Articles Tagged with Orlando car accident

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Back in the 1970s, lawmakers in Florida sought to reduce the burden that constant car accident lawsuits imposed on the courts. That’s when they devised a system of no-fault benefits that every driver was required to purchase, called personal injury protection benefits, or PIP insurance. It’s intended to serve as a basic level of medical coverage for individuals who are injured in car crashes – no matter who is at-fault. 

The law requires drivers to buy a minimum of $10,000 in PIP protection, and only if their damages exceed that amount or if the injuries are debilitating, permanent or scarring can those injured seek compensation outside of that system, per F.S. 627.736. Drivers here also aren’t required to buy bodily injury liability insurance (though it’s usually a good idea).

But now, legislators say they are going to be rethinking Florida’s PIP no-fault auto insurance this spring. A study commissioned by state leaders shows that if the PIP system were tossed, drivers would save an average of $80 on their policies. That doesn’t sound like a ton, but of course Florida has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country and we’ve also got one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers – 1 in 4. Meanwhile, the cost of PIP benefits has soared in recent years, climbing 14.4 percent between 2013 and 2014 and then again by 25.7 percent between 2015 and 2016.  Continue reading →

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A Texas woman sped down a Texas highway in her pickup truck, scrolling through her iPhone for messages. She was so distracted, court records would later show, that she slammed her truck into a sport utility vehicle. The driver and front seat passenger died instantly. A child passenger in the back seat was left permanently paralyzed. That was in 2013.

These kinds of distracted driving accidents are sadly not all that unusual. However, they are preventable – and not just by the person behind the wheel. A lawsuit filed against Apple in this case alleges the cell phone company had the technology prior to this accident to stop drivers from accessing their phones while the car is in motion. What’s more, the product liability lawsuit alleges, the company, in its application for a patent on that technology, cited the fact that phones are used for texting and texting and driving is a major public health issue and state legislators and local law enforcement officials had not been able to get a handle on the matter.

The driver in this case was later convicted of negligent homicide. She is serving five years on probation. Meanwhile, the families of her victims want accountability. They want to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening to another family. But what are the chances they might actually succeed? What responsibility do cell phone companies have for the actions of their driving customers?  Continue reading →

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In many Orlando car accidents, the amount of insurance money available is contingent upon the language of the policy. The language must always be clear, as any ambiguity will be interpreted in favor of the insured.

That said, insurers do have the right to limit their payouts in the event of a crash, so long as they do so clearly and upfront.

In the recent case of ACE Fire Underwriters v. Romero, a dispute over the language of the policy would mean the difference between a $1 million wrongful death payout and one that could be as much as $2 million (or at least $1.55 million under the terms of a partial pre-trial settlement).  Continue reading →

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Drivers who text, snap photos or email while they are driving could find themselves liable – and possibly charged criminally – if their distraction results in a car accident. 

But what about the people with whom they are communicating?

A recent report by Vocativ reveals the legal landscape is shifting, and there are a number of cases that may lay the foundation for liability against those who text with persons they know or had reason to believe were driving.

It’s estimated that approximately 431,000 injuries and more than 3,200 deaths every year in the U.S. are attributable to driver distraction. Although the number of drunk driving injuries and fatalities is pegged at triple that, the reality is distracted driving is a lot tougher to determine after the fact. Continue reading →

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When two vehicles collide at relatively low speeds, it can result in substantial injury.

Consider that the average vehicle weighs about 2,000 pounds. If it hits a stationary object at just 10 miles-per-hour, the impact force is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.7 tons.  And obviously, if we’re talking about a larger vehicles, such as a sport utility vehicles, it’s going to hit with even more force. Additionally, physics dictates that a person inside a vehicle travels faster than the vehicle itself when it is struck, so the occupants end up absorbing a disproportionate amount of force.

But none of this is going to stop a defendant from arguing that because the crash was low-impact, the plaintiff couldn’t possibly have suffered the injuries he or she is alleging.  Continue reading →

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A new report released by the Governors’ Highway Safety Association reveals that drug use by drivers is a significant and growing concern among traffic safety advocates.

This is particularly true as a growing number of states (23) have approved marijuana for medicinal use and four for recreational use, while others have significantly relaxed criminal sanctions against possession. Plus, the rates of prescription drug abuse has increased substantially, considering the number of painkillers dispensed nationally has quadrupled in just the last 16 years. Just from 2007 to 2014, the number of drivers who tested positive for marijuana or illegal drugs rose from 12.4 percent to 15.1 percent.

So while the incidence rate of drunk driving has declined significantly, the rate of drugged driving is climbing. In fact, the percentage of drivers killed in car accidents who tested positive for drugs is 40 percent. That’s about as many as tested positive for alcohol. And a recent annual roadside survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found 22 percent of drivers tested positive for at least one medication or drug. Continue reading →

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In Florida, it is possible to collect for negligent infliction of emotional distress following a car accident, but it is not as simple as suffering emotional harm. In order to collect compensation for such damages, plaintiff must suffer a discernible physical injury.

One of the exceptions noted is what other jurisdictions refer to as the “relative bystander test.” This requires the plaintiff to suffer a physical injury caused by the psychological trauma of witnessing, seeing or otherwise being involved in some way to the event causing negligent injury to another to whom plaintiff has a close personal relationship.

The case of Clifton v. McCammack recently dealt with the issue of negligent infliction of emotional distress under Indiana law. That state is one of those that refers to the exception as the “bystander rule.” There are three circumstantial factors that must be met in order for plaintiff to succeed in a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. One of those three factors is “direct involvement” in the incident. Continue reading →

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