Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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Most auto insurance policies impose per-person or per-accident limitations. This is typically a pretty straightforward issue. However, a dispute about how many “accidents” occurred can leave a big question mark as to how much claimants are entitled to receive. bicycle accident

In a recent bicycle accident injury case before the Wyoming Supreme Court, plaintiffs were suing a single driver after an incident wherein they were riding bicycles together and both were struck by defendant driver operating a car. One bicyclist died and another was seriously injured. They had uninsured motorist coverage through their own carrier, which had a policy extending $300,000 in damages per accident. That would mean no matter how many claimants, the insurer would only pay out a maximum $300,000.

Plaintiffs, however, contended they were each entitled to a maximum $300,000 because there had actually been two accidents, not just one. While the trial court granted summary judgment to the insurer, the state supreme court found the record insufficient to conclude there had only been one accident. The case was remanded for further proceedings.  Continue reading →

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Floridians have unfortunately long been notorious for being bad drivers – and that’s with a network of operational traffic lights, upright trees and a system of active police patrols. car accident lawyer

But after the extremely powerful Hurricane Irma walloped the state earlier this month, there were downed traffic lights, trees, power lines and damaged homes and buildings. This created a significant hazard in and of itself – and this was after some 7 million people were ordered evacuated from their homes, sparking massive traffic jams and other highway headaches.

Once the winds and flooding subsided and motorists began to venture out – and some back to their homes from emergency shelters – intersections became a virtual game of chicken. Intersections without power are supposed to be treated as a four-way stop. While there is no doubt people were tired, stressed and perhaps even traumatized, we also know that many of these crashes may have been avoided had motorists used a bit of common sense and patience. In other words, these drivers needed to use reasonable care. Continue reading →

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As historic Hurricane Irma came barreling toward Southwest Florida, many residents hurried to leave the state. Some were under mandatory evacuation by local and state officials fearing unprecedented and dangerous storm surge. Others were afraid to live for days or weeks without water or power. car accident attorney

All of this led to a massive evacuation of some 6 million people out of Southern Florida. This kind of congestion inevitably lead to car accidents across I-75, I-95 and I-4, the main routes out of the state.

We now know of a local man whose car accident death can be indirectly tied to Irma, after he reportedly was killed in a hit-and-run car accident in Georgia. The 91-year-old from Naples was injured in a hit-and-run collision at a rest stop on I-75 in Georgia.

The Naples Daily News reports the elderly man had stopped at the rest stop, walked across the parking lot to the restroom and was struck by a vehicle. The driver took off and has not yet been identified.  Continue reading →

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If you are involved in an auto accident in Florida, it’s important to contact an attorney before you give any more than basic information to your auto insurer. Your attorney can negotiate the claim on your behalf. A lawyer can also advise you of your obligations as an insured – and this is extremely important when it comes to ensuring your claim will be covered. car accident

Your coverage is contingent upon meeting the contractual obligations in your policy. If you fail to hold up your end of the bargain, your claim could be denied.

Several insureds learned this the hard way in a recent case out of Kentucky.  Continue reading →

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All drivers are required to use reasonable care in protecting passengers as well as other motorists from foreseeable harm. That means operating the vehicle in a reasonably safe manner.car accident

Some drivers may have a heightened duty of care. Primarily, these include common carriers, such as bus drivers. It does not, according to a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, include designated drivers. Such drivers are members of the group who agree to abstain from drinking alcohol or taking drugs in order to be able safely to drive others in the group, thus avoiding a potentially tragic drunk driving accident.

In the case recently before the Eighth Circuit, the trial court in North Dakota applied a higher standard of care to the sober designated driver – something statutory and case law did not support. This fact was especially important here because of the way that state approaches comparative fault. Here in Florida, we follow a pure comparative fault model, per F.S. 768.81. This means even if a plaintiff is deemed 99 percent at-fault for an accident, he or she can still collect on the other 1 percent (though an attorney would have to weigh carefully the wisdom of pursuing a case with such long odds). However, many other jurisdictions do not allow plaintiffs to recover if they bear 50 percent or more of the fault burden. Continue reading →

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We trust the vehicles in which we rely on daily to be properly tested for safety. Unfortunately, too many auto manufacturers and makers of auto parts fail to adequately test these machines. When they fail or there is a vehicle defect, the consequences can be catastrophic personal injuries. car accident lawyer

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit reinstated a $1 million jury verdict in favor of a car accident victim rendered quadriplegic after his seat belt failed to prevent his head from striking the roof of the vehicle in a rollover crash. These types of product liability cases should be explored anytime someone is in

