Articles Tagged with car accident attorney

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The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that an appellate court’s decision to grant a second trial to a plaintiff in a car accident injury case was the right move, thus securing the $250,000 in damages she won in the second jury verdict after suing her mother for alleged negligence while driving.car accident attorney

It’s important to point out that anyone reluctant to pursue damage claims against loved ones (spouses, children, parents, siblings, cousins, friends, etc.) that naming your loved one as a defendant is really only a technical matter. What you are really after is fair and just compensation from the defendant’s insurance policy. It’s not an indication that you harbor the notion your loved one meant you harm or even that you expect them to pay anything directly from their own coffers. Auto insurance is required for the registration of any motor vehicle in Florida, and therefore if you are a passenger in a vehicle driven by a relative or friend whose negligence caused or contributed to a crash that resulted in your injuries, you may be entitled to pursue damages on that claim just like anyone else. In most cases, plaintiffs cannot name the insurance company as a defendant because courts generally agree that jurors’ knowledge that defendant had insurance can be prejudicial.

Some auto insurance policies have exclusions for “resident relatives,” which are those related by blood or marriage who also reside in the insured’s household. The question of whether benefits are payable to the injured party will depend on the exact language of the policy and the relationship between the insured and claimant. Continue reading →

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Following a car accident in Florida, it is not uncommon for auto insurers to contact either insureds or third parties, seeking to reach a settlement on the claim (sometimes even before it’s been formally filed). Our injury attorneys urge great caution in these interactions. car accident attorney

Insurers essentially have two goals with these contacts:

  • To glean information about the collision;
  • To extend a low-ball settlement offer before you have a chance to fully comprehend the scope of your damages.

This is not to say auto insurers never offer a fair deal on the first go, but it’s best to have your auto accident attorney review the offer to determine if you are entitled to more – and if so, to help you negotiate for it.  Continue reading →

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The best Orlando car accident attorneys know that when it comes to the burden of proof in crash cases, your word alone may not be enough to prove fault or damages. That’s why it’s so critical to involve a lawyer early on in the process, someone who can help you investigate the facts, gather evidence and build a strong case. The sooner we get involved the better, as this gives us time to conduct an independent analysis of the facts, identifying possible witnesses, relevant photos or videos and consulting with expert accident reconstructionists and auto engineers.car accident attorney

Even in cases where liability seems relatively straightforward (for instance, in a rear-end collision where there is a rebuttable presumption the rear driver was responsible), there are still elements of the case that are going to require some independent backing.

This is not to say that conflicting evidence will kill your case, but the more you have to prove the key elements, the stronger your chances of recovering just compensation.

A recent case before the Rhode Island Supreme Court underscores the importance of fathering sufficient evidence at the scene to prove liability.  Continue reading →

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It’s important for “snowbirds” in Florida (those part-time residents who flock to the Sunshine State when the weather cools up north) to understand their obligations when it comes to car insurance. Failure to do so can result in denial of a claim.car accident attorney

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles notes that every vehicle registered in the state must have Florida insurance. Further, any person who has a vehicle in the state of Florida for more than 90 days during a 365-day period must purchase both personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, as well as property damage insurance coverage. Those 90 days do not have to be consecutive for this requirement to apply. Failure to do this can result in denial of a claim.

Recently in New Jersey, one man discovered the consequences of this (though the circumstances were different than a typical Florida snowbird). The New Jersey Law Journal reported the driver lived in New Jersey full-time, but registered his vehicle in Florida because the auto insurance costs were cheaper. When he was involved in a collision in New Jersey, his claim was denied on the grounds he fraudulently maintained the insurance. Continue reading →

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Three people died recently in a wrong-way car accident in Florida, including the wrong-way driver and a newly-engaged couple who had just learned they were expecting a child.

The couple, a 24-year-old man and 21-year-old woman, were traveling on Interstate 75 near Tampa when they encountered a 21-year-old motorist traveling in the wrong directcar accident attorneyion. Authorities with the Florida Highway Patrol are investigating the crash, though it’s likely the wrong-way driver will be deemed at-fault. That will open the door for two wrongful death lawsuits against his estate. Although most people don’t have the personal funds to cover the full amount of damages, but usually there are avenues for compensation, such as personal injury protection (PIP) benefits from the victim’s insurer, bodily injury liability benefits from the at-fault driver’s insurer and uninsured/ underinsured motorist benefits from the victim’s insurer. Florida statute also allows for compensation from the vehicle owner (or the vehicle owner’s insurer), if that individual is someone different from the driver.

Wrong-way crashes are a serious problem in Florida, one that the state highway patrol and other advocates have begun trying to address with a number of countermeasures. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports there are approximately 1,500 wrong-way crashes in Florida annually. Not all of those are fatal, but a larger percentage of them are compared to other types of crashes. That’s because most wrong-way collisions are head-on. This type of violent crash accounts for 81 percent of all wrong-way crash fatalities. In cases where motorists are not killed, they are often seriously injured.

FHSMV reports these incidents most often occur at night and during times of transitional light (dawn/ dusk). During these hours, the agency encourages drivers to stay to the right. This can give other motorists the best chance to avoid a collision. If you see a wrong-way driver approaching, immediately reduce your speed, pull ff the roadway and call 911.  Continue reading →

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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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