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Articles Tagged with car accident lawsuit

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A very common occurrence that we assist people with in our practice is what to do when they are involved in a motor vehicle accident while working. Specifically, situations where the accident didn’t happen while going to and coming from work or at lunchtime, but it actually occurred while on the clock and while performing work duties. In these situations, the injured party has a choice between potential sources of recovery. If their employer has Workers’ Compensation insurance then they will likely be required to at least have an initial consultation with a Workers’ Compensation doctor to assess the extent of the injuries. In addition, most employers in the State of Florida require an initial drug test urine screen in order to establish the claimcar accident attorney

A common misconception that occurs in these situations is that the injured party is under the impression that they are required and only have the option to treat under their Workers’ Compensation insurance. However, this is not the case if the injured party is not at fault in the crash and the at-fault party has Bodily Injury insurance coverage. In these situations, in addition to the potential workers’ compensation benefits available, the injured party can also make a claim against the at-fault party’s Bodily Injury insurance. This would provide the injured party two potential sources of recovery for their damages.

In addition the above sources of recovery, an injured party may have yet another avenue to recover for their losses. If the injured party, or the vehicle that they were in when the crash occurred, had Uninsured or Under-insured motorist coverage in their policy this may provide an additional remedy. This coverage would apply if the at-fault party did not have Bodily coverage on their car insurance or if their coverage was not enough to fully compensate the injured party for the full extent of their damages from the crash.

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I am forced to have uncomfortable conversations regularly with clients and potential clients wherein I inform them that the party that caused their car accident does not have insurance, and that as a result, their chances of making a recovery for their damages is slim to none.  An Insurance Research Council study, Uninsured Motorists, 2017 Edition, examined data collected from 14 insurers representing approximately 60 percent of the private passenger auto insurance market in 2015.  The result was that Florida led the nation in uninsured drivers with 26.7%!how much compensation for car accident

Collision coverage is the type of coverage that you purchase to protect your own car from property damage resulting from an accident, regardless of who is at fault.  When another party is responsible for damaging your vehicle that party is supposed to address your damages.  In fact, Florida requires that every driver on the road carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and at least $10,000 in Property Damage (PD) coverage.  Property Damage coverage protects you in that it covers damage that you cause to the property of another.  Due to Florida’s requirement that everyone carry PD coverage, many people with older vehicles that are owned outright (no financing) choose to remove collision from their policy in an effort to save money.  Many people feel that they are safe drivers and will “self-insure” against damage they cause and hold someone else responsible should that person be at fault.  This sounds like a great way to save money… in theory.  In reality, it is a mistake that costs Florida drivers untold sums of money every year.

If a person hits your vehicle and they do not have any insurance coverage, your only remedy is to sue that person individually and obtain a judgment against them.   A judgment is essentially just a piece of paper that says what you’re entitled to.  Next comes executing that judgment and actually trying to collect money.  This is where it gets ugly.  This process can take many months and you could easily end up spending more than the cost of the repairs to your car in legal fees and costs alone.  You might find yourself in a situation where your car is totaled and you are not in a position to purchase another vehicle.

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medical-check-up_BF9hd70rj-300x200Most Plaintiffs in personal injury cases that are in litigation are required to undergo a Compulsory or Independent medical examination also known as the CME. This is an examination that is requested by the opposing side and is done by a physician that is hired by the opposition.

The CME involves a review of records, a physical examination, face to face interview, review of test results, and conclusions. The goal of this examination is to confirm the initial injury diagnosis and determine whether such injury was due to the accident. The physician is also looking to verify that the current symptoms and findings are consistent with the diagnosis made. Lastly, they are looking to determine whether the individual is exaggerating or making up their complaints. This examining physician is not a treating physician and is also considered a hired expert for the opposition. Due to this, it is understood that there is always an element of bias involved in their conclusions.

It is important to keep in mind that by the time the plaintiff enters the examination room, the physician has already had the chance to review all treatment records and other records that were provided to him prior to the examination. The Plaintiff must be prepared for this examination and understand what could potentially be asked by the physician. Hired CME physicians are trained to look for and document potential indicators of fraud and deception during the interview portion of the examination and the availability of all these records prior to the appointment makes it easier for them to find. The physicians look for things such as verbal behavior indicators, omitting information such as prior injuries, too much information, overly specific answers, aggressive reactions to the questions, invocation of religion not to answer the questions and the use of qualifiers such as “honestly” and “truthfully”.

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Florida Supreme Court justices recently weighed a Florida bad faith auto insurance claim in the case of a deadly crash 12 years ago. In a divided ruling, the court affirmed the jury’s decision, which concluded an auto insurance company acted in “bad faith” the way it handled a wrongful death claim against its insured. In a 4-3 ruling, justices agreed with jurors that the auto insurer improperly exposed the policyholder to an $8.5 million verdict issued reached in a fatal car accident claim. Florida bad faith auto insurance attorney

How Does Florida Define Bad Faith Auto Insurance? 

Florida’s bad faith insurance law is spelled out in F.S. 624.155, which creates a clear, unambiguous means by which any person (including third parties) injured as a result of an insurer’s bad faith dealings has grounds to file a bad faith claim. Third-party bad faith claims are those that can be established by showing violation of the Florida Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Act. Some examples of bad faith insurance as explained in provisions of that law include:

  • Materially misrepresenting to an insured or any interested person the proceeds payable under the contract or policy in order to impact the effecting settlement of such claims.
  • Failing to acknowledge and act promptly to communicate on issues pertaining to claims.
  • Denying claims without conducting a reasonable investigation based on the information available.
  • Failing to affirm or deny full or partial coverage, and if a denial or partial coverage, give a reasonable explanation of why.
  • Failing to promptly notify the insured of any additional information necessary to process the claim.

