Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Published on:

A life insurance company has been ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to pay a $200,000 medical bill for an insured who reportedly crashed his dirt bike while under the influence of alcohol.

The life insurance carrier outright denied claimant’s bid for benefits, citing policy exclusion for injuries that arise from the “illegal use of alcohol.” However, the district court ruled – and the appellate court affirmed – this provision, when read and interpreted according to its ordinary meaning, refers to things like drinking alcohol while under the age of 21 or imbibing against a court order. It is inherently different, the court ruled, than engaging in illegal conduct after one has legally consumed the alcohol. That would mean actions like drunk driving would still be covered; it’s not the drinking that was against the law, it was the actions one took after drinking – something not specifically excluded in the policy language. drunk driving accident lawyer

This case is interesting for a few reasons. The first is that it is not your typical car accident lawsuit in that it involves dirt bikes and it happened off-road. Secondly, this was not a plaintiff claiming injury as a result of someone else’s negligence. He conceded his own misconduct caused his injuries. Nonetheless, he argued his life insurance company should be responsible to cover his damages.

According to court records, plaintiff was 22-years-old – of the legal drinking age – five years ago when he and his friend drank alcohol and then proceeded to ride their dirt bikes in a field near their home. While engaging in this, the two crashed. Plaintiff suffered serious injuries. It was ascertained that his blood-alcohol level shortly after the crash was almost nearly twice the legal limit for use of an off-road vehicle in that state. Continue reading →

Published on:

Part of securing damages for your car accident injuries means not only proving the defendant motorist was at-fault in the crash, but also showing that the causal nature and extent of your injuries. Some Florida car accident trials center solely around these facts, with defendants arguing you weren’t as seriously injured as you allege or that the injuries you attribute to the crash were caused by something else. car accident lawyer

Proving negligence means showing:

  • Defendant owed plaintiff a duty of care (in these cases, that driver had a responsibility to drive with reasonable care);
  • Defendant breached that duty;
  • Breach caused plaintiff’s injuries.

A recent case out of Nebraska shows how critical that causal element is in securing financial compensation.  Continue reading →

Published on:

Self-driving cars, while not yet fully autonomous, provide motorists with the opportunity to cede some of the control behind the wheel. There is much evidence that this is a whole lot safer, as driver error is the primary cause of auto accidents in Florida. However, it has also meant the question of liability has become a vexing one. If a crash happens, who was in control – the driver or the auto manufacturer? car accident lawyer

Recently in California, the state Department of Motor Vehicles announced it would not adopt a rule (recommended by General Motors) that would allow manufacturers of automobiles to evade liability for car accidents wherein the self-driving vehicle hasn’t been maintained to the letter of the manufacturer’s specifications. Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog calls the decision a “major victory for consumers,” according to the Associated Press. The rules, as proposed by the automaking industry, would have effectively absolved producers of these vehicles of product liability for things like the owner’s failure to properly clean the vehicle sensors or having a tire that was slightly under-inflated or not precisely meeting oil change recommendations.

Although it is true that vehicle owners have a responsibility to adequately maintain their vehicles (or face potential liability when failure to do so results in an injurious crash), these kinds of stringent maintenance requirements don’t exist for the standard human-driven vehicle.  Continue reading →

Published on:

An Illinois city recently agreed to a $4.75 million settlement to a woman in a sport utility vehicle who was struck by an on-duty city worker driving a garbage truck. It was reported the garbage truck driver was traveling eastbound, crossed over the double yellow lines on the road and side-swiped victim’s vehicle, which was traveling westbound. She spun and was struck by another vehicle.garbagetruck

The 33-year-old victim explained to The Chicago Tribune that her left leg was broken and she remains unable to move her left hand. Her attorneys explained in her personal injury lawsuit that she had suffered serious and permanent injuries that will not only cost her dearly for medical expenses, but also have rendered her unable to carry out certain functions of daily living, such as returning to her job as a home care worker and cashier.

Accidents involving garbage trucks are sometimes described in media reports as being “freak” occurrences. The reality is, they are more common than one might think. One study reported by the New York Daily News revealed that over a three-year stretch, garbage trucks killed an average of 24 pedestrians per 100 million miles driven. Compare that to taxis, which were involved in 6 fatal accidents per 100 million miles driven. Researchers cited potential design flaws in trucks that may make it difficult for garbage truck drivers to see.  Continue reading →

Published on:

Although the majority of car accident lawsuits in Florida are either settled or dismissed prior to trial, it’s important to work with an attorney you know will be prepared for the possibility of a trial. In the event that settlement negotiations break down and defendants are unwilling to extend a fair agreement to our clients, our Fort Myers trial lawyers are willing to do exactly that, and have a long history of success in such matters. It’s important that when you’re looking for a car accident attorney in Lee County that you ask about their trial experience, even if it seems unlikely the case will proceed to that point. This is especially important in cases involving serious injury or death. car accident attorney

Recently in Miami, a wrong-way crash victim was awarded $4.7 million by jurors in a car accident lawsuit that advanced to trial.