According to court records, the crash occurred five years ago when plaintiff driving a van collided with a boat that was being towed by another vehicle. At the time, plaintiff was driving his two sons and eight other people on a return trip to St. Louis following a Boy Scout camping trip in Minnesota. The initial impact of the crash didn’t cause significant damage. However, the van plaintiff was driving swerved and rolled at a relatively low-speed. Plaintiff was wearing his seat belt, but still slid far enough out of the seat for his head to connect with the roof of his van, dislocating his neck and severing his spinal cord. Nobody else in the vehicle was seriously hurt.  Continue reading →

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A recent decision by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals upholds the liability of auto insurance company GEICO in covering damages awarded to plaintiffs who won a $15 million verdict against GEICO’s insured. car accident lawyer

The case is a tragic and complicated one, and despite the commonality of Florida auto accident claims, how complex they can sometimes be when it comes to disputes with insurers. That’s why it’s so critical that claimants seek top quality legal counsel to represent them in such cases.

The case began with events that occurred in March 2011 in Miami. Court documents revealed defendant driver was operating his mother’s vehicle when he slammed into a cluster of other vehicles on the shoulder of I-95. The other motorists had just been involved in a minor chain-reaction crash set off when one vehicle clipped a stalled vehicle that was parked in an emergency lane. A total of seven cars were involved in the initial crash. People had exited their vehicles and were waiting on police to arrive when defendant swerved from the express lane, slammed into a concrete barrier and then crashed into the crowd. He instantly killed four people and a fifth died several days later of severe personal injuries.  Continue reading →

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Florida law establishes strict requirements for auto insurance, including requiring all drivers to carry a type of coverage called personal injury protection, or PIP. Per F.S. 627.736, this PIP coverage provides up to $10,000 in medical and disability benefits and $5,000 in death benefits resulting from bodily injury, sickness disease or death arising from the ownership, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle. This applies to crashes, regardless of who is at-fault.car accident

When lawmakers established Florida as a “no-fault” state, the goal was to make it easier to obtain fast coverage for injuries suffered in a crash – even if the other driver didn’t have insurance – and to reduce the burden on the court system.

However, our accident lawyers know that while there are some benefits to this PIP system, the problem is far too many victims who have suffered serious injuries are denied benefits, or else they are offered settlement “deals” that are far less than the actual losses they suffered. Plus, there are a number of exclusions. Still, the only way a person can step outside the boundaries of PIP is to meet the threshold of injury as outlined in F.S. 627.737. Continue reading →

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Initial investigation of a fatal South Florida car accident involving tennis star Venus Williams resulted in law enforcement’s conclusion that Williams was at-fault. However, new video evidence – specifically, surveillance footage obtained form a nearby community just south of the Palm Beach Gardens intersection where the crash occurred – led police to walk back their original findings. car accident

Although Williams is listed in a defendant by decedent’s widow, who was also in the vehicle at the time of the crash, police now say it was Williams who was cut off by another vehicle upon entering the intersection. This in turn set off a chain event crash that within seconds resulted in a fatal collision with a third vehicle that critically injured a 78-year-old man who died two weeks later.

His estate, represented by his bride of 33 years, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams, alleging Williams was negligent and seeking damages for medical and funeral expenses, pain and suffering, lost earnings, loss of companionship/ consortium and funeral expenses. Although Williams has expressed her “devastation” over the incident, her attorney insisted from the beginning that she was innocent, traveling only 5 mph when she entered the intersection with a green light.

The case underscores how determinations of “fault” in Florida car accidents may not always be a simple, straightforward matter. Eyewitnesses to the very same events can emerge with a different accounting of what happened. Experts must work to piece together what they can with accident reconstruction methodology and technology, but even that sometimes is subjective. Absent clear video footage of the crash – and even that sometimes doesn’t tell the whole story – the truth of what happened may be obscured.  Continue reading →

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An $11 million verdict stemming from a claim of a defective vehicle resulting in a fatal crash was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Among the plaintiffs were family members of decedents, as well as one of the drivers, who was originally convicted of vehicular homicide. That conviction was later vacated after the vehicle manufacturer began recalling vehicles for the same defect involved in this case – unintended acceleration. car accident

The three-judge panel ruled unanimously in favor of plaintiffs, who alleged the vehicle malfunctioned, leading to three deaths and the driver’s imprisonment.

At trial two years ago, driver was found 40 percent at-fault and vehicle manufacturer deemed 60 percent at-fault. Total damages were set at $14 million, but that was reduced to $11 million based on damages obtained in previous settlements with other defendants. That $11 million will be divided among plaintiffs. Continue reading →