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Articles Tagged with car accident lawyer

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The majority of Florida car accident claims are settled prior to a trial, and one form of settlement is called a “high-low agreement.” This is when the parties in the case agree that no matter what the outcome of a case, defendant will pay a minimum amount – but no more than an agreed-upon maximum amount. This takes some of the “all-or-nothing” guesswork out of the trial process, and ensures a plaintiff will receive some amount of compensation no matter what. car accident attorney Orlando

However, injury lawyers can explain it might still be risky, and it must be done with all parties – including insurers – being appropriately informed.

Although certain procedures and timelines can vary from state-to-state, the same basic principles of high-low agreements typically apply across the board. In a recent case out of New Jersey, a plaintiff who agreed to a high-low agreement ran into trouble by failing to inform his uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage carrier of the arbitration, high-low agreement, completed jury trial or verdict. When it came time to collect, the UM/UIM insurer refused.  Continue reading →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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Vicarious liability is the legal means by which we can pursue action against a vehicle owner or an employer for the negligent and injurious actions of those driving their vehicle or employees acting on behalf of the company. It’s not just long-haul truckers who fall into this category. car accident

Recently, DNCE singer Joe Jonas was named a defendant in a car accident lawsuit that occurred when his assistant was driving his vehicle in Hollywood, CA. According to TMZ, plaintiff alleges the assistant made a left turn into an intersection, t-boning plaintiff, who had the right-of-way. There was no police report filed and there were reportedly no witnesses, but the plaintiff did take down the license plate number, which her injury attorney later traced back to Jonas. The assistant gave her name as the driver, though it’s unclear if Jonas was in the car at the time.

But even if Jonas wasn’t there, he could still be liable because not only was the vehicle his, but the person driving it was reportedly acting in the course and scope of employment. Both situations would fall under the umbrella of vicarious liability. She is seeking damages for physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses and lost wages.  Continue reading →

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Investigators examining the evidence in a fatal wrong-way car accident that killed two teenagers – best friends – have concluded the recreational vehicle that struck them head-on had no working headlights. Local media reports are the RV driver, 98, and his 75-year-old companion, were likely not seen by the two teens, 17 and 18, until it was too late. The RV was reportedly traveling west in an eastbound highway lane in St. Lucie County. The girls were transported to a hospital in Fort Pierce, where they were pronounced dead.car accident attorney

Authorities have said the stretch of road where the crash occurred was rural and poorly-lit, so without operational headlights, the RV would have been virtually impossible to see. The girls had almost no opportunity to take evasive action to protect themselves.

Negligent maintenance of a vehicle is a claim that is an extension of one’s duty to use reasonable and prudent care in operating a vehicle. The person who owns or is responsible for managing the vehicle have a responsibility to do their best to ensure it is properly maintained because it’s understood that certain parts of a vehicle are vital to safe driving. If the driver or vehicle owner knew or should have known certain components of the vehicle were in failure or even just untrustworthy and the failure of that component leads to a crash or an exacerbation of injuries, they may be legally liable for the resulting damages.  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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Any person or business owning a vehicle is responsible to use reasonable care in ensuring the vehicle is properly maintained. An owner may be liable particularly if they had notice or were aware the vehicle had a malfunction that could affect the vehicle’s safety. An example might be failure to respond to a factory recall of the vehicle/ part, allowing tires to become “bald” and worn to an unsafe tread depth or ignoring dashboard service or warning lights for an unreasonable length of timetruck accident lawyer

Section 396.3 of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations requires commercial trucks to undergo systemic inspection, repair and maintenance, which is generally understood to mean a regular or scheduled program to keep vehicles in safe operating condition. The statute doesn’t specify the exact intervals, as the question of how often maintenance is needed may be fleet specific, but the carrier has to keep proper records of those inspections and repairs. Failure to do this can result in the malfunction of a part or system that could have devastating consequences on the road.

Our auto accident attorneys are committed to carefully combing through these records to determine whether vehicles were adequately maintain and, if not, whether this was a causal factor in the crash. This should be done for collisions involving any vehicle, but especially commercial trucks. Continue reading →

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