishes long-debated statewide regulations for so-called “transportation network companies.” The new law, codified now in F.S. 627.748, sets forth a number of provisions these rideshare services will have to meet, some of which the companies had been voluntarily following anyway.

Among the provisions of the bill:

  • Insurance for bodily injury and death is $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident and $25,000 per property damage while the driver is logged into the app. This can be paid by the driver’s own plan, through the insurance provided by the rideshare company or some combination of both.
  • Insurance for bodily injury and death of $1 million when the company is engaged in an active ride with a passenger.
  • Rideshare services will be required to conduct background checks on their drivers.
  • Drivers will be required to show their picture and license plate numbers to riders before they are picked up.

Continue reading →

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