The Daily Business Review reports the head-on collision occurred in 2012 on Interstate 95. Although fault in a case like this may seem relatively easy to prove, this case was made even more challenging by the fact plaintiff was adamant about not testifying in front of the jury. In fact, she didn’t even want to enter the courtroom during the proceedings, citing the immense trauma she suffered after the crash. Just 20-years-old at the time of the crash, plaintiff had been a passenger in her friend’s vehicle when they were struck in Broward County around 3 a.m. by the wrong-way car. Continue reading →

Published on:

A Florida woman was seriously injured when a car came crashing into her Orange County home one recent Tuesday morning as she sat at her kitchen table. The 61-year-old driver reportedly failed to negotiate a curve as she approached the house. The homeowner was pinned until first responders arrived. She was transported to a hospital for treatment, and is expected to survive, The Orlando Sentinel reported. car in building

The driver, who suffered minor injuries, was ticketed for careless driving and told authorities she has no memory of what happened.

Although it can be tempting to write off such an incident as bizarre and isolated, the reality is many homes, business and even government buildings are vulnerable to this kind of assault. Continue reading →

Published on:

Employers who encourage their workers to stay connected at all times should be mindful that if those times include while the employee is operating a vehicle, the employer could be deemed liable for the resulting injuries. This could come about in one of two ways:

  • Vicarious liability. Plaintiffs need not show the company was negligent, only that the driver who was negligent was acting in the course and scope of an employment at the time of the crash. An employee who is distracted by a work-related call could be found to have been acting in the course and scope of employment, even if he or she wasn’t technically on-the-clock.
  • Direct negligence. Companies that compel or expect workers to be available at all times – even knowing some of those times will be while the worker is driving – could be found directly negligent for a distracted-driving crash involving a worker. This is why an increasing number of companies are attempting to shield themselves from liability with anti- distracted driving policies.distracted driving

Despite knowing that distraction is one of the top causes of roadway accidents, many employers still fail to take this important initiative.

A recent poll conducted on behalf of Travelers insurance revealed that work-related pressures play a significant role in distracted driving. Continue reading →

Published on:

When examining liability for a South Florida car accident, our injury lawyers in Cape Coral will of course first examine the negligence of the other. We’ll examine the potential vicarious liability claims of the vehicle owner, the driver’s employer and the motor carrier (if applicable). We may even look closely at whether there was a vehicle defect that would render the auto manufacturer or repair shop responsible to cover damages. In some cases, the local county or municipality could be liable too if there is evidence the entity failed in its duty to maintain public roads.car accident

It’s not often in these cases that we will lodge a premises liability claim – but it’s not something that should be discounted. Premises liability involves the responsibility of property owners to maintain their site in a reasonably safe condition. Usually, these types of claims would include things like slip-and-fall accidents or trip-and-falls or drownings. However, it may arise in a car accident claim if there is evidence some condition on the property that posed a danger to drivers, bicyclists or pedestrians. There are a number of successful Florida premises liability claims that have stemmed from car accident injuries.

The California Supreme Court recently considered one such case involving a pedestrian accident that resulted in the injury of a church member who was struck crossing the street from the church overflow parking lot to the main parking lot on his way to attend services. The court ruled that a landowner does not owe a duty of care to assist invitees to cross a public street when the landowner maintain a parking lot requiring invitees to cross the street to access the landowner’s main site – as long as the typical dangers of a public street aren’t in some way magnified or hidden by some condition of the landowner’s property or by some action taken by the landowner.  Continue reading →

Published on:

While the majority of auto accident injuries are the result of negligence by one or more motorist involved, crash victims shouldn’t overlook the possibility that a vehicle defect may have been a contributing factor, if not the sole cause.car accident attorney

The auto industry hasn’t garnered a great deal of public trust in recent years, as numerous class action lawsuits have revealed a long-standing pattern within the industry to conceal vehicle defects from unsuspecting members of the public. Last year, as noted by Automotive News, auto makers recalled a record 53.2 million vehicles for defects ranging from seat belt failures to malfunctioning airbags to non-working breaks. These are serious deficits that, even if they don’t cause a crash, may result in one suffering injuries that far worse than they otherwise would have been.

Now, we receive news of the latest reported problem, which involves an alleged defect wherein Chrysler Pacifica vans are shutting off suddenly in mid-travel. The New York Times reports one man in San Francisco was driving at 70 mph down the highway in his brand new van when the vehicle shut off without warning. As she explained, “It just died.” In the middle of a congested highway, the van slowed to a crawl with no power steering or electrical power. The driver edged his way over as far to the right as he could, trying desperately to get to the shoulder with what little juice was left as vehicles whizzed by. He was barely missed by a semi-truck that laid on the horn and was forced to swerve.  Continue reading →

Published on:

When someone’s negligence causes injury to another, victims can pursue compensation. Negligence is generally understood as the failure to use reasonable care when one was required to do so. In some cases, injury to another is the result of a criminal act. On the road, some criminal acts also amount to negligence, though the criminal and civil cases will be handled by the separate courts, respectively. car accident

The primary purpose of a criminal court is to attain justice for the state (on behalf of the victim). The purpose of civil court is to ascertain whether one is owed compensation, and if so, determine how much is necessary to make the victim “whole.” Restitution to the victim is not the primary purpose of the criminal justice system – but it can be a consideration for certain crimes. The impact this will have on a pending civil case should be discussed with an experienced injury attorney in Cape Coral.

F.S. 775.089 holds that restitution can be ordered by the court (in addition to any punishment) for:

  • Damages or losses caused directly or indirectly by defendant’s offense;
  • Damages or losses related to the defendant’s criminal episode.

Continue reading →