Florida recognizes claims for third-party common law bad faith (as noted in the 1938 Florida Supreme Court case of Auto Mut. Indem. Co. v. Shaw). Such claims stem directly from the insured’s claim (as an insurer owes no duty of good faith directly to an injured third-party). Continue reading →

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Emergency vehicles are given special privileges and legal protections in Florida, specifically as outlined in F.S. 316.126. However, that does not mean that cities, municipalities or states (which generally own/ operate emergency vehicles as part of public service) are immune from liability when public servants are involved in collisions that result in injury. In fact, part of that statute specifically indicates, “This section does not diminish or enlarge any rules of evidence or liability in any case involving the operation of an emergency vehicle” and further, “does not relieve the driver of an emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.” car accident attorney

Recently in a case out of West Virginia, the state supreme court there affirmed a trial court ruling in favor of a plaintiff, denying defendant a new trial in this personal injury lawsuit.

According to court records, a city police officer was assigned to work at a local high school. Shortly after arriving, he had to return home to attend to a homeowner emergency. After briefly meeting with a plumber, he left to return to work. While en route, he overheard a radio dispatch from another officer, in distress and pursuing a suspect on foot. The officer activated his lights and siren and traveled at a high rate of speed. Meanwhile, plaintiff pulled out from a parking lot into the same travel lane as the officer. The officer, traveling 65 mph, skidded more than 150 feet before rear-ending plaintiff. An investigating deputy sheriff testified that the skid marks and speed of the officer’s vehicle indicated plaintiff could not have seen the patrol car when he entered the roadway.  Continue reading →

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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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We know that 2015 and 2016 were record years for auto recalls, fueled largely by defects in airbags and ignition switches. This rush of recalls began over the last couple of years after it was revealed a number of potential fatal flaws – often ones that could have been fixed for just a few dollars per vehicle – were hidden from the public, in some cases for decades.car accident attorney

Unlike the typical Orlando car accident lawsuit, those that involve defective vehicles name a product manufacturer, as opposed to another driver, as the defendant. In some cases, litigation will name both. Defective vehicles or flawed vehicle parts are always a possibility that our best accident attorneys in Orlando explore following a crash, given the pervasiveness of these problems, which include everything from wiring and fuel problems leading to fire hazards to airbags that fail to deploy – or deploy with explosive force – putting drivers, passengers and other motorists at serious risk of injury or even death.

Just since the beginning of this month, Cars.com has issued nine vehicle recall notices. That doesn’t necessarily encompass the full number, but it gives you a sense of the fact that these problems are near constant and ongoing. A dedicated accident attorney will not overlook this critical fact when reviewing the details of your accident and injury.  Continue reading →

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Although self-driving vehicles aren’t completely autonomous or vastly widespread at this point, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is moving in that direction. The agency not long ago crafted a formal Federal Automated Vehicles Policies that recognizes the way in which this technology could transform transportation, and the many dilemmas it faces. The policy outlines vehicle performance guidance, recommendations for national (rather than state) policies for testing, existing regulatory tools and potentially new regulatory tools.drive in

One of those issues that has been raised – but not resolved – is how automated vehicles would handle a conflict in public safety, and how liability for resulting car accident injuries might be affected by this.

The New York Times recently explored this issue by asking who your car should save if an accident is pending? For example, what if a vehicle is faced with a situation in which it must either run off the road to avoid a head-on collision with another car or careen into a large crowd of people on the sidewalk? Whose risk should be minimized by the autonomous vehicle’s algorithm? Should the vehicle’s first priority be the protection of its own occupants? Or should it be the pedestrians who face a more serious risk of injury if struck?  Continue reading →

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Recently, an appellate court in South Carolina ruled on a criminal appeal brought by a woman who was accused of causing a fatal car accident while intoxicated, based on toxicology reports that showed marijuana in her system, as well as cold and cough medicines. prescriptions

In the case of Kranchick v. State, defendant was challenging the expertise of the state’s primary witness, who asserted that while the marijuana in her system could have been consumed up to 24 hours previously if she was a regular user, the amounts of cold and cough medicines in her blood indicated she was not using them for therapeutic purposes. Initially, the trial court granted her request for post-conviction relief on this point, but the appellate court reversed and reinstated defendant’s original conviction and sentence – which was for 13 years in prison.

But the case raises the larger question of how much cold medicine is too much? Can driving with a cold really be as dangerous as driving drunk? What does that mean in terms of liability?  Continue reading →

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The Utah Supreme Court has affirmed the right of an individual to act as both plaintiff and defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a fatal car accident in which they were both the negligent driver and the person who suffered the loss of a wrongful death. gavel

The unusual case of Bagley v. Bagley has garnered international headlines, and will now proceed to trial after the state supreme court affirmed the decision of the appellate court to reverse the trial court’s dismissal of the claim. The trial court had reasoned a person can’t be both plaintiff and defendant. But the higher courts rule it is possible when we’re talking about a person who, in the plaintiff capacity, is acting as personal representative of the estate of the decedent. So in effect, they are not suing themselves for the personal injury they have personally inflicted, but rather, the wrongful death that their loved one suffered.

We don’t expect to see a glut of these kinds of cases anytime soon, but it could open the doors for some families to recover damages from insurance where they otherwise might not have been able to do so.  Continue reading →

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